How Is Ms Diagnosed?
- 1 How do doctors diagnose MS?
- 2 How do you get checked for MS?
- 3 What is the first indicator of MS?
- 4 When should you suspect multiple sclerosis?
- 5 Can you have MS and not know it?
- 6 What does MS feel like in legs?
- 7 Is MS reversible if caught early?
- 8 Can you live a normal life with MS?
- 9 What does MS pain feel like?
- 10 Can MS be diagnosed with a CT scan?
How do doctors diagnose MS?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – An MRI scanner uses a strong magnetic field to create a detailed image of inside your brain and spinal cord. It’s very accurate and can pinpoint the exact location and size of any inflammation, damage or scarring (lesions).
MRI scans confirm a diagnosis in over 90 per cent of people with MS. To get the image of your brain and spinal cord you’ll be asked to lie down and enter a small tunnel in the centre of the MRI scanner. The process can take between 10 and 60 minutes and is painless, though some people can feel a little claustrophobic in the scanner.
Read 7 things to know about MRI and MS.
How do you get checked for MS?
Multiple sclerosis FAQs – Neurologist Oliver Tobin, M.B., B.Ch., B.A.O., Ph.D., answers the most frequently asked questions about multiple sclerosis. So people who are overweight have a higher chance of developing MS and people who have MS who are overweight tend to have more active disease and a faster onset of progression.
- The main diet has been shown to be neuroprotective is the Mediterranean diet.
- This diet is high in fish, vegetables, and nuts, and low in red meat.
- So this question comes up a lot because patients who have multiple sclerosis can sometimes get a transient worsening of their symptoms in heat or if they exercise strenuously.
The important thing to note is that heat does not cause an MS attack or MS relapse. And so it’s not dangerous. You’re not doing any permanent damage if this occurs. Exercise is strongly recommended and is protective to the brain and spinal cord. Scientists do not yet know which stem cells are beneficial in MS, what route to give them or what dose to give them or what frequency.
- So at the moment, stem cell treatments are not recommended outside of the context of a clinical trial.
- Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder or NMOSD and MOG-associated disorder can give features similar to multiple sclerosis.
- These are more common in people of Asian or African-American ethnicity.
- And your doctor may recommend blood tests to exclude these disorders.
Well, the first drug approved by the FDA for treatment of multiple sclerosis was in 1993. Since then, over 20 drugs have become available for treatment of MS. And the potency of these drugs has increased over time to the point where we can almost completely suppress the inflammatory component of the disease.
This would not be possible if patients like you did not enroll in research studies. There are many different types of research studies, not just drug trials, but also observational studies, as all of these enhance our understanding of the disease, hopefully to lead to even better cures for multiple sclerosis.
Well, the most important thing about having a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis is that you are at the center of your medical team. A comprehensive MS center is the best place for management of multiple sclerosis, and this typically includes physicians with expertise in multiple sclerosis, neurologists, but also urologists, physiatrists or physical medicine and rehabilitation providers, psychologists, and many other providers who have specialty interest in multiple sclerosis.
Engaging this team around you and your particular needs will improve your outcomes over time. There are no specific tests for MS, Instead, a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis often relies on ruling out other conditions that might produce similar signs and symptoms, known as a differential diagnosis. Your doctor is likely to start with a thorough medical history and examination.
Your doctor may then recommend:
Blood tests, to help rule out other diseases with symptoms like MS, Tests to check for specific biomarkers associated with MS are currently under development and may also aid in diagnosing the disease. Spinal tap (lumbar puncture), in which a small sample of cerebrospinal fluid is removed from your spinal canal for laboratory analysis. This sample can show abnormalities in antibodies that are associated with MS, A spinal tap can also help rule out infections and other conditions with symptoms like MS, A new antibody test (for kappa free light chains) may be faster and less expensive than previous spinal fluid tests for multiple sclerosis. MRI, which can reveal areas of MS (lesions) on your brain, cervical and thoracic spinal cord. You may receive an intravenous injection of a contrast material to highlight lesions that indicate your disease is in an active phase. Evoked potential tests that record the electrical signals produced by your nervous system in response to stimuli may be done. An evoked potential test may use visual stimuli or electrical stimuli. In these tests, you watch a moving visual pattern, as short electrical impulses are applied to nerves in your legs or arms. Electrodes measure how quickly the information travels down your nerve pathways. In most people with relapsing-remitting MS, the diagnosis is straightforward and based on a pattern of symptoms consistent with the disease and confirmed by brain imaging scans, such as an MRI. Diagnosing MS can be more difficult in people with unusual symptoms or progressive disease. In these cases, further testing with spinal fluid analysis, evoked potentials and additional imaging may be needed.
