Do You Have MS?

If you can, imagine what a policeman would do if given this profile of a robber from a witness: “More than likely the suspect was female between 20-40 years of age with northern European ancestors. Chances is good that the suspect lived in the more temperate regions than the tropical ones for the first 15 years of their life”?

Do you sound like a suspect? If so, unfortunately, you could be a MS suspect. Although the chances are higher for this class of global citizens, anyone can be a candidate for MS. A rule to remember with MS is- there are no rules!
Symptoms vary and the disease process isn’t restricted to a time schedule. In fact, the symptoms can worsen, change or remit for a length of time. It is even possible for the remittent form to change into the progressive form.

There is 400,000 Americans that have MS. Symptoms can be mild or severe, and constant or remittent and include any of the following: muscle stiffness or spasms, vision problems, weakness or unusual tiredness, numbness or tingling, dragging of feet, staggering or loss of balance, trembling or twitching, poor coordination, loss of bladder or bowel control, or sexual problems, problems with memory, concentration, or rapid problem-solving skills, speech problems, partial or complete paralysis of any part of the body.

Obviously, it is very easy for a physician to misdiagnose MS as another condition, or just as commonly, a wait and see approach to the diagnosis. The question is, would it be better to let everything roll on, or better to have hold of the steering wheel?

The answer to this question is a personal one. There is no ‘one’ right answer. But if your answer was to take control, then you might want to mention the disease to the doctor. It is your duty as a patient to follow orders, and to discuss health concerns.
Don’t depend on the doctor to know everything. Over-looking the possibility of MS is not a sign of malpractice. If you are concerned about the possibility of having MS, or if a family member suffers from MS, ask him to screen for it. Especially if your doctor thinks your symptoms are psychological, ask to be tested.

Screening doesn’t need to be invasive or painful. An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) can be used to screen for the possibility of MS. If ‘white patches’ are discovered, lumbar puncture and evoked potentials tests could be ordered for a more definite diagnosis. The other procedures are more invasive, so the MRI scan should be the first step.

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