How can I tell if I have multiple sclerosis (MS)?

Louis Rosner
Neurology
A true revolution has occurred in the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) with the widespread use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which can now show a clear picture of MS lesions in the brain and spinal cord. For years, MS had remained one of the most difficult diseases to confirm. But that has now dramatically changed. But even with the new technology, the diagnostic process is, at best, a complex one, usually beginning with a visit to the family doctor - a general practitioner who is often unprepared for some of the strange descriptions of symptoms. It is not uncommon for a patient to be referred to an ophthalmologist for eye complaints, an orthopedist for problems related to the spine and bones, a urologist for bladder problems, or even a psychiatrist.
In 1879 Dr. Buzzard wrote, "In its infancy, the name we give to multiple sclerosis is hysteria." At the time it was not uncommon for the early signs and symptoms of MS to be confused with psychiatric problems. Today MS remains one of the most difficult diseases in the world to diagnose.
Multiple Sclerosis

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Multiple Sclerosis

Too often, multiple sclerosis is thought of only as "the crippler of young adults." But in fact, 75 percent of all people with MS will never need a wheelchair. In Multiple Sclerosis, Dr. Louis J....

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Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis

Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis

Diagnosing multiple sclerosis (MS) can be done with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), evoked potential tests, in which electrodes are placed on the head and body, and neurological exams. The disease can be harder to diagnose in ch...

ildren since they may not be able to describe their sensory symptoms, or the symptoms may be similar to those of other neurological diseases. Find out more, including what to do after diagnosis, from our Sharecare experts.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.