Brain MRI is often used to help diagnose multiple sclerosis.
What is the first indicator of MS?
What are usually the first signs and symptoms of MS? – There’s no typical pattern of MS symptoms that applies to everyone – people can have different symptoms at different times. The early signs and symptoms of MS can be the same for women and men. One of the more obvious first signs of MS is a problem with vision, known as optic neuritis.
This is often because it’s a more concrete symptom as opposed to vaguer neurological symptoms like numbness and tingling, You shouldn’t assume these symptoms are a sign of MS though – not everyone who experiences them will get an MS diagnosis. If you’ve searched for symptoms online or you know someone with MS, it may be at the front of your mind.
But many symptoms of MS can also be symptoms of other conditions.
How can MS be diagnosed early?
How Is MS Diagnosed and Treated? – MS is best detected by a neurological examination and painless imaging studies of the brain and spinal cord using magnetic resonance testing (MRI). An ophthalmologist also can use a test called an optical coherence tomography (OCT) to determine if the optic nerve has been affected by MS.
- In some cases, a lumbar puncture is needed to make the diagnosis of MS.
- Based on your symptoms, history, neurological exam and findings on the MRI, your doctor may make the diagnosis of MS.
- Although there is not currently a cure for MS, more than 25 different medications — ranging from injections to pills to intravenous infusions — are available to treat MS.
Physical, occupational and speech therapy can help manage the disease symptoms. Even if you are newly diagnosed or have few symptoms, therapy along with nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes can help you maintain your health. The most important goal in MS treatment is to stop the disease from attacking your brain and spinal cord as these structures control everything in your body.
Do blood tests show MS?
While there is no definitive blood test for MS, blood tests can rule out other conditions that cause symptoms similar to those of MS, including lupus erythematosus, Sjogren’s syndrome, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, some infections and rare hereditary diseases.
When should you suspect multiple sclerosis?
When to seek a doctor – If a doctor says you have multiple sclerosis, consider seeing a MS specialist, or neurologist, for a second opinion. People should consider the diagnosis of MS if they have one or more of these symptoms:
vision loss in one or both eyes acute paralysis in the legs or along one side of the body acute numbness and tingling in a limb imbalance double vision
Confirming the diagnosis is an important step for a disease that depends on a strong long-term relationship between a patient, family members and a medical team to monitor and manage the disease. To get all of the latest health news and trends delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to Beaumont’s HouseCall newsletter.
Can you have MS and not know it?
Can I have multiple sclerosis for years and not know it? Yes. MS can go undetected for years. Research has suggested that many patients experience MS-related symptoms and signs several years before receiving a definite diagnosis of the disease.
What does MS feel like in legs?
Why do my legs feel weak and heavy? – Feeling weakness in one or both of your legs is called monoparesis or paraparesis and can be a direct result of MS. You can also feel weakness in your arms and other areas of your body, but to feel it in your legs often occurs more frequently.
The weakness can make your legs feel heavy, as if they are being weighed down by something. They may also ache and hurt. Some people with MS describe it as like having bags of sand attached to their legs. This muscle weakness combined with MS fatigue can be upsetting. Weakness in your legs can cause balance and walking difficulties and you may be more likely to fall.
You may find that your legs can tire quickly making you feel a lack of physical strength, while fatigue brings on an intense exhaustion and lack of energy. Due to your legs feeling weak you need that extra energy to keep moving! It’s a vicious cycle as muscle weakness and MS fatigue are closely linked and one can make the other worse.
What age does MS start?
What Is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)? – MS is an immune-mediated disease affecting the brain and spinal cord, also called the central nervous system (CNS). MS can appear at any age but most commonly manifests between the ages of 20 and 40. It affects women two to three times as often as men.
What does MS feel like in the beginning?
7 min read People with multiple sclerosis (MS) tend to have their first symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40. Usually the symptoms get better, but then they come back. Some come and go, while others linger. No two people have exactly the same symptoms.
You may have a single symptom, and then go months or years without any others. A problem can also happen just one time, go away, and never return. For some people, the symptoms get worse within weeks or months. Keep track of what’s happening to you. It’ll help your doctor monitor your disease and help them understand how well your treatment works.
A lack of feeling or a pins-and-needles sensation can be the first sign of nerve damage from MS. It usually happens in your face, arms, or legs, and on one side of your body. It tends to go away on its own. Numbness and tingling can also come from a lack of blood flow or a pinched nerve, so think first if you slept in a funny position or sat without moving for a long time.
