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What are the early signs of multiple sclerosis?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on Nov 18, 2021.

Official answer


Some of the early signs of multiple sclerosis (MS) include weakness or numbness in one or more limbs; tremor or abnormal, uncoordinated movements while walking; slurred speech, or dizziness; double vision or the painful loss of vision in one eye; or long-lasting fatigue.

Most symptoms develop abruptly, within hours or days, reach their peak within a few days, and resolve slowly lasting for about 8 weeks from onset to recovery.

But just because you have some of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have MS. Other conditions that can resemble MS symptoms or affect myelin include:

  • Viral infections
  • Collagen vascular disease
  • Exposure to toxic materials
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • Severe vitamin B-12 deficiency
  • Rare heredity disorders
  • Other autoimmune disorders.
  • Rolak LA. Multiple sclerosis: it's not the disease you thought it was. Clin Med Res. 2003;1(1):57-60. doi:10.3121/cmr.1.1.57
  • Multiple sclerosis Mayo Clinic.

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