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Multiple Sclerosis

What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?

Most people experience their first symptoms of MS between the ages of 20 and 40.  While symptoms rarely begin before age 15 or after age 60, scientists have documented the initial symptoms of MS at almost every age. When symptoms occur, they can include:
  • Dizziness, blurred or double vision
  • Muscle weakness in the arms and legs
  • Difficulty with coordination and balance
  • Muscle stiffness and spasms
  • Numbness, prickling or tingling sensations
  • Difficulty with concentration, attention span and memory
  • Fatigue
  • Speech impediments
  • Tremors

How is it diagnosed?

Unfortunately, there is no clear combination of symptoms or test results that can definitively say a person has MS. Health care providers use an array of testing strategies to determine if a person meets the criteria for a diagnosis of MS, including ruling out other possible causes of symptoms. Doctors will typically take a detailed past medical history, including detailed descriptions of symptoms and when they started. Then a physical and neurologic exam will be performed including a panel of imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Typically, no one test is enough to confirm the presence of MS; a combination of positive findings is required.

Physicians often use the Revised McDonald Criteria in order to make a more efficient diagnosis of MS.  

Other neurologic tests that may be completed are MRI, Visual Evoked Potential (VEP), and Cerebrospinal Fluid Analysis.


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