- Other conditions can also lead to nerve damage: Carpal tunnel syndrome affects your wrist, while diabetic neuropathy can trigger numbness, tingling, or pain in your feet or hands.
- Sudden numbness on one side of your body may signal a stroke.
- If that happens to you, call 911 ASAP.
- Learn more about causes of numbness and tingling in your limbs,
For many people, the first brush with what’s later diagnosed as MS is what doctors call clinically isolated syndrome (CIS). This episode of neurological symptoms usually lasts 24 hours. It happens when your immune system mistakenly tells your body to attack myelin, the protective sheath over nerve cells in your brain and spine.
Monofocal episode: You have one symptom.Multifocal episode: You have more than one symptom.
The most common symptoms in CIS are: Optic neuritis: This condition damages the nerve that connects your eye to your brain, It usually affects just one eye, but in rare cases, it involves both. You might notice:
Blurry visionColors appear dullPain in your eye, especially when you move it
Numbness and tingling: It usually affects your legs. You might feel:
An electric shock-like feeling when you move your head or neck. It may travel down your spine or into your arms or legs.Numbness, often in your faceTingling
Not everyone who has CIS will get MS. The odds are higher if you have lesions in your brain from loss of myelin. If you have another CIS or other MS symptoms later, your doctor will do a test called an MRI that takes a picture of your brain to look for them.
- Learn more about the differences between CIS and MS,
- See More: A Visual Guide to Multiple Sclerosis These come from ongoing damage to your myelin.
- They aren’t pleasant, but your MS treatment team can help you keep most of them under control with medication, rehabilitation, and other tactics.
- The most common symptoms are: Bladder and bowel problems: You may have to pee more often, need to go at night, or have trouble emptying your bladder fully.
Bowel issues like constipation are also common. Read more on bladder control problems and bowel problems with MS. Clumsiness or lack of coordination : MS can make it hard to get around. You might have:
Trouble walkingA hard time keeping your balanceChanges in your gait
Dizziness: You may feel lightheaded. You probably won’t have vertigo, that feeling that the room is spinning. Know the causes of dizziness and vertigo with MS, If you’re dizzy and nauseous when you’re lying down, or if you stumble to one side, it could be a problem with your inner ear, which controls your balance.
Medications, such as those for depression and seizure disorders, can cause similar problems too. If the dizziness or stumbling are sudden or new, go to the emergency department at your local hospital to be checked out. It could be a stroke. Did a quick wave of lightheadedness hit? That’s often a sign of low blood sugar, dehydration, or a sudden drop in blood pressure you get when you stand up quickly.
You may need to slowly rise instead of hopping to your feet. Emotional changes and depression: It’s tough to adjust to the idea that you have a chronic disease, let alone one that’s hard to predict and that will take a physical toll. Fear of the unknown can make you anxious.
Nystagmus: involuntary eye movementsDiplopia: double vision
Learn more about vision problems linked to MS, Fatigue: You may feel very tired, It often comes on in the afternoon and causes weak muscles, slowed thinking, or sleepiness. It isn’t usually related to the amount of work you do. Some people with MS say they can feel tired even after a good night’s sleep.
Get tips on how to manage fatigue with MS. Heat-related problems: You might notice them as you warm up during exercise. You could feel tired and weak or have trouble controlling certain body parts, like your foot or leg. As you rest and cool down, these symptoms are likely to go away. Know more on how to manage heat sensitivity with MS.
Muscle spasms : They usually affect your leg muscles. They’re an early symptom for almost half the people with MS. They also affect people with progressive MS. You might feel mild stiffness or strong, painful spasms. Read more on how to treat MS-related muscle spasms,
- Sexual troubles : These include vaginal dryness in women and erection problems in men.
- Both men and women may be less responsive to touch, have a lower sex drive, or have trouble reaching orgasm.
- Learn more on how to maintain intimacy when you have MS.
- Speech problems: MS could cause long pauses between your words and slurred or nasal speech.
You might have swallowing problems as the disease advances. Get more information on symptoms of speech and swallowing problems with MS. Thinking problems: It might be hard to focus from time to time. This will probably mean slowed thinking, poor attention, or fuzzy memory.
Some people have severe problems that make it hard to do daily tasks, but that’s rare. MS doesn’t usually change your intellect or ability to read and understand conversation. Find out more on how MS affects the brain and cognition. Tremors: About half of people with MS have them. They can be minor shakes or so intense it’s hard to do everyday activities.
