MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS DIAGNOSIS
Accurate multiple sclerosis diagnosis could be quite difficult due to the following reasons: most of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis have the tendency to be similar to other diseases, multiple sclerosis symptoms come and go, each individual develops unique and different symptoms, there is currently no existing blood test to accurately diagnose multiple sclerosis and a lot of the symptoms are vague and un-quantifiable enough as these include depression, fatigue, cognitive trouble and sexual dysfunction.
Fortunately, a lot of improvements have occurred thanks to the increased usage of advanced diagnostic proedures and tests. Do note that multiple sclerosis is very much a complex disease that definite and 100% accurate diagnosis may need tons of patience. It is also important to have a neurologist you can trust and is comfortable with.
Magnetic resonance imaging or an MRI scan is one way to diagnose multiple sclerosis. MRI utilizes magnetic waves to create brain and spinal cord images. If in case multiple sclerosis is suspected, a gadolinium injection is administered during the scan as it lights up any active lesions due to its ability to react when in contact to inflammed areas.
Though an MRI is not painful, it could be a strange experience. MRI is considered as an excellent test for MS since more than 95% of people with MS possess abnormal lesions which are detected by a scan.
Doctors will also ask questions with regards to the symptoms one is experiencing. It is therefore advisable if you log or keep a diary of your symptoms prior to seeing a doctor. You can note how long your symptoms last and any other info.
It would be best if you also list your symptoms even if doctors insist that there is nothing wrong.
Another test to determine MS is a neurologic exam. For this test, the doctor will then be checking the function of your cranial nerves as these control the body' s senses as well as how you swallow and talk. Doctors will also check your strength, coordination and reflex. This is done by asking you to do tasks such as touching your nose and his finger. The doctor will also touch you using various instruments and even examine your eyes. Take note that such tests are not painful and will last for approximately 45 minutes to two hours.
Another type of multiple sclerosis diagnosis is Evoked Potential Testing and covers three specific tests: Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potentials or BAEP consists of a series of clicks which are played in each of the ears via headphones; Visual Evoked Potentials or VEP are checkboad patterns series which are shown on-screen; and Sensory Evoked Potentials or SEP, a test which consists of mild shocks made via electricty and are done on the leg or arm.
Essentially, the doctor is checking the size of a patient' s response as well as the speed in which the brain receives a specific signal. Slow or weak signals may show demyelination and a possibility of MS.