Multiple Sclerosis - Diagnosis

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How many doctors did you go to before you received a multiple sclerosis diagnosis?

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How is multiple sclerosis diagnosed?

Due to the broad range and subtleties of symptoms, multiple sclerosis may not be diagnosed for months to years after the onset of symptoms. Physicians, particularly neurologists, take detailed histories and perform complete physical and neurological examinations.

  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans with intravenous gadolinium help to identify, describe, and in some instances date lesions in the brain (plaques).
  • An electrophysiological test, evoked potentials, examines the impulses traveling through the nerves to determine if the impulses are moving normally or too slowly.
  • Finally, examining the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord may identify abnormal chemicals (antibodies) or cells that suggest the presence of multiple sclerosis.

Collectively, these three tests help the physician to confirm the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. For a definite diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, dissemination in time (at least two separate symptomatic events or changes on MRI over time) and in anatomical space (at least two separate locations within the central nervous system, which can be demonstrated by MRI or neurological exam) must be demonstrated.

Return to Multiple Sclerosis

See what others are saying

Comment from: 26+, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 20

I was diagnosed with MS at age 19, more than 25 years ago by my eye doctor, the first doctor I went to. In that time, water has been found on Mars, but no cure has been found for MS, cancer, arthritis, or Alzheimer's. Does anyone have their priorities straight?

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: Basseteer, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 18

The 2nd neurologist got it right.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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