Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?


I had a numb feeling in my face with tingling in my right arm and hand. It went away after a few days, but my hand took a while to feel strong again. My grandmother has MS. Could this be a sign of MS?


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks and causes a damage of the outer lining (called myelin) around the axons of the brain and spinal cord, leading to demyelination and a reduction in the ability of the nerve cells to conduct electrical signals. This causes nerve signals to be sent and received in an abnormal way. Some of the common symptoms include a muscle weakness, numbness and tingling in an arm or leg, visual problems such as a blurred vision or a sudden loss of vision that comes back, loss of coordination, speech impairment, trouble swallowing or walking. It is thought that there is a genetic association; that is, the risk of acquiring MS is higher in relatives of a person with the disease than in the general population. MS is also believed to be a polygenetic disorder, meaning that while there may be a gene that is inherited, it takes more than a single gene to develop the disease. Therefore, your grandmother having MS does not mean that you are predisposed to develop it. Face numbness and hand tingling can have many different causes including nerve entrapment syndromes and nerve damage. It is difficult to establish diagnosis online. The only way to be sure if you have MS is to see a neurologist who will order a brain MRI to check for areas of demyelination and sample the cerebral spinal fluid. If it is not MS, the doctor will evaluate the underling causes of your face numbness and hand tingling. Any time that you begin to feel changes in your ability to feel, seeking prompt diagnosis is very important.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.