Read more about the types of tremors caused by MS, Trouble walking: MS can cause muscle weakness or spasms, which make it tough to walk. Balance problems, numb feet, and fatigue can also happen. Learn more about mobility aids and assistive devices for MS.
- Unusual sensations : In addition to the pins and needles sensation that’s part of MS, you might also have severe itching, burning, stabbing, or tearing pains.
- You could feel a tightness around your ribs or upper belly known as the MS hug.
- Doctors call these uncomfortable symptoms dysesthesia.
- View a slideshow on unusual symptoms and sensations caused by MS.
These are problems created by your primary MS symptoms, not by damaged myelin.
Not being able to empty your bladder can lead to a bladder infection.If you have trouble walking and are often fatigued, you’re likely to become less active. That can take a toll on your muscle tone, make your breathing shallow, and even affect your bone density.
Doctors can treat secondary symptoms, but the goal is to avoid them by treating the primary symptoms. These are the social, psychological, and job-related problems of life with MS.
If MS makes it hard for you to walk or drive, you may not be able to do your job well.Because it’s tough to get around and hard to talk to people about what life with a chronic disease is like, you may not be as social as you once were.You could get depressed. It’s a byproduct of the changes MS makes in your brain and in your life.
Because MS varies so much, it’s best not to compare yourself with other people who have it. Your experience is likely to be different. Most people learn to manage their symptoms and can keep leading full, active lives. If you have sudden numbness on one side of your body or trouble seeing or speaking, get medical help right away.
What are the first red flags of multiple sclerosis?
Tingling and numbness – MS affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord (the body’s message center). The sensory nerves in the spinal cord can be affected by demyelination, causing diminished sensation when you touch something, which can affect your ability to walk or do things with your hands.
Does MS start suddenly?
Table 2 – Symptoms unlikely to be caused by MS.
|3. Loss of consciousness: seizures of syncope.
|5. Muscle atrophy or fasciculations.
Most symptoms develop abruptly, within hours or days. These attacks or relapses of MS typically reach their peak within a few days at most and then resolve slowly over the next several days or weeks so that a typical relapse will be symptomatic for about eight weeks from onset to recovery.
- Resolution is often complete.
- However, the pattern of presentation, like so many features of MS, is highly variable and symptoms may fluctuate considerably or even progress with little resolution.
- Attacks strike approximately every 12 to 18 months.
- This pattern is common when patients first develop MS and through the early years of their disease, and is referred to as relapsing-remitting MS.
In many patients, over a span of 5 to 15 years, the attacks begin more indolently, persist more chronically and remit less completely, gradually transforming into a pattern of steady deterioration rather than episodic flares. This pattern is referred to as secondary progressive MS.
Can you stop MS if you catch it early?
Why is early treatment important in MS? – We know early treatment improves long-term health and wellbeing by slowing down the build up of irreversible damage and reducing the number of relapses people experience. Starting MS treatment early is best but if you start later it can also have some benefits.
What can mimic MS?
These include fibromyalgia and vitamin B12 deficiency, muscular dystrophy (MD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), migraine, hypo-thyroidism, hypertension, Beçhets, Arnold-Chiari deformity, and mitochondrial disorders, although your neurologist can usually rule them out quite easily.
Is MS reversible if caught early?
There is no cure for MS (multiple sclerosis), but early, aggressive treatment at the earliest signs of the disease can prevent recurrent attacks. While there is no cure for MS ( multiple sclerosis ), there are some studies that suggest early, aggressive treatment should begin at the earliest signs of the disease for many patients.
Can stress and anxiety cause MS?
Stress Most people experience stress, whether they have MS or not. It’s normal to feel anxious or worried from time to time. Experiencing some low-level stress isn’t always bad for you, but long-term or excessive stress can affect your health. It may make your symptoms of MS, such as, and, seem worse.
- Learning to manage your stress is an important part of taking control of your condition.
- There are lots of different factors that can lead to stress.
- Some of them are internal to us, others are external, and some stressors are down to our environment.
- Internal stressors are the sources of stress inside us which are shaped by our beliefs, attitudes, values and expectations.
Internal stressors include fear, worry, negative thoughts, and, External stressors are the sources of stress that we’re aware of around us. This might be day-today issues such as time pressures, money worries or the expectations of others. Or it may be a stressful life event or trauma such as illness, changes in a relationship, job loss or the death of a loved one.
