How is Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosed? Find the Answer in This Article
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an acute autoimmune disease that impacts the central nervous system. This disease occurs when the immune system attacks the myelin sheath that surrounds and protects the nerve fibers. This attack causes communication difficulties between the brain and the nerves, eventually leading to nerve damage.
The cause of MS is still unknown, but experts believe that genetic and environmental factors play a critical role. As for the cure, there is no cure for MS with western medicine, However, there are is a wide range of natural supplements that Hekma Center provides. In this article, we will answer the question, how is Multiple sclerosis diagnosed?
How is MS diagnosed?
It might be difficult to diagnose Multiple sclerosis. Wherein there no one test to take in order to diagnose the disease. Therefore, the diagnosis usually requires several tests in order to exclude other medical conditions with similar symptoms. The tests include the following:
A blood test.
Blood tests are the first required tests in case one is suspected of having Multiple sclerosis. Nevertheless, these tests cannot confirm having MS, but they exclude other similar conditions, such as Lyme disease, Syphilis, genetic disorders, and AIDS. Blood tests can diagnose all these medical conditions. Moreover, these blood tests can discover other conditions like cancer and vitamin B12 deficiency.
An MRI scan.
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan) is the second required test for diagnosing MS. This scan uses magnetic fields and radiofrequency waves to examine the water molecules in body tissues, consequently distinguishing the normal and the abnormal tissues. MRI scans reveal detailed and accurate images of the brain and the spinal cord.
The purpose of this test is to discover any other differences that may exclude MS and indicate another diagnosis, such as a brain tumor. Furthermore, an MRI scan can offer concrete proof of myelin sheath damage.
As for the procedure, the patient would be lying down in the MRI scanner (that is open at both ends) throughout the procedure, which takes between 45-60 minutes.
A Spinal tap (Lumbar puncture).
A lumbar puncture is sometimes performed to diagnose Multiple sclerosis by withdrawing a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for the laboratory analysis. During the procedure, the doctor inserts a needle in the lower back between two lumbar vertebrae and into the spinal canal. This hollow needle collects a sample of CSF for the analysis. The lumbar puncture procedure usually takes around 30 minutes, and the patient will be given local anesthesia.
The patient is usually need to lie on their side and bend their back forward. After cleaning the area and applying local anesthesia, the doctor would insert a hollow needle in the spinal cord to withdraw around one to two tablespoons of CSF.
Doctors ask for this test when diagnosing Multiple sclerosis in order to exclude other conditions with similar symptoms. The amount of white blood cells in the CSF for people with MS can be seven times more than average. Nevertheless, these abnormal immune responses can occur due to other conditions.
Studies indicate that 5%-10% of people with MS do not have any changes in the cerebrospinal fluid.
An Evoked potential (EP) test.
This test measures the brain’s electrical activity that occurs as a response to stimuli, such as sound, touch, or sight. Each stimulant generates electric impulses that the electrodes placed on the scalp to observe the activities in certain areas in the brain can measure.
There are three types of EP tests, and Visual evoked potential (VEP/VER) is used the most in diagnosing Multiple sclerosis. When the doctors ask for an EP test, they will look for a weakness in the electric impulses transmitted along the optic nerves. Usually, this occurs in a relatively early stage for most MS patients. Nevertheless, before confirming Multiple sclerosis, eye and retinal disorders must be ruled out.
As for the procedure, the patient would sit in front of a screen showing a checkboard pattern, and might need to cover one eye at a time.