If You Notice This With Your Hands, It Could Be an Early Sign of MS
This often innocuous symptom could actually be a sign of something serious.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that affects both the immune and nervous systems, often in unpredictable ways. Because the course of the illness is so variable, many people experience different early signs, but it's important to be aware of all of them. Detecting symptoms of MS early can help you get specialized care sooner, which can delay the progression of the disease. With that in mind, experts say there's one thing that can happen to your hands that might be a sign of MS. Read on to find out what you should be on the lookout for.
Numbness or tingling in your hands could be early signs of MS.
Amber O'Brien, MD, a doctor at Mango Clinic, says numbness and tingling in your hands are some "of the earliest signs that appear in MS." The severity of the numbness and tingling can vary greatly. "A tingling in the hand may sometimes be a niggling inconvenience, or it might make holding things difficult or very painful," the MS Society says.
According to the Mayo Clinic, these symptoms are the result of the immune system attacking the protective coverings on nerves, which leads to communication problems between your brain and other parts of your body.
The duration and severity of the numbness and tingling depends on the extent of damage.
The severity of symptoms often depends on the level of nerve damage. Leann Poston, MD, a licensed physician and medical expert for Invigor Medical, says that "the lack of sensation may be so severe that you cannot sense when an object is in your hand. The numbness can feel like squeezing or that a limb will not wake up." On the other hand, you could just experience pins and needles or the sensation that your hand is asleep. She adds that these symptoms "come and go as nerves malfunction."
O'Brien notes that once the symptoms begin, they can last for hours and sometimes even a full day. She says that the numbness and tingling in your hands could also come with "burning sensations, itching, prickling, feeling cold, vibrations, or buzzing."
These symptoms can interfere with daily activities.
Poston notes that the numbness in your hands could be so severe that it can make you unable to sense an object in your hand, which could result in difficulty eating, getting dressed, and holding objects. O'Brien also says that people who suffer from these symptoms sometimes "can't perform everyday tasks from writing or typing to picking up objects." If you find that you're experiencing numbness or tingling that's getting in the way of your daily activities, you should talk to your doctor immediately.
RELATED: For more health content delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Blurred vision, fatigue, muscle weakness, and pain are other early signs of MS.
While numbness and tingling in your hands are common early signs of MS that you should watch out for, there are a handful of other notable symptoms to be aware of. According to Orlando Health, blurred vision, fatigue, muscle weakness, pain, depression, dizziness, and paralysis are all possible early signs of MS. You might also experience sexual, bladder, and bowel dysfunction. If you're suffering from any of these symptoms, make sure to make an appointment with a health professional.