Loss Of Or Change Of Taste And Smell
Research has shown that many people who have MS experience changes in how food tastes and smells. One study, published in April 2016 in Journal of Neurology, found that a significant number of people with MS have a decreased ability to sense all four basic areas of taste: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter, and that these taste deficits that are linked to MS-related lesions throughout the brain.
Its not common, but other people with MS have reported hyperosmia, or an abnormally heightened sense of smell or abnormal sensitivity to odors.
Before you assume that MS is the cause of impaired or decreased taste, get your symptoms checked out by your doctor, as new loss of taste and smell can also be a symptom of COVID-19, among other conditions.
Brain Exercises To Combat Memory Loss
Just as physical exercise can make and keep your body stronger, mental exercise can make your brain work better and lower your risk of mental decline. Try to find brain exercises that you find enjoyable. The more pleasurable an activity is to you, the more powerful its effect will be on your brain. You can make some activities more enjoyable by appealing to your sensesby playing music during the exercise, for example, or lighting a scented candle, or rewarding yourself after youve finished.
Write It Down To Remember It
Louise Fletcher, 61, a librarian from Vallejo, California, has had progressive MS for 20 years. She says her memory is not good, but Im very organized. She keeps little notebooks for different parts of her life. She has books for each child and grandchild, and for shopping, home repair, cleaning, and her art projects. She consults her notebooks regularly and writes everything she needs to remember in the appropriate book.
Fletcher applies her write it down practice to cooking, too. She forgets recipes and forgets what she has already done to a dish, so shes made many copies of her favorite recipes. As she cooks, she crosses off each step in the instructions until she gets everything done.
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Habit Of Pushing Back Unwanted Memories
Many people respond to traumatic or distressing memories by burying them or pushing them away.
If your worries overwhelm and exhaust you to the point where you begin to have trouble functioning, you might try to block or suppress them in order to cope.
You might not forget a specific event entirely, but refusing to think about it can blur the details and help it fade from the forefront of your memory.
Suppression might seem beneficial, but it doesnt help you address the source of the problem. Unaddressed anxiety can get worse and have an even greater effect on memory and concentration over time.
Surprising Symptoms Of Multiple Sclerosis
Many people with MS experience fatigue and mobility issues, but there are other, less common symptoms.
When you have multiple sclerosis , damage to the nerve fibers in the central nervous system causes the signals between your brain, spinal cord, and the rest of your body go awry, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society . This interference in the transmission of nerve signals is what causes the symptoms of MS.
While symptoms vary greatly from person to person, and can get better or worse over time, more common symptoms include fatigue, walking difficulties, numbness or tingling, spasticity, weakness, vision problems, dizziness, bladder and bowel problems, sexual problems, pain, cognitive and emotional changes, and depression, per the NMSS.
However, there are also some less common symptoms of MS.
“What’s surprising about MS symptoms is that they can affect so many different functions that people rely on every day in their lives,” says Rosalind Kalb, PhD, vice president of the Professional Resource Center at the NMSS. “Some are physical, some emotional, and some intellectual. We tend to focus on the ones we can all see, but many people may be living with a variety of symptoms that just aren’t apparent.”
Here are some of the less common, more surprising symptoms that you might not be aware of.
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Complications During Multiple Sclerosiss Final Stages
The final stages of Multiple Sclerosis can be challenging as common symptoms become more severe. Should the illness progress to this advanced stage it is important to have the right supports and treatment to reduce the impact on the quality of life.
These common symptoms may develop or worsen during the final stages of MS:
- Vision problems, including blurriness or blindness.
- Muscle weakness.
- Difficulty with coordination and balance.
- Problems with walking and standing.
- Feelings of numbness, prickling, or pain.
- Partial or complete paralysis.
- Problems with concentration, attention, memory, and judgment.
Other issues may also arise during multiple sclerosiss final stages, including:
Myelin Sheath And The Role It Plays In Ms
Moreover, the disease can cause atrophy and shrinkage in certain parts of the brain and spinal cord, including the corpus callosum, which connects the right and left sides of the brain.
Ms And Rehab For Your Brain
If test results show that MS is to blame for spotty memory or poor mental focus, you may want to try rehab to sharpen your thinking. This can include:
- Memory exercises on a computer. Although the research on brain training is new, it’s encouraging. Studies show that it might improve short-term memory.
- Crossword or other puzzles or word games
- Challenging reading
Simple strategies can help you stay organized and make up for memory lapses.
Rarely, thinking problems become so serious that someone with MS needs constant care or can’t live on their own. If this becomes an issue, discuss your options with your doctor and family. A social worker or psychologist can also help explore options for care.