You might experience stress if you feel you can’t meet the demands being made of you. This could be deadlines at work, family difficulties, or having to adapt to new life circumstances, such as your MS diagnosis. The third type of stressors are environmental. These are aspects of your surroundings that might affect you mentally or emotionally.
Some examples are extremes of noise or temperature, pollution and crowded areas. Everybody reacts differently to stress, but there are some common symptoms.
Physical signs – such as increased sweating, muscle tightness, regular headaches, constipation or diarrhoea. Emotional indicators – include irritability, reduced concentration, feeling overwhelmed, problems making decisions, decreased confidence, low mood. Behavioural changes – sleep problems, changes in appetite and sex drive, drinking or smoking too much, not wanting to socialise.
Stress causes changes in your blood pressure, heart rate and metabolism. You may not notice these yourself. In the short-term, these responses can improve your physical and mental performance. This can help you cope with the immediate situation – known as the ‘fight or flight’ response.
But, left unchecked, excessive stress can have negative effects. It can impact on your physical and emotional health, including affecting fatigue levels. Some people with MS believe they developed MS as a direct result of a stressful event or trauma in their life. But the evidence for any link isn’t clear cut.
Some studies do suggest an effect whilst others don’t. For those with an MS diagnosis, research has also looked to see if there is a relationship between stress and MS, Some studies do suggest that a prolonged period of stress can increase your risk of having a relapse.
- But again, not all studies have found this effect.
- Why is it that the results vary so much between studies? One explanation could be that everyone reacts to and deals with stress differently.
- Some people use stress to push themselves to achieve more.
- Others find stress hard to cope with.
- So, it may not be the amount or type of stress you’re dealing with that affects your MS.
Instead, it could be how you deal with stress that is more relevant to the effect it has on your health. Some research has shown that stress management programmes can slow down new areas of MS damage. The effect may only be temporary, but it does suggest a link.
So do seek practical help with managing stress if you need it. Only you know what makes you feel stressed, and you’ll have your own ways of dealing with stressful situations. It’s not possible to remove all the sources of stress in your life. But maybe you could change the way you think about it or try to reduce some causes of stress.
There are techniques you can learn to help you cope better with stress and develop healthier habits of thinking. You could try different strategies to find what works best for you. Be aware they may take time to have an effect.
Recognising the effect stress is having on your health. Identifying what is causing you stress. Taking action to remove or reduce the cause(s) of stress.
Firstly, you need to be kind to yourself. Take charge of your own thoughts, emotions and actions. It can be helpful to keep a positive attitude. Rather than thinking “No-one can help me”, instead consider “What could I do to improve my situation?” It’s also important to keep things in perspective.
Talk to someone. Don’t keep things to yourself. Discussing your worries can help. It could be a family member, friend or colleague. They may not be able to change the situation, but another point of view could put things in a different light. Try to take and make time for things you enjoy. This allows you to take a step back from the source of stress and perhaps change your perspective on the problem. Being active can help in a variety of ways. It improves mood and self-esteem. It can burn off nervous energy. Exercise can be a safe way to let off steam and work off your anger or frustration. This means you’re less likely to take things out on other people which could increase stress. Plan ahead. This can identify potential stressors in advance. To-do lists can help you prioritise activities. Also, breaking tasks down into more manageable chunks can help reduce stress. Self-help techniques can be effective at helping people with long-term conditions manage stress. This includes or techniques. Some people find (CBT) useful to help find new ways to work through problems. Try keeping a gratitude journal. Jot down three things you’re thankful for, or that went well, everyday no matter how small.
There’s no quick fix for stress and no single coping strategy will work for everyone. If you’ve tried some of these techniques and they’re not helping, speak to your GP or MS team. Jiang J, et al. The relationship between stress and disease onset and relapse in multiple sclerosis: a systematic review.
Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders 2022; 67:104142. Khedr MA, et al. Perceived stress in multiple sclerosis patients: relationship with mood states and pain experience. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders 2022;59:103650. Nag N, et al. Undertaking specific stress-reducing activities are associated with reduced fatigue and depression, and increased mastery, in people with multiple sclerosis.
Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders 2022;62:103804. Taylor P, et al. Stress management interventions for multiple sclerosis: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Health Psychology 2020;25(2):266-279. Simpson R, et al. Mindfulness based interventions in multiple sclerosis – a systematic review BMC Neurol.2014; 14: 15.
- Jan 17 Nielsen NM, Bager P.
- Major stressful life events in adulthood and risk of multiple sclerosis.
- Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 2014;85(10):1103-1108.
- Lovera J, Reza T.
