Diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis

Diagnosing multiple sclerosis can be a challenge for doctors. There isn’t any one test that can give a definitive answer as to whether someone has MS or not, and there are many other conditions that have similar symptoms which can make it even harder to get a diagnosis.

Most neurologists who specialize in treating MS should be able to look at your symptoms, do some tests, and come up with a strong answer on what your condition is. They will test whether your brain and spinal cord are working properly, and they will look into your medical history. The tests they will carry out include:

  • MRI to look at your brain.

This will allow doctors to see if there are any changes in your brain caused by MS. It shows any signs of inflammation deep in your brain or spinal cord – this is a red flag for the condition. These spots can also be caused by high blood pressure and diabetes though so your doctor will assess your symptoms as well as the scan. Unfortunately, MS does not always show up in an MRI either.

  • Spinal Taps or Lumbar Punctures 

These check the fluid running through your spinal column, for higher levels of proteins and other signs of the disease.

  • Evoked potentials or Electrical Tests 

These see if MS has affected your nerve pathways. They allow doctors to see if MS has affected the parts of your brain that make you see, hear, and feel.

  • Blood Tests

These are in order to help doctors rule out any other underlying conditions. Diagnosing MS is not possible with blood tests – they are merely meant to rule other things out.

A diagnosis can be very lengthy. It can come as a shock to some, and a relief to others. Once you find the best way to treat your condition you can learn to live with it day by day.

Featured Image: DepositPhotos/ tashatuvango

Posted on November 25, 2019