Multiple Sclerosis Community
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539156 tn?1281821956

Anyone ever diagnosed at my old age?

Is it possible that I could have had MS for 20 years and not have symptoms enough to notice?  Everything I have read says a person is usually much younger than I am.  My feet gradually started numbing about 10 years ago, but my hands just started about a year ago.  Even those times are estimates because it started so gradually, I'm not sure. Maybe it simply doesn't matter, but I find it interesting that there is so much diversity within people affected with MS.
I have learned so much in such a short time, thanks you all of you.  Hugs, Mary Kay
7 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi, Mary Kay. I assume you're not diagnosed, so please correct me if I'm wrong.

It is indeed possible to have MS symptoms over many years without their being significant enough for you to pursue some explanation. And then at some definite point they ARE significant enough. Or, as often happens, you get a set of symptoms that are bothersome, you do seek medical advice, maybe have some tests, and they tell you basically there's nothing wrong. Meanwhile your symptoms go away so you conclude the previous round was some sort of fluke and forget about it. But there's a next time, and so on.

I know all this first hand, because I'm one of those who had several relapses and remissions before diagnosis. And I'm 64. So it sure does happen. I'm almost the oldest here, but not quite, I think. I've been told that diagnoses have been made in the 70s and even 80s (that last from a Copaxone nurse). Natch these are very rare, as is even the 60s.

When you are older and present with symptoms, the neuro merry-go-round gets much harder. If your brain MRI is abnormal, they most likely will attribute that to ischemic disease (in the tiny blood vessels of the brain). That occurs enough to be normal and not indicative of anything bad as we age. However, there's a difference between that and MS lesions, especially when considered in the light of reported symptoms and test results. Many neuros will fail to work on that aspect, so things get more and more difficult from that standpoint.

Also, if you have symptoms in your hands and feet, especially burning or tingling, you are likely to be diagnosed with (and really have) peripheral neuropathy, which can sometimes be the result of diabetes. So they will order an EMG, among other tests, to see if the problem is coming from your peripheral nervous system, as opposed to the central. And of course they will do bloodwork for diabetes, since diabetic neuropathy is very common.

You may already have had a lot of tests, so forgive me for not having read back to find out. It's is still quite possible that your symptoms come from MS, but it takes a long road to find out. If you turn out to have something else, be glad. I just hope you get some explanation soon.

Avatar universal
Just a PS---

Among the many things you should be tested for are B12 deficiency and thyroid problems, both of which can cause symptoms like you describe. Good luck.

539156 tn?1281821956
Thank you for your reply.  Well, you have confirmed that so far my neuro is doing the right things!  I have had recent bloodwork to confirm my thyroid is OK, having more work done for B12 and folate plus a GTT (2hr) on Monday.  On July 2nd I will have the EMG.  
It's a start...MK
333021 tn?1207763233

Ess gave you great  info.

I just tuned 58 and my guys are sure I have had mild MS since 92 . Its not official yet , paper work is in  'the mail'.  But if its true I started in 92 with pressure in  L. foot  and a 4 day bout of vertigo, crawling on the floor type.  Docs thought I had water in my ear . It went away . but the foot banding  would return every once in awhile .

Things started ramping up in 06.  Last week my MS specialist said " you're at the right age ".  With mild MS it usually takes about 10-15 yrs. for it to really show itself ..  Anyone please correct me if I'm wrong.

I may have some info about the circles you were asking about . Did you find any answers yet?

Take care ,          

539156 tn?1281821956
Hard to explain...just circles that flash for a second...kind of look like gears!  Wierd. Anyway, you have reminded me of something that might be important!  About a year and a half ago, I had an attack of extreme vertigo. I was sitting in my chair, teaching one of my little darlings.  I asked him to go get the principal who ran in with a blood pressure cuff.  My blood pressure was off the charts, but I think it was because it scared me so much.  The school secretary took me to the emergency room where they confirmed that I had not had a heart attack or something.  The Dr. there could only guess it was a virus in my ears and gave me meclizine (sp?) and valium to take for a week.  I guess it either helped or the "virus" went away by itself.  Never gave it another thought...
Love y'all...MK
Avatar universal
I am undx, but started putting things together in June of last year after accidentally catching a TV program about MS.

I've had symtoms for about 10 or 12 years, I'm 53, did the trips to drs to be told nothing was wrong with me.  Would do a little research for myself, but never came up with anything that matched my symptoms.

Unexplainable fatigue, arms and legs not wanting to work at times, sensitivity to heat and cold, severe muscle spasms, etc.  Didn't all happen at once and would get better and go away.

Summer of 2003, when I would get over warm I would have problems with my right eye.  Blurred vision and at times like looking through a brightly lit waterfall or prism.

Still I just chalked it all up to getting older like all my drs told me.  Then started having trouble with unrelenting itching of my hands, inside my ears, and my feet.  Nothing helped, not even cortizone cream.  Went back to researching....fibro....CFS......etc.  Still didn't find anything that matched my symptoms.

Caught that show I mentioned earlier only by mistake.  I don't watch day time TV, but I always have the TV on for background noise while I'm cooking dinner.  Heard one of the guest mention that the symptom that bothered them most was the unrelenting itching!!!!!!!!!

You could have pushed me over with a feather, I was shocked, to say the least.  Stopped what I was doing and sat down and watched the rest of the program.  It was like someone had slapped me, I never once entertained the notion that my problems could be in anyway related to MS.

Well, as usual, I started with the research on MS.  I couldn't believe what I was reading, it was like I had written the list of symptoms myself.  

I was blessed to find this forum during my quest for info and it has been a life saver for me.  Quix and many others here have helped get me through some of my bad times, without them I don't know where I would be.

I did the timeline suggested by Quix and that's when I started to realize just how long I had been having symptoms.  It was another big shock, but also a tremendous help for me to understand what had been happening to me over the years.  

I haven't started on the dx trail as I do not have the financial means nor health insurance.  My husband and I were homebuilders until January of this year when we lost our business to the real estate sales decline.

I will get there eventually and in the mean time I just make it one day at a time.  My most severe problems now are brain fog, spasms and spasticity, itching, eye problems now in both eyes, arms, hands and legs getting worse to the point of not being able to walk somedays,  speech difficulty, depression and anxiety, severe fatigue and hightened sensitivity to heat and cold.

I didn't mean to run on like this, but I guess my point is, if I hadn't accidentally found that program about MS I wouldn't have ever consider that as a cause for all my problems so I could have gone many more years without even a clue.

I can't be sure that my problems are MS, but as time goes by and my symtoms worsen I am even more convinced that it is true.  Even though I am not currently seeking a dx I am doing everything I can to lessen the severity of my symptoms by taken supplements suggested by MS sufferers, on this forum and other sites.  I am hoping this will help until I can go the standard medical route.

My heart is with you and I hope that maybe what is causing your problems is not MS.  You have come to the most wonderful place for love and support that you could ever find.  The information here is also the best.  Quix is an earthly angel and a very smart cookie to boot!!

With prayers and hugs
539156 tn?1281821956
Thanks for your story.  Yet again, I have learned something new!  Itching...Wow.  When my symptoms flared up a month or so ago, I thought my back would drive me crazy. I was like a bear, scratching on any surface I could find.  Using rulers, sissors, anything...my students were laughing at (with) me. So sorry to hear you don't have insurance.  I guess way too many people don't.  I am fortunate in that way.  Maybe a new president will actually figure out how to get medical coverage for everyone. I am beginning to think that if I am dx with MS, I will try the natural route.  Sounds like the meds aren't that great.  Hang in there, Doni...Blessings, Mary Kay
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