- Stress in multiple sclerosis: a review of new developments and future directions.
- Current Neurology And Neuroscience Reports 2013;13(11):398.
Artemiadis AK, et al. Stress management in multiple sclerosis: a randomized controlled trial. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology 2012;27(4):406-416. Djelilovic-Vranic J, et al. Stress as a provoking factor for the first and repeated multiple sclerosis seizures.
Can MS be detected by eye exam?
13 Surprising Health Issues An Eye Exam Can Detect In our previous post, we explored 7 serious health issues your optometrist can detect during your annual comprehensive eye exam. These include:
Diabetes High Blood Pressure Thyroid disease Rheumatoid Arthritis Brain tumors High cholesterol Cancer
But your optometrist’s ability to detect health issues lurking within the human body doesn’t stop there. Here are 13 additional health risks and diseases your optometrist can detect by examining the ocular structures in detail:
Multiple sclerosis (MS). A degenerative disease that attacks the nervous system, multiple sclerosis can be potentially disabling. MS causes the immune system to attack nerve fibers and causes miscommunication between the brain and other parts of the body. When your optometrist detects optic nerve inflammation, that can indicate a diagnosis of MS. Patients with MS often also have double vision, blurred vision, or report pain when moving their eyes. Lyme Disease. Spread by ticks, this bloodborne infection leads to total body inflammation that often causes a wide array of symptoms that are difficult to pinpoint as Lyme Disease. Inflammation of the optic nerve is one telltale sign, along with an increase in “floaters” when the infection begins. A weakening in a blood vessel’s wall can cause it to swell or bubble out, and can lead to a rupture or leak in the artery, vein or capillary. These weakened blood vessels can occur in the eye. Aneurysms can result in severe consequences, including loss of body function, facial function or an extremely painful one-sided headache. If an aneurysm is detected, medical attention is required immediately. Often presenting along with dry eye, this autoimmune disease causes inflammation in many different bodily systems. It can cause swelling of the sclera (the white part of the eye), the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye, or even the tissues of the middle layer of the eye. This is another inflammatory disease that can impact multiple organ systems, including the ocular system. Your optometrist will suspect sarcoidosis if the colored part of your eye – the iris – is painful and inflamed in a condition called iritis. Sarcoidosis also can cause very intense light sensitivity in patients. Sickle cell disease. A genetic blood disorder, sickle cell patients develop stiff, misshapen red blood cells that can block blood flow in all parts of the body – including the eye. This disease can cause a variety of symptoms in the eyes, from burst blood vessels on the eye’s surface to redness to severe bleeding to retinal detachment. Giant cell arteritis. is a persistent inflammation of the medium-sized arteries that supply blood to the upper body, neck and arms. Because these same vessels supply blood to the eyes, the condition can cause blurred, double vision or even sudden vision loss in one or both eyes. Myasthenia gravis. The first symptom of this autoimmune disorder often impacts the eyes. It causes muscle weakness and fatigue, which can result in drooping eyelids, double vision, arm or leg weakness, and in advanced cases, significant problems breathing, swallowing, chewing or talking. Sjögren’s syndrome. Another autoimmune disease, Sjögren’s syndrome specifically attacks the glands that make saliva and tears. Dry eyes are a common symptom of this syndrome, as are stinging or burning eyes, blurred vision and dry mouth. Sometimes the tiny blood vessels that supply the retina become blocked or contain blood clots. A patient might experience sudden blind spots or the feeling that a curtain is being closed over their vision. This is an indicator of an increased risk of stroke. Vitamin A deficiency. If you have dry eyes or night blindness, the cause may be Vitamin A deficiency, a condition that prevents your eyes from making enough moisture to keep eyes well lubricated. The reason this deficiency causes night blindness is that it prevents pigment production needed to keep the retina functioning properly. Sadly, Vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness in children worldwide and is preventable. Good sources of Vitamin A include fish oil, liver, milk, eggs and leafy green vegetables along with orange and yellow vegetables and fruits. Vascular disease. Bleeding and clotting disorders can result in visible bleeding in or around the eye. Optometrists know this as subconjunctival hemmorhage. Vascular disorders can cause vision loss due to retinal bleeding and damage. Sexually transmitted diseases. Did you know sexually transmitted diseases can affect various layers of the eye? These include herpes, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV and genital warts. Sexually transmitted diseases left untreated can cause blindness and affect many areas of the body.
