Diagnosing multiple sclerosis can be difficult because early symptoms may be slight or may come and go or because the symptoms mimic those of other nervous system disorders. Some patients are not diagnosed for many years after the onset of their illness. To diagnose multiple sclerosis, an evaluating physician takes the patient's complete health history, including that of the immediate family, and performs a complete physical examination. Other diagnostic tests such as magnetic resonance imaging with and without contrast, evoked potential testing, a spinal tap, or blood work also may be needed.
There is no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, symptoms can be controlled through medication, therapy, and diet.
Medications. Steroids help reduce inflammation in patients with multiple sclerosis and thus ease the symptoms associated with the attack. There are six disease modifying therapies approved in MS, the ones most utilized in our center include: Copaxone®, Avonex®, Betaseron®, Rebif® and Tysabri®.
Rehabilitation. A multidisciplinary rehabilitation assessment is available to all of our MS patients on the third Wednesday of every month in coordination with our outpatient physical therapists and occupational therapists at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. This comprehensive rehabilitation program is designed to provide assistance with walking, movement, balance and self care.
Medical Social Worker. Available to our MS patients for guidance.
Counseling. Individual and group counseling can help patients with multiple sclerosis and their families and friends cope with the disease.
Maintaining good health habits. It is very important for multiple sclerosis patients to maintain good health habits: to eat well-balanced meals, to maintain a healthy body weight, to exercise, and get enough sleep. Doing so can help patients avoid infections and viruses that can lead to worsening symptoms.
For more information, please call 1-800-BARROW1 (227-7691) or 602-406-6281.