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Why Catching Multiple Sclerosis Early Is So Important

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Multiple sclerosis is an illness that has recently become more well-known and understood. When my mother was first diagnosed in the early 2000s, we didn’t know very much about MS at all and had to attend numerous educational conferences to learn more about how to support her. Luckily, my mom’s multiple sclerosis was caught early and she has been able to try out different treatments to find the one that is right for her. Over the years, we have learned more about her illness and how we can better support her through her battle, and we have found that early detection was incredibly important in managing her multiple sclerosis.

Multiple sclerosis is an illness that must be monitored to keep track of its progression, as it can become debilitating. When the illness is caught early, individuals have the opportunity to learn more about treatments and try various methods until they find one that is appropriate for their individual illness. Without early detection, it is possible that multiple sclerosis will continue to progress and as this occurs, certain treatments may no longer be available or effective. Early detection is vital to increase the number of possible treatment options available.

Without early detection, multiple sclerosis can progress on its own without the knowledge of the person affected, and its symptoms can become disabling. Luckily, early symptoms of MS are more well-known and can add to the increased possibility of early detection. This can lead to a better chance to learn how to manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Management of symptoms and trials of treatments are two of the most important aspects of catching multiple sclerosis early. With more knowledge and education, we can all ensure that we are educated on MS, its symptoms, and improve the quality of life of those affected.

One of the main things to understand about multiple sclerosis, however, is that it is not necessarily genetic. Those who are related to someone with MS have a higher chance of developing the illness, but this is not always the case. Nevertheless, we can improve the possibility of early detection if those of us who have a family member with MS are on the lookout for early symptoms in ourselves. The best way to increase early detection is for family members to be aware of the early warning signs of multiple sclerosis, such as dizziness, balance issues, loss of bladder control, pain and tingling in arms and legs, as well as pressure felt throughout the body. Understanding these early symptoms of MS can help individuals seek care as soon as they suspect the possibility of the illness to stay on top of their health.

Multiple sclerosis is a serious illness that can affect all aspects of a person’s life. Treatment and tracking of disease progression are the cornerstones of MS, and they can determine a person’s quality of life whilst living with this illness. If you are blood-related to a loved one with multiple sclerosis, I would advise you to discuss with them the early symptoms they experienced so you can be on the lookout for those symptoms in yourself. While multiple sclerosis isn’t always genetic, there is still a chance of developing the disorder if you are related to an individual with MS. Understanding this can help you to stay on top of any development of symptoms and seek help as soon as they appear. Treatment to slow the progression of the disease is vital when first being diagnosed with MS, and early detection can ensure that an individual has the most treatment options available. Together we can increase awareness of multiple sclerosis and its symptoms to ensure that everyone affected has the best chance of fighting this debilitating disease.

Getty image by Drazen Zigic.

Originally published: November 1, 2021
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