MS Symptoms and Diagnosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease where the immune system damages healthy nerve tissue, leading to a variety of symptoms. Watch neurologist Doug Stuart, MD, from the MS Center of Atlanta, discuss the common symptoms of MS and the importance of an early, accurate diagnosis.

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Transcript

00:00
MS has many symptoms, and can really affect almost anything that the brain and spinal cord do.
00:06
[MUSIC PLAYING] Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system.
00:12
[MUSIC PLAYING] Common symptoms include blurred vision or double vision, numbness or weakness, trouble walking, pain,
00:22
bladder symptoms, even fatigue and depression. An MRI is typically the way MS is first
00:29
diagnosed because most patients will have these lesions or scars on their MRI. But sometimes it's trickier, and you
00:36
have to do a spinal tap to look for antibodies associated with the disease. And sometimes it's based simply on history alone.
00:43
[MUSIC PLAYING] Secondary progressive MS is diagnosed typically in patients
00:49
who had started with relapsing remitting disease and who are no longer having attacks of MS,
00:55
and yet they continue to have a progression of their neurologic disability-- worsening of gait, worsening of memory impairment, or worsening of some type
01:04
of neurologic disability in the absence of discrete exacerbations. MRIs are used to diagnose the disease,
01:13
but, unfortunately, there's really no distinction between the MRI of a relapsing remitting MS patient and the MRI of somebody who
01:20
has secondary progressive MS. The distinction really exists almost solely on the basis of the clinical presentation
01:27
and how the patient is progressing over time. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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