A physician may diagnose multiple sclerosis in some patients soon after the onset of the illness. In others, however, doctors may not be able to readily identify the cause of the symptoms, leading to years of uncertainty and multiple diagnoses punctuated by baffling symptoms that mysteriously wax and wane. The vast majority of patients are mildly affected, but in the worst cases, multiple sclerosis can render a person unable to write, speak, or walk. M ultiple sclerosis is a disease with a natural tendency to remit spontaneously, for which there is no universally effective treatment.
Since there is no single test to identify or rule out multiple sclerosis, diagnosis of the condition can be difficult and take awhile. Physicians rely on medical history and a variety of tests and procedures to arrive at a diagnosis. Abnormal functioning of the nervous system, such as, loss of coordination and balance, delayed reflexes, blurred vision and numbness may suggest multiple sclerosis. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) may be used to look for scars on the nervous tissue in the brain or fluid may drawn from the spinal cord to look for antibodies associated with the disease. Definitive diagnosis is usually based on evidence of nerve damage in two different parts of the CNS and two separate flareups of multiple sclerosis symptomultiple sclerosis over time.