Affiliated with the National MS Society
MS is a chronic, unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. We’ll help you cope by giving you access to the latest in MS research and treatment options.
Multiple sclerosis damages myelin, a material that helps conduct messages to and from the brain. When the nerves in your brain lose their ability to transmit signals, a wide variety of complications can occur.
MS can cause extreme fatigue, blurred vision, slurred speech, balance issues, tremors, numbness, blindness, difficulty walking, and a host of other symptoms. Symptoms can vary widely and can come and go without any discernible pattern.
Because MS is so unpredictable, it is often difficult to diagnose. Initial symptoms may be general in nature and come and go in a manner consistent with other disorders. Though no definitive test is available for MS, we use a variety of tools to reach a diagnosis:
- CT and MRI to view lesions caused by MS
- Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy to measure chemical changes in the brain
- Evoked potentials to measure the speed of nerve impulses
- Cerebrospinal fluid analysis to measure abnormal antibody production EMG studies
- Neuropsychology evaluation
- Urology consultation to address bladder issues
- Blood tests to rule out other diagnoses
A reliable diagnosis rests on two basic criteria:
- There must have been 2 or more attacks (typically lasting 24-48 hours each) at least one month apart
- There must be 1-2 lesions on the brain or spinal column. Lesions are damaged areas that can be seen an MRI, CT scan, or other imaging scans
A neurological exam covers various functions, from mental and emotional to coordination and sensation. Electrical diagnostic tests, to examine the flow of messages through the nervous system, may also be performed.
Your MS Treatment Team
The Aurora BayCare MS Clinic provides comprehensive care. Your healthcare team may include:
- Neurology: Neurologists specialize in diagnosing nervous system disorders and help determine what course of treatment is appropriate for you.
- Neuropsychology: Neuropsychologists do special testing to look at brain functions such as memory and attention.
- Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapists work with you to help you perform the activities of your daily life.
- Speech and Language Pathology: These therapists address speech, voice, swallowing and cognition issues.
- Physical Therapy: A physical therapist will meet with you to assess your gait, balance, and risk for falls. For patients that use wheelchairs, your therapist will help you maximize mobility by building your strength, endurance, and flexibility.
The Aurora BayCare MS Clinic is involved in ongoing MS clinical trials to evaluate promising drugs and therapies that help patients better manage their condition. As a patient at Aurora BayCare, you will have access to the latest in MS research and treatment options.