Multiple sclerosis is a disorder of the central nervous system. In this disease, one’s own immune system attacks the myelin sheath of the nerve fibers and cause its erosion. It affects the flow of information of impulses between brain, spinal cord and nerve fibers of the body. Its symptoms begin from the eyes, where it causes blurred vision, double vision, and others. Its late symptoms include numbness, tingling, burning sensation and even weakness of the affected part. It can mild or severe. It can also be painful. It cannot be cured, but its symptoms can be managed. In this article, the diagnostic tests that can confirm its presence are discussed.
How Do You Confirm MS Diagnosis?
Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic neurological disease characterized by damage to the protective layer of the nerve fibers (myelin sheath). It affects nerves of the brain, spinal cord or any nerve of the body. It can be mild to disabling in its manifestation. It is an autoimmune disease that attacks its own myelin sheath of the nerve tissue. It is assumed that viral infection may trigger such attacks. It leads to the improper flow of information from the brain to other parts of the body. It develops in the people of the age of 20 to 40 years.
Initially, multiple sclerosis affects eyes and causes double vision, color distortion, or blindness in the eyes. Then, it affects muscles of various parts as the signals or impulses traveling from the brain and spinal cord to muscles get distorted. It causes symptoms like tingling, burning, muscle spasms and numbness in the affected part.
Multiple sclerosis can be diagnosed by detailed study of the symptoms, medical and personal history. The tests that can confirm the diagnosis of MS are-
Neurological Examination– the neurologists will examine the abnormalities, vision changes, movements of eyes, hand or leg and their strength, balance, coordination, reflexes, and speech deviations.
MRI Scan– MRI scan shows detailed images of the affected nerve fibers of the body by using a magnetic field and radio waves. It is used to find out the damage or scarring of the myelin sheath of the nerve fibers. It can detect the location of damaged nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. This test can confirm the diagnosis of MS.
Lumbar Puncture– it is a procedure in which fluid sample from the spinal cord is extracted with a needle and are tested for antibodies and immune cells. It is done because certain changes in the fluid around the spinal cord happen due to nervous disorders. Although lumber punctures are safe, it can cause headaches that may take a few days to end.
Blood Tests– complete blood test is done to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms that occur in other diseases with similar manifestations such as vitamin deficiencies.
Evoked Potentials– it is attest used to assess the functioning of the eyes. It is a painless test in which light patterns are focused on the eyes and electrodes are used to study the signals between the brain and eyes. This test shows that information from the eyes reaches brain late than normal in MS.
Multiple Sclerosis Causes
There is no definite cause for multiple sclerosis. Autoimmunity is considered the cause of the disease. The exact cause of the disease is not discovered yet. Some theories state that vitamin D deficiency can cause this disease. Viral infections such as Epstein Barr infection can trigger this disease. Too much consumption of salt is also linked with this disease. But there is no proof of such theories. This disease is not contagious and will not spread from one person to another.
Multiple sclerosis is marked by the progressive erosion of the myelin sheath of the nerve fibers. It can be confirmed by MRI scan, lumbar puncture, and blood tests. Evoked potentials and neurological examinations are done to find out the affections of the eyes more accurately.
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