Isn’t it amazing how many serious medical conditions have symptoms that can show up in the eyes? Your optometrist can help to detect many of these high-risk conditions during your annual comprehensive eye exam. The good news is, by detecting such serious conditions at an early stage, they’re more highly treatable, and the patient will have the opportunity to address the condition and get symptoms under control to prevent or delay more severe outcomes.
Can a doctor tell if you have MS?
Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on January 24, 2023 5 min read It can be a challenge for doctors to diagnose multiple sclerosis (MS). There’s no single test that can prove you have it. And many conditions have symptoms that seem like those of MS.
A neurologist – a doctor who specializes in treating the disease – should be able to help. They’ll ask how you’re feeling and help you figure out if your symptoms mean you have MS or another problem. MS can take some time and a number of tests to diagnose. It starts when you or your doctor notices certain signs or symptoms that could be MS.
These might include:
Numbness or tingling in the skin (typically, hands or feet)Unusual weakness in arms, legs, or fingersSlurred speechStumbling or trouble walkingDouble vision or loss of colorFlashing lights that others can’t seeEye pain that gets worse with movement
When you first notice these symptoms, especially if they are serious, your doctor will rule out other possible causes like stroke, tumor, or pressure on the spinal cord. If the symptoms last more than a couple of days, even if they go away on their own, it may be time to see a neurologist who specializes in MS to speed up diagnosis and start treatment.
Rule out any other conditions that could cause your symptomsFind damage to at least two spots on your brainProve the damage happened at different points in time
These tests will help your doctor know if your brain and spinal cord are working as they should. These include: MRI: This imaging test lets the doctor take a closer look at your brain. They can see changes caused by multiple sclerosis, like signs of inflammation in the deep parts of your brain or spinal cord.
- Older people or those with high blood pressure and diabetes also can have the same kinds of spots on a brain MRI.
- So the doctor will consider other info, including your symptoms, along with the scan results or the enhancement of lesions before they make a diagnosis.
- Also, an MRI result that says things are normal doesn’t rule out MS.
You could be one of a small number of people who have lesions in places the scan can’t show. Learn more about using MRI to diagnose MS. Lumbar puncture: This test, which you may also hear called a spinal tap, checks the fluid that runs through your spinal column.
- Doctors use it to look for high levels of proteins and other substances that are signs of the disease.
- It can help diagnose MS, but it, too, isn’t absolute proof.
- Now what to expect with a spinal tap to diagnose MS.
- Blood tests: They can’t diagnose MS, but the doctor will use them to look for substances in your blood that point to it.
Most importantly, they can help your doctor rule out conditions that look like MS, Get more information about other types of demyelinating disorders that look like MS. Eye exam: An eye exam could reveal problems that MS sometimes causes. Your doctor will test how well you can see detail far away, your field of vision, eye muscle strength, and pressure inside the eyeball, among other things.
Optic neuritis: Damage to the optic nerve that often causes pain as well as blind spots surrounded by areas of normal vision Nystagmus: Eyes move rhythmically back and forth or up and down without conscious effort. May be due to nerve damage, especially in the brainstem or cerebellum. Diplopia: Double vision that happens due to damage to the nerve pathways that control the eyes. It can be an early symptom of MS,
Evoked potential test: If you have unusual symptoms, your doctor may do this to check your nerve function. This test uses electrodes to measure electrical activity in areas of your brain triggered by touch, sound, or light. This might happen while you look at a pattern on a screen, listen to clicking sounds, or get electrical pulses on your body.
- The McDonald criteria, named for neurologist Ian McDonald, are measures aimed at helping doctors diagnose MS more accurately and quickly.
- First published in 2001, they’ve been revised several times, according to the latest research.
- To diagnose you with MS under these criteria, doctors need evidence that you have damage in more than one distinct part of your nervous system,
You also need to have had symptoms typical of MS. These symptoms must have lasted at least 24 hours (not necessarily continuously), at a time when you had no fever or infection. The evidence must show that this damage happened over time and corresponds to nerves involved in an MS attack.
Your symptomsHow many attacks you’ve hadResults of imaging tests like MRIFindings of optical coherence tomography, which examines your retinasResults of other tests, like those done on your spinal fluid after a lumbar puncture
Other possible causes of your condition also need to have been ruled out. It may take a long time to figure out that you have MS. If you’ve been waiting years or months, the news might be a relief. Or it could be a huge shock. Either way, you’ll have concerns about what the disease means for your life and your family.
- That’s completely understandable.
- Talk with others – your friends, your doctor, a support group, or a counselor – about your feelings.
- Your health care team can help you decide the best ways to treat your disease and live with it day to day.
