MS diagnosis is usually based on the occurrence of known MS symptoms that are indicators thereof, as well as imaging data of the brain. This is not a straight forward process. So far none of all the diagnosis methods are 100% conclusive. MS diagnosis is usually conducted by a neurologist through a variety of tests. They include:
Carried out only by neurologists, this test examines how well the central nervous system of a person works. It includes examining the occurrence of any changes of the visual, auditory, sensory and speech functions. Reflexes at the elbows, knees and ankles as well as the soles of one’s feet are also tested to establish if there is any alternative disorder.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan (MRI scan)
MRI scan is very useful in MS diagnosis as it can show clearly on a screen the amount and the distribution of the lesions or the scars in the brain and the spinal cord. Its importance is also characterised by its ability to indicate changes in the activity of MS. Neurologists may improve the visibility of lesions in the brain by injecting a different agent into the blood stream of a person, be it in the crook of the elbow or somewhere else.
Neurologists also can determine the presence of MS in a patient by testing the speed at which stimuli reach the brain and counter messaging reaches a particular target organ. In MS, the transmission of messages from the body to the brain is slowed down and vice versa due to the destruction of the Myelin sheath which protects and insulates the nerves from one another. As such according to these tests, the slower the transmission of nerve impulse, the higher the possibility of MS availability in a patient. Delays in this test are measured by assessing the test results in comparison to the time it usually takes for nerve impulses transmission in people without MS.
Some known symptoms of MS
- Tingling or a sensation of pins and needles anywhere in the body
- Difficulty in walking
- Dragging either foot
- Loss of coordination
- Feeling as though one is made of cotton, rubber or jelly
- Loss of sensation or distorted sensation anywhere in the body
- Double or blurred vision or temporary blindness in the eye
- Slurred speech
- An urgency to urinate or inability to pass urine
- Loss of balance
- Unnatural fatigue
- A feeling of tight bands around the trunk or lower limbs
- Spasticity of the muscles
- Tremors in the hands