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startled easily

Hi all,

I'm having an issue with being startled very easily -- if someone comes up to my desk at work I practically jump out of my skin.  Or if I turn a corner or open a door and someone is there, I jump.  Is this a symptom of MS?

As an aside, my doc said I have a hyper reflex or something like that.  When they do the reflex test (with the little hammer) on my left leg, the lower leg shoots up high.  I'm not sure if that is related to this startling, to MS or what.

Thoughts?

Jean
dx MS March 2010
dx epi 1996
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22 Comments Post a Comment
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Also, since I'm new to MS, sorry if these questions are very basic.  I'm still learning.  =}
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1312898_tn?1314571733
Hi Jean,

I am new to all of this too.  I believe that the startle response is the 'hyper-reflexia' like you thought.  Most people with MS have discrepanies in their reflexes.  My left knee jumps in the air and my right doesn't move at all.  

I have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) from fearly trauma, becuase of that I have always had what they call an 'exaggerated startle response' and would jump at loud noises etc. like you mentioned.

BUT, now I have a startle response that includes feeling like all the nerves in one area of my body react with a strong pins and needles type of thing.  It doesn't happen every time I am startled but does happen frequently.  

I am not diagnosed though.

Hope this helps.  lois
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1086746_tn?1288627989
Hello folks
I believe this is from MS.
I have it too and never had it before I became ill..
I don't startle just a little , I almost jump out of my skin!
Sometime even if someone just enters the room I'm in.
NiCee
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1086746_tn?1288627989
ps,
I was told by docs that I have hyper reflexia
among many other things that are Ms related.
NiCee
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1307298_tn?1305950451
NiCee --

This is how mine is -- almost jumping out of my skin.  It has become a joke at work, and this one person tries to startle me on purpose -- which isn't hard obviously.

Others feel bad when they didn't intend to startle me, but it still makes things weird at work.

Jean
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1307298_tn?1305950451
Hey RedFlame!

I'm in Ann Arbor too!  Well kind of.  I work there now, but I also used to live there.  

What neurologist do you see?

Jean
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1312898_tn?1314571733
Hi Jean!  

It's great to know there is someone nearby.  I live at my sisters place way out in the woods of Ann Arbor.  I was referred to a Dr. Garwood at Greater Ann Arbor Neurolgy.  However, I ended up seeing a doctor Xi Guo, a little 4'5' lady with lots of energy.  I do like her but we are in the beginning stages of building a patient doctor rapport.  Here is their website

  http://www.gaaneurology.com/

I really wanted a referral to U of M because of their specialty clinics but my doctor was concerned about the wait time.  

Who are you seeing?
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1312898_tn?1314571733
I meant to include that I was glad that people were responding to your question.  I had asked the same thing but didn't do a very good job of describing it.  So this is very helpful
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1140169_tn?1370188676
Hi all

I startle easily now too, and I never did before I noticed I was having medical issues.

I don't think I have hyper reflexes though (when tested with the little hammer) so I'm not sure they are related.

I can't recall if I mentioned this to my neuro though.....

Mike, dx MS
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i also strtle easy and find myself being over cautios when driving, when my husband drives i can be quite jumpy.
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987762_tn?1331031553
I actually did a bit of googling last night trying to get something to explain it lol I dont know if i'm any closer to understanding. The jury seems to be still out on the cause, its not exclusively MS and even when there is a recognised connection with a disease, the science is still fuzzy and speculatary.

I did find Myoclonus, it seems to make sense due to a lot of the other issues we seem to have going on. Myoclonus has various types and i think this might fit into stimulus-sensitive myoclonus, 'it's triggered by a variety of external events, including noise, movement, and light. Surprise may increase the sensitivity of the patient.'

Pathology: Although some cases of myoclonus are caused by an injury to the peripheral nerves, most myoclonus is caused by a disturbance of the central nervous system. Studies suggest that several locations in the brain are involved in myoclonus. One such location, for example, is in the brainstem close to structures that are responsible for the startle response, an automatic reaction to an unexpected stimulus involving rapid muscle contraction.

The specific mechanisms underlying myoclonus are not yet fully understood. Scientists believe that some types of stimulus-sensitive myoclonus may involve overexcitability of the parts of the brain that control movement. These parts are interconnected in a series of feedback loops called motor pathways. These pathways facilitate and modulate communication between the brain and muscles.

