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Can You Tell the Difference Between MS and a Stroke?

Multiple Sclerosis and Stroke are two very different diseases; however, they can be mistaken for each other, because they both affect the brain. Although even the doctors can’t always tell the difference between the MS and a Stroke, it is very important to know the distinction, because if it is stroke, it is very important to act quickly and get the right treatment.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and the body. People diagnosed with MS have a lifelong disease where the immune system attacks the nerves in the brain. A stroke, on the other hand, is a brain attack that occurs when the blood supply to the brain becomes blocked.

Multiple Sclerosis

That’s why the main indicator between these two may be the speed at which symptoms surface. A stroke is sudden. On the contrary, MS flares show up slowly, within hours or even days.
If some unusual symptoms appear, such as the loss of speaking and understanding ability, this can indicate a stroke. Also, some other disruptions like spasms, pain, bowl and bladder problems are not linked to a stroke, and because of that, they indicate MS flare-up. Your age might be another indicator – MS is usually diagnosed before the age of 50, while a stroke is a condition most common after 50s’.

The Similarities:
• Confusion
• Dizziness
• Headache
• Numbness
• Speech problems
• Inability to walk properly
• Vision problems

The Differences: When a person is experiencing the MS flare, they go through 3 stages. First of them begins minutes, hours, or even longer before the actual seizure. In this, primary stage, a person can experience vision and other senses’ change, as well as the dizziness and anxiety.
The middle stage is characterized by losing consciousness and having trouble hearing and seeing. During the seizure, the person can drool, blink excessively, lose control over movement, bite their tongue, sweat, or do repetitive actions, like walking, or getting dressed and undressed.

The ending stage is characterized by sleepiness, confusion and memory loss.
On the other hand, symptoms of a stroke occur suddenly and include numbness or pain on one side of the body, trouble walking, talking and hearing, as well as lack of coordination.

Both stroke and seizures can be provoked by high blood pressure, so, if you are suffering from hypertension, you should talk to your doctor about putting it under control. Also, if you haven’t already –you should quit smoking; opt for a healthy, balanced diet, exercise, and take the prescribed medicine.


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