SPINMS.CA | Introduction to MS
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Introduction to MS

Introduction to MS

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, neurological-progressive disease that attacks the myelin in the central nervous system (CNS). Myelin is the protective sheath that covers the nerves (axon) in the brain and spinal cord (CNS).

Symptoms of MS

Symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person and from time to time in the same person. Even relapse symptoms and severity can be different with each relapse. MS symptoms may include:

1 —

Vision problems

2 —

Fatigue

3 —

Tingling/numbness

4 —

Muscle weakness

5 —

Discomfort/pain

6 —

Loss of balance

7 —

Spasticity

8 —

Memory or cognitive problems (ajout de contenu a faire. Dropbox folder cognition-depression)

9 —

Sexual dysfunction

10 —

Bladder and bowel problems

Assessments

To determine whether your symptoms are related to MS, your neurologist will perform the following assessments:

1 —

A Complete Medical History

your neurologist will ask about current and previous symptoms, previous illnesses, medication use, and family history of neurological diseases.

2 —

Nervous System Examination

your neurologist will assess your eye movements, vision, facial movements, coordination, strength, balance, sensation, speech and reflexes.

Diagnosing MS doesn’t happen right away—disease activity must be measured over a course of time. Assessments your neurologist may use to confirm MS include:

1 —

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

the most common assessment involves medical imaging of the brain to observe areas of damage, called lesions. If the contrast agent gadolinium is used, the MRI can reveal active inflammation.

2 —

Evoked Potentials

an assessment that measures the speed of nerve impulses in the CNS. It can be visual, auditory or sensory.

3 —

Lumbar Puncture

an assessment in which a small needle is inserted at the base of the spine to collect fluid and measure CNS inflammation.

MS in Canada*

Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world. People who live far away from the equator are at higher risk for developing MS.

Quick facts:

1 —

According to Statistics Canada, over 90 000 Canadians have MS.

2 —

MS is two to three times more likely to affect women than men.

3 —

MS is commonly diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40. The cause is still unknown; it could possibly be a complex interplay of environmental and genetic risk factors. If one parent has MS, the risk of their children having it is low, varying between 3-5 %.
*Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. (June 2011) MS Society of Canada-About MS. Retrieved June 2011, from MS Society of Canada: http://mssociety.ca/en/information/default.htm.

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FIRST CONTACT

To help ensure your visit with your neurologist runs as smoothly as possible
visit the first contact section.