Examples Of Forgetting Things
More often than not, its things that should be in your short term memory that dont come back to mind, for example:
- Where you put something like the car keys
- What you went out for eg to buy a pint of milk
- What youve done recently eg already bought a pint of milk this morning so you didnt need to go out again
- What someone told you recently eg its your turn to fetch the kids
- To take medication
- The way to somewhere, sometimes including the way home
- The right word for an everyday object
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Memory Loss And Aging
Weve all misplaced keys, blanked on someones name, or forgotten a phone number. When youre young, you dont tend to pay much attention to these lapses, but as you grow older, you may worry about what they mean. Perhaps you start to talk about a movie you saw recently when you realize you cant remember the title. Youre giving directions to your house when you suddenly blank on a familiar street name. Or you find yourself standing in the middle of the kitchen wondering what you went in there for. Memory lapses can be frustrating, but most of the time they arent cause for concern. Age-related memory changes are not the same thing as dementia.
As you grow older, you experience physiological changes that can cause glitches in brain functions youve always taken for granted. It takes longer to learn and recall information. Youre not as quick as you used to be. In fact, you may mistake this slowing of your mental processes for true memory loss. But in most cases, if you give yourself time, the information will come to mind. So, while its true that certain brain changes are inevitable when it comes to aging, major memory problems are not one of them. Thats why its important to know the difference between normal age-related forgetfulness and the symptoms that may indicate a developing cognitive problem.
How Many People With Sjogrens Syndrome Suffer Memory Problems
Sjogrens syndrome indeed can cause memory problems, even though this autoimmune condition is associated with dry mouth and dry eyes.
Because Sjogrens syndrome is potentially systemic, the entire body can be affected, including organs, and this can mean the brain.
Patients with Sjogrens syndrome may suffer from a number of different neurologic abnormalities, says Ali D. Askari, MD, Professor of Medicine Case Western Reserve University Chief, Division of Rheumatology University Hospitals Case Medical Center Director, Rheumatology University Hospitals Case Medical Center.
Rheumatologists often deal with Sjogrens syndrome patients, since the disease often initially manifests with joint pain or stiffness.
Dr. Askari continues, Unlike lupus , which has more of central nervous system involvement, Sjogrens syndrome has peripheral nerve involvement more commonly.
Neurological problems affect as many as 20 percent of patients. However, Dr. Askari says that dementia is a rare complication of Sjogrens syndrome.
In our own study reported to the international SS conference in Japan, we found 14 of 200 patients having neurological abnormality.
Six had variety of central nervous system involvement only one had dementia. Dementia therefore is rare and can happen at any time.
Though Sjogrens syndrome is most associated with dry eyes and dry mouth, these arent necessarily the first presenting symptoms.
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When To See A Doctor For Memory Loss
Its time to consult a doctor when memory lapses become frequent enough or sufficiently noticeable to concern you or a family member. If you get to that point, make an appointment as soon as possible to talk with your primary physician and have a thorough physical examination. Even if youre not displaying all the necessary symptoms to indicate dementia, now may be a good time to take steps to prevent a small problem becoming a larger one.
Your doctor can assess your personal risk factors, evaluate your symptoms, eliminate reversible causes of memory loss, and help you obtain appropriate care. Early diagnosis can treat reversible causes of memory loss, lessen decline in vascular dementia, or improve the quality of life in Alzheimers or other types of dementia.
Thanks For The Memory: Forgetting Things And Ms
Memory is one of those things we all tend to take for granted until its not working as well as it was.
Problems remembering things are common in multiple sclerosis and can affect many aspects of everyday life.
This blog provides tips and tricks to get round them as well as suggesting ways that others can be supportive
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How Might My Illness Progress
Severe disability is a result of MS that affects approximately 1/3 of those living with the disease. Through walking aides like canes or crutches, many retain the ability to move around. MS treatment can help, but in some individuals the disease may continue to progress.
Doctors do what they can to help MS patients, but they cannot predict how MS will advance in one individual. Generally, patients may have long periods exhibiting little to no symptoms, or remission, before relapsing and having another period of illness.
Research shows that certain factors guide the progression of an individuals illness. The results have shown that people who fare better are often those with:
- Limited relapses or attacks in the first several years after diagnosis.
- Long periods between relapses.
- Symptoms that are sensory, such as tingling, numbness, or vision problems.
- Neurological exam results that are near normal after five years.
Risk Factors For Cognitive Impairment
Although there are no predictors of which patients will suffer MS-related cognitive deficits, disease duration and subtype, race, sex, and cognitive reserve may all play a role.