Key elements of this communication are chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which carry messages from one nerve cell, or neuron, to another. Neurotransmitters are released by neurons and attach themselves to receptors on parts of neighboring cells. Some neurotransmitters may make the receiving cell more sensitive, while others tend to make the receiving cell less sensitive. Laboratory studies suggest that an imbalance between these chemicals may underlie myoclonus.

I'm still looking for answers, Myoclonus is making sense to me, though with gritted teeth i'll tell you the psychological angle is mentioned too, grrr stress and anxiety because of the fight or flight issues. Not that thats something to dismiss out of hand, surely if autonomatic functions are being affected too, then its something to consider.

Cheers....JJ



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Hi Jean.  For me, I noticed the hyper-startle response began when I was in a bad flare 10 years ago.  I had double vision and multiple sensory symptoms at that time.  The hyper-startle has never left me.  

Oddly, I can also catch an object as it is falling in midair, even if I'm not the one knocking it down.  My sense of smell has become acutely keen too.  Like a pregnant person x100.

All reflexes that the neuro tests are hyper - I feel as though I could bounce right off the exam table - but no clonus.

Persons who know me, don't quietly walk up behind me because it startles me to excess.  It's not funny LOL.  
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1318483_tn?1318350782
I, too, have this problem.  I don't remember when it started.  I only know that I have been apologizing for it for several years.  Some people think I have been a victim of domestic violence.  I tell them no and that I don't know why I do it.

On the other hand, my 14 year old daughter has a ball with it.  She is so proud of the fact that , just the other day, she managed to scare me 4 times in a 5 minute period.  lol  She is still telling everyone.

Addi
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1140169_tn?1370188676
Hi JJ,

Thanks for trying to find "the answer" to this odd sx.

I am positive that its a neurological related issue, and your research seems to back this up.

I will laugh with whoever scares the heck out of me once I recover.............unless it's done on purpose.........then my evil grumpy alter ego will kick in. I hate when that happens, but people only frighten me once on purpose. Then I feel really bad for getting mad........maybe some of you know what I mean?

Interesting thread.

Mike
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1312898_tn?1314571733
I appreciate the answers too as I have been wondering the same thing.  Now to figure out what myoclonus is?
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987762_tn?1331031553
Hi there,

This is a good easy read explanation of Myoclonus, so far though this is an area of exploration not a difinitive answer, still a lot of exloration to do..

http://www.bcm.edu/neurology/patient_education/pdcmdc/myoclonus.html

Cheers.......JJ
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I was going through the archives and found this post.  I did not think that this could mean something other than me just being  jumpy anytime something happens or someone entering the room without me being aware. I am easily startled.

Is this really a symptom of MS?? Is this related to the hyperreflexia, overly sensitive gag reflex, and the sensitivity to noise??

It looks like I have become a very hyper and sensitive person these days.

Please if anyone has input on this, I would greatly appreciate it.
Thanks,
Pamela
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I have had this startle response for years. I never connected it with a neurological disorder.  I never really knew what caused it. Jean's story is just like mine. At work people simply walk up behind me and I jump and my heart starts racing.  There is no way to control it either.
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I too have a bad startle responce but mainly to loud noises.  Cuboard doors shutting, something being dropped.  My whole body jumps.  I wa dx with MS in Sept 2010.    Tracey
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I have this startle response u described. My neurologist says its from my ms but didn't say how or y.
Beema
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This is so interesting, I have had this same reflex for many years. Just like Jean's story, I jump out of my skin if someone comes up behind me unexpectantley. It has also became a joke at work,but can be very upsetting for some people who feel bad for scaring me.  I always tell them not to worry about it, because it is just something I do that I can't control.
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I want to add to this one, even though it's not a recent thread.  I am new to all of this and in limbo land awaiting to see a neurologist for possible MS.  My MRI showed multiple hyperintense lesions in two locations.  It's taking awhile to get into a neuro and it's a long story.

But the startle reflex question really caught my attention.  I have had this for along time now.  At work I am always apologising for it, and my family and friends do take some pleasure in 'creeping up on me and scaring me on purpose' type of thing.  I do get mad at them sometimes because the pounding heart and adrenalin rush is too  much.

It was only a month ago that I had the mri done and I've slowly started researching and reaching out for info.  My starle reflex seems to make sense with this central nervous sysytem stuff.  No, i'm not a doctor, but what it appears to me sometimes, it's like because I can't hear well, and I can't multitask, when I'm doing something, I am so focussed on it that I "blank out' what is going on around me.  Hence, why it is so EASY for others to scare me and then me having an 'over reaction' to the scaring.  Just my two cents worth.

Gail
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