How Long Can You Live With Ms – Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disease that can cause damage to the nerves in the brain and spinal cord due to an overactive immune system. Early and accurate diagnosis of MS is important because it may allow earlier treatment, which often leads to better clinical outcomes.
Neurologists – doctors who diagnose, treat and manage problems affecting the brain and nervous system – are often nurses qualified to diagnose MS.
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There is no single test that can diagnose MS on its own. The first step in diagnosing this disease is a complete physical and neurological examination that includes imaging and other tests, combined with a careful review of the patient’s medical history.
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A diagnostic system called the McDonald Criteria, which was updated in 2017, has developed guidelines to speed up the diagnosis of MS. According to these criteria, MS diagnosis requires:
Another important step in this process is to rule out other conditions that can cause MS-like symptoms. These can range from viral infections to malnutrition to other neurological diseases.
Several tests can be used to help diagnose MS. Some of the most common clinical tests are:
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Better known as MRI, magnetic resonance imaging is the most popular imaging tool – the most sensitive – to diagnose and monitor the progression of MS. MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to measure the level of fluid in cells, which can be used to create detailed images. It is a non-invasive procedure and does not expose the patient to radiation.
In MS, MRI is often used to look for damage to the central nervous system in the form of lesions, as the damaged parts of the nervous system – lacking myelin, the fatty tissue that surrounds the nerves – retain more water than healthy parts. .
There are many types of MRI, but the most commonly used in MS are the T1 scan (to detect active inflammatory lesions) and the T2 scan, which detects the extent of the lesion in general. , including chronic and active wounds.
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An evoked potential (EP) test is used to measure the electrical activity of the brain in response to stimuli – such as sight or sound – by placing electrodes on certain parts of the body. These tests can measure the speed of electrical current passing through certain nerve pathways, and can detect abnormalities even before lesions appear on the nerve examination, or visual symptoms.
There are different types of EP tests, depending on the nerves tested. The visual evoked potential (VEP), which measures the activity of the optic nerve that connects the eyes to the brain, is often used in the diagnosis of MS. In the VEP test, the patient sits in front of the screen and focuses on its center, while the scanning process changes; One eye is tested at a time, and each eye is tested twice.
A lumbar puncture, also known as a spinal tap, is a procedure in which a small sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, is collected. This is done by using a thin needle to draw CSF from the lower lumbar region (back).
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Laboratory tests of CSF can detect symptoms of inflammation in the central nervous system that are characteristic of MS. In particular, a lumbar puncture is often used to check an oligoclonal group – antibiotics, called immunoglobulins, which indicate inflammation. Other proteins from myelin breakdown may also be present.
About 20 percent of people with MS will have optic neuritis, or inflammation of the nerves that connect the eye to the brain, as their first symptom. A vision test can help diagnose optic neuritis and other eye problems that can occur in MS, such as double vision (diplopia) and eye movements called nystagmus.
Many other clinical and laboratory tests can be used to diagnose MS. These tests can also check the signs of disease and rule out other conditions – that is, they allow doctors to make a different diagnosis. They can include:
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According to the National MS Association, before confirming a diagnosis of MS, other conditions with similar symptoms must be ruled out. These include:
Both NMOSD and ADEM are diseases in which myelin (demyelination) occurs as a result of an inflammatory attack, like MS. NMOSD leads to inflammation of the optic nerve and spinal cord. ADEM usually involves a single attack, a large attack that damages the myelin in the brain or spinal cord; sometimes, the optic nerve can also be affected.
MS is usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, but it may go undiagnosed for many years. In fact, a 2021 study suggested that many people with MS experience symptoms years before they are officially diagnosed with the disease.
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MS symptoms can vary between patients, and over time, which makes diagnosis difficult. Another factor that contributes to the delay is that other medical conditions need to be ruled out for a full diagnosis of MS, and this process takes time. There is no single test available to prevent or diagnose MS.
Because a misdiagnosis of MS can put a person at risk of receiving unnecessary treatment, health professionals are careful, and careful in their diagnosis, before making a diagnosis. the end of the disease.
Diagnosing MS in people with unique symptoms can be more difficult. In addition, it is often more difficult to diagnose people with relapsing MS than people with relapsing-remitting MS – about 85 percent of MS patients are diagnosed with this form of the disease – because the disease slowly progressing.
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After being diagnosed with MS, a treatment plan will be discussed between the healthcare provider and the patient. This allows creating the best MS treatment plan, based on the patient’s health status, disease type, symptoms, needs and preferences.
MS is a lifelong disease, and no two people are affected the same way. Also, even the health condition of one patient can change from day to day, making the disease unpredictable. For some patients, symptoms can worsen over time, having a negative impact on their daily life and work. In some cases, on the other hand, patients are able to live active and productive lives despite their illness.
The National MS Society recommends coordinated, coordinated care to manage the disease, which includes the expertise of a variety of health care providers other than neurologists — such as doctors who see for primary care, urologists, rehabilitation, and mental health providers. The main features of such a system are:
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Lifestyle changes may be important after a diagnosis of MS – for example, smoking cessation or weight loss, as these factors may be contributing factors to the disease. In terms of recovery, MS is rarely fatal, but it can increase the risk of developing life-threatening complications, including serious illness.
As a chronic disease, MS requires constant monitoring. Patients are advised to see a neurologist regularly, usually every six months, and to report if their symptoms change.
On the Multiple Sclerosis News Today website, one can find information, support, and resources to learn about the different aspects of the disease. People can also join forums to connect with others in the MS community, and learn from other patients’ experiences through our columns. Special content dedicated to people diagnosed with MS is also available.
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Multiple Sclerosis News Today is a website for news and information about this disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This information is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition. Do not ignore professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of what you read on this website.
Most people will develop MS between the ages of 20 and 50, although the disease can also occur in adults and children.
MS usually affects adults but can also be seen in children – a condition often called pediatric MS, pediatric-onset MS (POMS), or early-onset MS. It is estimated that up to 5-10% of MS cases are diagnosed before the age of 16, and most of these patients are diagnosed after the age of 10.
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Doctors who deal with problems affecting the brain and nervous system, called neurologists, are often an important part of an MS patient’s health care team. However, the National MS Society recommends a comprehensive, coordinated approach to managing the disease, which includes the expertise of other health care providers, including primary care physicians, urologists, mental health professionals, and rehabilitation professionals.
There is currently no single test that can rule out or confirm whether you have MS. However, blood tests can rule out other medical conditions with symptoms similar to MS, including diseases such as Lyme disease, certain vitamin or mineral deficiencies, and other diseases.
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