- MS affects everyone differently, so what works for one person with the condition may not be what’s best for you.
Your MS specialist will most likely be a neurologist. Neurologists are either Doctors of Medicine (MDs) or Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs) who have completed residencies in neurology. They’ll have a broad understanding of diseases that involve your nervous system (such as MS).
- Other members of your care team may be MDs or DOs who are trained in family medicine, internal medicine, or other specialties such as physical medicine and rehabilitation,
- Nurse practitioners and physician assistants may also be involved in helping implement your treatment plan and helping you to live your healthiest life.
In addition to your general doctor, your MS specialist can give you extra care for your condition. They can:
Personalize your MS care to your specific wants and needs.Notify you when there are new medications or treatments for MS.Alert you if there is a new clinical trial for MS.Care for your emotional health and rehabilitation.Consider your family’s well-being during your treatment.Help you return to a desirable level of function.Help you meet your fitness goals.
Can I still have MS if my MRI is normal?
MRI – MRI is the best imaging technology for detecting the presence of MS plaques or scarring (also called lesions) in different parts of the CNS. It can also differentiate old lesions from those that are new or active. The diagnosis of MS cannot be made solely on the basis of MRI because there are other diseases that cause lesions in the CNS that look like those caused by MS.
- And even people without any disease — particularly the elderly — can have spots on the brain that are similar to those seen in MS.
- Although MRI is a very useful diagnostic tool, a normal MRI of the brain does not rule out the possibility of MS.
- About 5 percent of people who are confirmed to have MS do not initially have brain lesions evidenced by MRI.
However, the longer a person goes without brain or spinal cord lesions on MRI, the more important it becomes to look for other possible diagnoses.
Can you live a normal life with MS?
You may have to adapt your daily life if you’re diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), but with the right care and support many people can lead long, active and healthy lives.
How long does MS take to disable you?
Disease Course of MS Is Unpredictable – About 5 to 10 percent of people diagnosed with MS have what’s known as benign multiple sclerosis, according to John Hopkins Medicine, A person with benign MS will have few symptoms or loss of ability after having MS for about 15 years, while most people with MS would be expected to have some degree of disability after that amount of time, particularly if their MS went untreated.
The problem is, we have no way of identifying these people,” says Barbara Giesser, MD, a neurologist and MS specialist at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute in Santa Monica, California. “We can’t tell at the outset if someone is going to have a very benign course or if their relapsing-remitting MS will move on to progressive MS.” While “ultimately, it’s up to the patient what they want to do,” Dr.
Giesser says, “most MS-ologists and neurologists would recommend starting treatment once you have a diagnosis.”
Is MS always detected by MRI?
MRI plays a vital role in how we diagnose and monitor MS. In fact, over 90% of people have their MS diagnosis confirmed by MRI.
Can you diagnose MS without an MRI?
Diagnosing MS With No Lesions – In the unlikely case of symptoms occurring without lesions appearing on an MRI, a spinal tap (a.k.a. lumbar puncture) can be an effective tool to confirm a diagnosis. According to a report in MS Focus Magazine, about 90% of people who actually have MS will have a specific finding in a lumbar puncture, with certain antibodies appearing in the cerebrospinal fluid and not in the blood.
What does MS pain feel like?
Neuropathic pain happens from ‘short circuiting’ of the nerves that carry signals from the brain to the body because of damage from MS. These pain sensations feel like burning, stabbing, sharp and squeezing sensations.
Can MS be diagnosed with a CT scan?
Frequently Asked Questions –
Can radiation cause multiple sclerosis? Available research suggests that radiation does not lead to the development of MS. However, radiation could possibly trigger a relapse in people with MS. What is an MRI? An MRI is the most sensitive, noninvasive way of diagnosing MS-related damage in the brain, spinal cord, and eyes’ optic nerves. Instead of radiation, MRIs use magnetic fields and radio waves to detect areas of active inflammation or nerve damage. What does MS look like on CT scans? A CT scan is not used to diagnose MS, with the exception of ruling out alternative diagnoses. That said, areas of demyelination (loss of the fatty myelin sheath covering nerve fibers) are sometimes seen on the CT scan of a person with MS. Nevertheless, MRI offers a much more sensitive means of detecting MS-related changes. Do radiologists diagnose MS? Neuroradiologists interpret the findings of a patient’s MRI, which is the most sensitive test for detecting MS-related inflammation. However, neurologists formally diagnose MS. In addition to using data from a person’s MRI, they look at results from other studies (e.g., laboratory tests and spinal tap) when making the diagnosis.