This month, we observe National Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness Month. To help in the effort to raise awareness of this terrible disease, I want to use this blog post to discuss multiple sclerosis treatment and why it’s important to seek help early.
MS is notoriously difficult to diagnose. Because there is no diagnostic test for multiple sclerosis, doctors must rely on a process known as a differential diagnosis—in short, physicians must rule out other diseases before they can diagnose MS.
With all the time that goes into diagnosis, it is critical to start treatment as soon as possible. Here’s why.
The nature of multiple sclerosis demonstrates why it is important to seek a diagnosis and treatment early. MS affects the myelin that coats the nerves, leaving the nerves vulnerable to damage. As the disease progresses, the communication between the brain and the rest of the body begins to break down.
Multiple sclerosis treatment can slow the progression of the disease, which can give a patient a higher quality of life for longer.
If left untreated, MS can cause significant disability. Once those abilities are gone, it’s nearly impossible to get them back, even with treatment. Since most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, that leaves a lot of time to slow the disease and save bodily functions.
Multiple sclerosis treatment for those with advanced symptoms is limited, so it’s critical to get effective treatment early.
Watch for the Symptoms
Now that you know why it’s important to treat multiple sclerosis early, let’s go over the symptoms you need to watch for. MS occurs when white blood cells attack healthy nerve tissue, which can present as the following symptoms:
- Difficulty walking
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Tremor or lack of coordination
- Electric shock sensation with certain movements
- Slurred speech
- Loss of bodily functions
If you experience any of the above symptoms, it’s absolutely critical that you see a doctor for a diagnosis. The sooner you know what is causing your health problems, the better chance you will have to fight it.
Because there is no single test to diagnose multiple sclerosis, you will have to undergo a series of tests to rule out other diseases and conditions. These tests may include:
- Spinal tap – In a spinal tap, your doctor will remove a small amount of spinal fluid from your spine.
- Blood tests – A blood test can help rule out other diseases with symptoms that are similar to MS.
- MRI – Undergoing an MRI can uncover damaged areas in the brain and spinal cord due to MS.
Medical tests are not fun, but the sooner you get tested, the sooner you can begin treatment for whatever is causing your symptoms.
Talk to Us about Your Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Options
Doral Neurological Services offers diagnostic and treatment services for patients with multiple sclerosis. Get in touch with us today if you have any questions.