Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms & Diagnosis
Symptoms generally appear between the ages of 20 and 40. Initial symptoms may be very mild, and can include tingling, loss of balance, weakness and blurred or double vision. As the disease progresses, patients can suffer from extreme fatigue, tremors, heat sensitivity, and muscle spasms in the arms and legs that can impair normal body movement. Many patients also experience dizziness or vertigo, difficulty swallowing, decreased concentration or decreased memory, vision problems and abnormal sensations such as "pins and needles," numbness, itching, burning, or a stabbing pains.
The initial symptoms of MS can be caused by other neurological conditions, so Morton Plant Mease's ability to provide extensive testing is important to ensure accurate diagnosis and treatment. After providing a medical history of their symptoms, patients will undergo examination by a neurologist to look at the function of the patient’s nervous system including gait, muscle strength, coordination and balance, sensation, vision, speech, as well as memory and thinking. An MRI imaging exam that shows the brain, neck, spinal cord and soft tissues may indicate areas where the myelin has been damaged. Laboratory analysis of a small amount of spinal fluid may also be used in diagnosis.
For more information about the Neuroscience Institute's treatment options for multiple sclerosis, please call (727) 461-8635.