Can you close your eyes and imagine yourself having attacks of numbness, balance problems, and impaired vision for the rest of your life? About 2.3 million people live with the symptoms that are caused by Multiple Sclerosis, more commonly known as MS (National MS Society). There are many other symptoms of MS, as well as ways to diagnose and treat the disease.
Although there aren’t any specific tests to diagnose MS, there are tests to show certain signs of MS, as well as tests to rule out other diseases. Normally, a physician will ask about past medical conditions, surgical operations, and substance abuse before proceeding with any tests. (Multiple Sclerosis Foundation). There are also neurological examinations that can show other signs of MS, one being an MRI. By using an MRI, it is possible to show lesions in the brain and spinal cord that may be causing the symptoms (MS Focus). Evoked potential tests are also used to help diagnose MS by measuring electrical activity in specific parts of the brain while also showing whether MS has impacted the sensory, visual, or auditory pathways (Cleveland Clinic).
A spinal tap, also known as a lumbar puncture, is also a common test many doctors use to help diagnose Multiple Sclerosis (Mayo Clinic). A spinal tap is done by placing a large needle into a patient’s back to get a small sample of spinal fluid to examine for irregular amounts of white blood cells or proteins. Blood tests may be taken to rule out other diseases that symptoms act similar to MS, such as a vitamin deficiency or a brain infection (Cleveland Clinic).
There are several symptoms that are caused by MS, some able to be categorized by the location of the lesion in the brain or spinal cord,...
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... that sends out electrical shocks to deactivate the part of the brain that the electrode is in (WebMD). Other symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis such as fatigue, balance, coordination problems, and muscle spasticity can all be treated by some form of physical or occupational therapy (MS Focus). Medications can also help with odd sensations, bladder, bowel, and vision problems initiated by Multiple Sclerosis (MS Focus).
Multiple Sclerosis is a relatively common disease, affecting roughly two million people worldwide. Doctors have yet to discover the cause of MS or a way to cure the disease, but have come a long way in developing treatments to slow down the progression of MS, treating the abundance of symptoms that MS triggers, advancements in composing new tests for a quicker, more efficient way of diagnosing MS, and understanding Multiple Sclerosis all together.