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Common MS symptoms
Everybody’s MS is different

One thing people with multiple sclerosis (MS) have in common is that they experience the disease differently. The symptoms that appear, and how long those symptoms last, vary from person to person.

In MS, disease activity results in lesions that lead to a breakdown in signal transmission. The MS symptoms you experience may depend on where lesions form. For example, lesions in one part of the brain may cause dizziness, whereas lesions in the spinal cord may cause weakness. When lesions form in the optic nerve, they may cause blurred vision.

Although there is no way to know how long a symptom may last, or whether it will go away or persist, don't be discouraged. You and your doctor can work together to develop a symptom management strategy that may help. Tracking how long your symptoms last and other details will help you create your plan.

Relapse and remission

A relapse is an event that lasts more than 24 hours. Existing symptoms worsen, or new ones appear, and there’s an observable change in your MRI.* MS relapses may occur at any time, usually without warning. They may be mild or severe. In MS, relapses are followed by a long or short period of time when symptoms completely or partially go away.

Learn about the difference between relapses and pseudo relapses

The intensity and impact of relapses can range from mild to severe. They may even be hard to identify at times.

If you have any questions or concerns, please talk with your healthcare provider.

In MS, remission is a period of time in which your symptoms may partially or completely subside. Remissions can be either short or long and may be characterized by a return to a level of health similar or equal to what you were experiencing prior to your last relapse.

*The exact correlation between MRI findings and the current or future clinical status of patients, including disability progression, is unknown.

MS LifeLines is sponsored by EMD Serono, Inc.

Learn more about EMD Serono treatment options for relapsing MS

Six tips to help deal with MS symptoms:
  1. Keep a detailed record of your MS symptoms and duration
  2. Go to all scheduled doctor appointments
  3. Keep physically active when able (speak with your doctor about how)
  4. Eat a well-balanced diet
  5. Stay cool (symptoms can worsen in the heat)
  6. Seek out support
Learn how to explain MS symptoms to people who don’t get it
Five reasons you may want to call your healthcare provider about your MS symptoms:
  1. If you experience loss of vision or blurry vision
  2. If you have an abrupt change in bowel or bladder function
  3. If you think you have a urinary tract infection
  4. If you have feelings of depression or thoughts of hurting yourself
  5. Anytime you are concerned about a symptom or feeling

This is a partial list. Make sure to ask your healthcare provider about other reasons you should call.


MS LifeLines and the MS LifeLines logo are registered trademarks of EMD Serono, Inc. or its affiliates.

This information is intended only for residents of the United States.

Copyright ©2019 EMD Serono, Inc. All rights reserved.
EMD Serono, Inc., One Technology Place, Rockland, MA 02370

US/NPR/1118/0469

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