While it is possible to speak of MS stages, one cannot say that the stages of multiple sclerosis are set in stone. First of all, MS presents differently in different individuals. The symptoms that one develops over the course of the disease depend on the locations of the lesions in the nervous tissue. It goes without saying that there is no standard pattern for MS lesion location. Nor do all patients develop the same number and size of MS lesions.

Thus, the very first symptoms that an MS patient exhibits could be any of a variety of symptoms. The same is true for the subsequent symptoms. It is also true that the course of the disease, that is, whether it involves relapses and remissions, or becomes progressively worse, is not the same in all patients. Furthermore, some people’s MS can progress quickly, leaving them disabled within a short period of time. Other people have few, mild symptoms, and on the right medication and diet, show no apparent progression in the disease. They can go on to live full, functional, inconvenience-free lives, and ultimately die in old age of something unrelated to their MS.


The Early Stages of Multiple Sclerosis


The early multiple sclerosis stages tend to be easiest to delineate in hindsight. It is typically after having been diagnosed that patients can look back and say that they must have first started exhibiting MS symptoms when they had a certain medical problem. When one first develops them, the earliest MS symptoms can sometimes be so commonplace as to be easily confused with some other illness or condition, for instance, a flu or simple exhaustion. Other times, they are distinct enough to be recognized as neurological symptoms, but there is no way of telling whether they are symptoms of something like Lyme disease or vitamin B12 deficiency or, ultimately of multiple sclerosis.

The most common symptoms experienced in the early MS stages include tingling and numbness in the extremities, unsteadiness when walking, dizziness, and a sense of fatigue. Some patients may experience a fever and other apparent symptoms of a viral infection. They may very well be under the throes of a viral infection, and it is possible that the viral infection is implicated in the onset of their multiple sclerosis.

The subsequent stages of multiple sclerosis vary. They can include optic neuritis, depression, migraines and other types of headaches, incontinence, diarrhea or constipation, palpitations and other symptoms. It can be deceptive to speak of multiple sclerosis’ final stages because this term could be taken to imply that the disease ordinarily progresses until it takes patients’ lives. The truth is that multiple sclerosis only directly causes loss of life in a minority of cases. It is more typical for a patient to die of another condition indirectly related to the MS or completely unrelated to it after decades of living with MS.