Diagnosis of multiple sclerosis

Affecting 80,000 people in France, multiple sclerosis (MS) is the leading cause of neurological disability in the young adult. Currently, there is no diagnostic test to detect the disease in some way. Doctors are therefore based on a set of signs and various reviews to determine whether the patient is achieved or not SEP.

In recent years, the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis largely improved. In 70% of cases, Ms said on average 30 years, and between the age of 20 and 40 years more generally. As there is no organic disease, visible markers in the blood for example, physicians base their diagnosis on a set of clinical, paraclinical and evolutionary arguments.

Diagnosis of multiple sclerosis

The first signs, studied in the clinical examination

Multiple sclerosis may be highly variable manner according to patients. There is no real symptomatic chronology. However, some signs can alert:

-Motor disorders as onset of muscle weakness, causing a hindrance motor, or loss of balance;
-Sensory disorders as numbness, a tingling or lose the sensitivity of certain parts of his body;
-Visual disorders: view decreased gradually and can become a double. Some optical neuritis are indicative of a SEP 20 to 50% of the time;
-Cognitive: such as loss of memory or a decrease in attention.
-Urinary and sexual disorders such as the incontinences, the impotence or dysuries.

It is important to clarify that the beginnings of a SEP are marked by a past symptomatic, followed by spontaneous resorptions. There are therefore often more or less time between the onset of the disease and its diagnosis. Foremost, physicians are careful to exclude other conditions with similar symptoms. The signs to be characteristic of a SEP, should be spaced in time and at different locations. However, the diagnosis is truly established after a series of medical examinations.

Complementary examinations

Several procedures are necessary for diagnosis some. Signs vary from one patient to another, reviews are possible:

-Magnetic resonance (MRI) imaging is the complementary examination of first choice, because it is very sensitive. This diagnostic tool is very detailed images of the brain and the spinal cord. It is the only test that can highlight the damage caused by the disease. However, the smaller are sometimes not visible. In addition, MRI is not diagnostic review (with other diseases may cause similar damage). But it remains to even a crucial indicator of confirmation of diagnosis;
– Lumbar puncture to collect a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a fluid that circulates the brain and in the spinal cord. It is performed if MRI is insufficient. In the CSF, doctors can detect specific antibodies indicating inflammation.

Other further tests may be indicated as the conduction velocity of the Visual or auditory nerve messages (study of evoked potentials). Doctors also seek blood tests to rule out other diseases.

Once the diagnosis is established, the patient and his entourage will be surrounded by a multidisciplinary team, so this announcement is the least stressful as possible. Doctors will then inform the patient about the prognosis, treatment and management of its new lifestyle. It is essential that the patient and his entourage also receive psychological support. In France, there are many associations that can help them.