Do I Have MS? A Guide to the Diagnosis Process
Millions of people are currently suffering from multiple sclerosis. And many thousands are diagnosed with the condition every day.
Sadly, this is a disease that tends to strike at a relatively early age. Most people being diagnosed with MS are only 20 to 40-years-old.
MS is a complex condition with symptoms similar to those caused by other diseases. As a result, the diagnosis process is complex, and people need to wait quite a while for the multi-stage process to deliver a result.
Thankfully, treatments are improving all the time, so the initial shock of a diagnosis is something that can be overcome.
A range of tests is carried out to provide a definitive MS diagnosis. This might be frustrating, but it’s the only way to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms. There are currently no dedicated procedures in place for the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.
The diagnostic process includes:
A Series of Blood Tests
Blood tests for various conditions are required to rule them out. This is a process of elimination, which often leaves MS as the only viable diagnosis. The blood tests also check for the tell-tale biomarkers of MS.
An MRI Scan
An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan can identify the lesions on the spine and brain that can be the result of MS. Just before the scan, the patient is given an injection of a substance that can be differentiated from bodily fluids on the scan.
Evoked Potential Tests
Designed to track the electrical signals emitted by the human central nervous system, this test uses either verbal or electrical stimuli to prompt the desired signals. Clinicians can use the information to decide how fast messages are travelling along nerves.
A Spinal Tap
If blood test results suggest further investigation is necessary, the clinician’s next step is a spinal tap. This invasive procedure involves removing a small amount of fluid from the spine. The fluid is then sent to a lab to check for the antibodies associated with multiple sclerosis.
What Are the Potential Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis?
Sadly, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis. But there are various treatments that can alleviate the symptoms, including:
Plasma is separated from the patient’s blood and removed. A protein solution (albumin) is then added to the plasma and the new fluid is injected back into the patient’s body.
Effective in the reduction of inflammation in nerves, corticosteroids are administered orally or via an IV. However, this treatment isn’t for everyone, as it involves a range of significant side effects such as blood sugar imbalances and insomnia.
Stem Cell Therapy
While stem cell therapy is regarded as an alternative treatment, it is being used to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. The regenerative properties associated with the procedure can provide a much-needed boost to the patient’s ability to heal. Stem cell therapy may also alleviate some of the most common MS symptoms.
If you or a loved one is struggling with debilitating MS symptoms, stem cell therapy could be an effective alternative treatment.
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