Diagnosing MS - How a Diagnosis is Made

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Multiple sclerosis can be a devastating disease for anyone who is diagnosed with it.
Currently there are no known cures for the disease; however there are a variety of therapies and medications that can help the person diagnosed with MS lead a full life.
There is no one test that can be performed for diagnosing MS that can provide proof positive that a person has the disease.
Medical professionals do however have a set of criteria that they use to make a diagnosis, but even with this set of established symptoms there are no guarantees.
How is the Diagnosis Made? Multiple sclerosis can be extremely difficult to diagnose, if you or your family doctor have reason to suspect that you may have MS you need to see a specialist.
You will need to be seen by a neurologist who specializes in this disease so that he can fully evaluate your symptoms.
According to medical research as many as 10% of patients who are referred for further testing to diagnose MS have another problem or condition that imitates the disease such as multiple strokes, lupus or an infection of the brain.
To make diagnosing MS accurate the specialist will take a close look at your overall medical history and perform a complete neurological evaluation of your spinal cord and brain with a variety of different tests.
It requires a highly skilled doctor in this field to not only perform the examinations, but to ask you the right questions so that he can evaluate all of the signs and symptoms you have exhibited.
He may also order an MRI to look for lesions, a spinal tap or lumbar puncture to examine your spinal fluid and an evoked potentials test to check for nerve damage.
What Criteria are used? Because the disease manifests itself in so many different ways the medical field has established certain criteria used in diagnosing MS to help make the chances of early detection and treatment much higher.
These include noting that the average onset occurs between the ages of 20 and 50, noticeable signs and symptoms of brain or spinal cord damage according to a know list and signs of at least two lesions on the brain or spinal cord as seen in and MRI.
The patient must also have recorded instances of more than two episodes of the listed symptoms that have lasted more than 24 hours that were more than one month apart and there should be no other way to explain the symptoms described.
Once an accurate diagnosis is made the doctor can then recommend a treatment regimen to help the person cope with this degenerative disease.
In many cases if it is cause early enough a patient will be able to lead a full life with minimal exacerbations.
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