Multiple sclerosis typically affects young adults. Symptoms usually begin between the ages of 20 and 50. It is the most common cause of neurological impairment in the young and affects more than 1 million patients worldwide. Multiple sclerosis is not hereditary but having a first degree relative with the disease increases the lifetime risk.
Diagnosing multiple sclerosis can be challenging as patients develop similar warning signs to other diseases of the brain. There is no single test to diagnose the disease.
If your doctor suspects multiple sclerosis they will order an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan of your brain and/or spinal cord to check for areas of scarring and inflammation. This will be done in conjunction with a clinical exam to review coordination, motor skills, vision, balance, sensory, language and emotional function.
Other tests your doctor may order can include a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) and electrophysiological tests to assess the passage of nerve impulses through the central nervous system.
There is no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, modern neurological treatment has a good chance in controlling the disease and keeping its symptoms at bay. These treatment options are generally divided into injections and tablets.