Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease in which the body’s normally healthy immune system goes into hyperdrive and attacks the outer sheath of the body’s nerve fibers in the central nervous system and in the brain. This sheath, called myelin, becomes compromised, and as a result, people with MS develop a variety of conditions relating to the breakdown of the nervous system. Each person’s experience of MS is unique, though there are many warning signs that MS may be at work in the body. Some experience a loss of mobility, others can become unable to breathe unassisted. Some forms of MS can progress quickly and can even be fatal. Other forms can progress slowly or even go into remission.
Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms And Diagnosis
Early signs that may point to MS are vision problems such as double vision or blurry vision. Other signs include dizziness, balance problems, as well as tingling or numbness in different body parts. Later signs of the disease may include incontinence, trembling, stuttering or other speech impediments, and rapid mood swings.
Because MS has many signs that can be confused with other conditions, it is sometimes difficult to diagnose. Rather than simply looking at the symptoms, a doctor would use what is called a “differential diagnosis” to compare your symptoms with those in other illnesses. In addition to performing a thorough medical examination and going through an intense medical history, many different tests are used to make the diagnosis and can include blood tests, a spinal tap, an MRI, or even an evoked potential test which measures the speed at which the body responds to certain stimuli. Those who have other progressive diseases or less frequently reported symptoms can take much longer to be diagnosed than those with the more recognizable symptoms.