There are four subtypes of MS, defined by disease progression. Relapsing-remitting MS is the most common this subtype is the initial diagnosis of approximately 85 percent of all people with MS. In RR-MS, patients experience flare-ups of disease symptoms for a period of time, followed by a complete recovery or remission. The majority of patients diagnosed with RR-MS develop secondary-progressive MS within 10 to 20 years. In SP-MS, as in RR-MS, patients experience flare-ups or relapses of disease symptoms, but there is a steady increase in disease severity between the relapses. The second most common subtype diagnosed at initial presentation is primary-progressive MS , in which a patient experiences a steady increase in symptom severity from the time of disease onset. The final and most rare subtype of MS, progressive-relapsing MS , involves intermittent relapses punctuating a steady progression of the disease. While patients with progressive subtypes of MS are more likely to experience cognitive impairment in general, further studies of patients with PP-MS and PR-MS are needed. Earlier onset of MS increases a patients chance of developing MS-related cognitive decline.
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Symptoms Of Mild Cognitive Impairment
Mild cognitive impairment is an intermediate stage between normal age-related cognitive changes and the more serious symptoms that indicate dementia.
MCI can involve problems with memory, language, thinking, and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes, but the line between MCI and normal memory problems is not always a clear one. The difference is often one of degrees. For example, its normal as you age to have some problems remembering the names of people. However, its not normal to forget the names of your close family and friends and then still be unable to recall them after a period of time.
If you have mild cognitive impairment, you and your family or close friends will likely be aware of the decline in your memory or mental function. But, unlike people with full-blown dementia, you are still able to function in your daily life without relying on others.
While many people with MCI eventually develop Alzheimers disease or another type of dementia, that doesnt mean its inevitable. Some people with MCI plateau at a relatively mild stage of decline while others even return to normal. The course is difficult to predict, but in general, the greater the degree of memory impairment, the greater your risk of developing dementia some time in the future.
Cognitive Impairment In Ms: An Overview
Although Jean-Martin Charcot is credited with providing a comprehensive description of MS, reports of both MS and comorbid cognitive impairment precede Charcots 1868 lectures. Dr. Friedrich von Frerichs first cited MS-related cognitive impairment in 1849, 25 years after the diseases initial clinical description. Despite multiple early accounts of MS as a disease affecting cognition, reports on the incidence of cognitive impairment in patients with MS were mixed over the following century. While some late 19th and early 20th century physicians recognized deterioration of cognitive faculties in more than half of their MS patients, others reported that only two percent of their patients with MS experienced blunted intellectual function.1 Discrepancies in these figures are probably due to the fact that the majority of neurologists did not ask patients with MS about their cognitive function, and those neurologists who did inquire had inconsistent means of measuring cognitive function.
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Living With Cognitive Problems
Problems with thinking or memory might sound trivial, but they can have a big impact on the day-to-day experience of living with MS. It can be frustrating to find that your cognitive issues go un-noticed by those around you. Your experience might not look as bad to the outside world as it feels to you. Other people dont see the extra, invisible effort you are putting in to get the same result.
You may need to explain your cognitive symptoms to friends, family or work colleagues in order to get understanding or appropriate support. It is worth remembering that in most cases you have not lost the skills you used to have, they just take a little longer to express. With the right support and plans in place you can continue to do things as you choose.
The longer you have had MS the more likely cognitive problems are to occur. Research suggests that cognitive symptoms usually stay the same over several years, or only very gradually worsen. You have time to develop strategies to compensate for any difficulties, or train your brain to slow down any cognitive decline.
Can Ms Have Other Indirect Effects On Memory
MS can affect different aspects of your physical and mental health, as well as your lifestyle habits. In turn, this may indirectly have an effect on your memory.
For example, many people with MS have difficulty sleeping. Poor sleep quality and fatigue may contribute to memory loss, as well as other cognitive issues.
MS also raises your risk of anxiety and depression. In turn, symptoms of anxiety and depression have been linked to higher rates of memory problems in people with MS. More research is needed to understand how this link really works.
Unrelated health conditions and lifestyle factors can also contribute to memory loss. For example, certain nutritional deficiencies, head injuries, or other conditions can affect your memory, too.
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Multiple Sclerosis And Fatigue
Fatigue can be seen in all stages of multiple sclerosis but is not related to the severity or duration of the disease. Fatigue can become quite severe and interfere with normal daily functioning.
Fatigue in MS can be caused by the following:
- General activation of multiple sclerosis
- More parts of the brain are used in people with MS they are working harder
- Fatigue is related to reduced electrical transmission signals to the brain
There are two types of fatigue in multiple sclerosis. The first being general tiredness, which can be caused by a lack of sleep and can worsen as the day progresses. The second is muscular fatigue, where repeated activity causes the muscles to become weak and tired.