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MS Symptoms?

Last year in May I ended up in the ER after a huge dizzy spell and loss of balance (I work as a nursing assistant at a local hospital). Before that, I had light dizzy spells, and a coldness and numbness on the right side of my body along with hearing loss in my right ear and mornings where I'd wake up with double vision. I had a couple of MRIs and a spinal tap that showed consistent markers for MS (bands in the spinal fluid and a lesion on my brain). I was put in a steroid IV and a steroid taper for when I went home. The symptoms waned, though I was left with some fatigue and emotional changes (which were helped with an anti-depressant my doctor prescribed me). The neurologist I saw called it a Clinically Isolated Symptom and was hesitant to say I have MS since this was my first attack. However, my general practitioner told me that, with what he saw in my hospital chart, that he was going to treat me as if I have MS.

Fast forward to now. In the recent months, I've been suffering from fatigue and what I refer to as "rolling dizzy spells". The dizzy spells are sudden, acute, and also come with tingling to my right arm and weakness to my left leg as well as loss of balance. They have no real triggers and can happen at any time and appear to be coming more and more frequently. I've been to my doctor and I've had a CT scan and blood work done, but I haven't hear back from them. Could these be symptoms of MS?
8 Responses
987762 tn?1331031553
COMMUNITY LEADER
Hi Kriss and welcome to our little MS community,

I would 'highly' recommend you find your self an MS specialising neurologist, a lot of general neuro's list MS as one of their areas but it's always better to see a neuro who's focus is specifically MS, an MS neuro is more likely to know and recognise everything MS!

Disease modifying drugs/treatments have been recommended for CIS for a number of years already, many general neuro's won't start a patient on DMD until MS is neon sign crystal clear but many MS neuro's will because they understand the earlier patients start DMD's the better the patients outcome....  

From what you have mentioned, you've actually had a previous attack, 1 prior to the one when diagnosed with CIS, technically that would more likely have you already meeting the diagnostic criteria (1) to be clinically diagnosed with MS. If your Clinical exam, brain MRI and LP evidence was already consistent/suggestive of MS, and you've had more than 1 attack (even if the first was not recognised as an MS attack) you should still technically meet the diagnostic criteria for MS.

MS Mcdonald diagnostic criteria....clinical presentation:

1) Two or more relapses; objective clinical evidence of two or more lesions; objective clinical evidence of one lesion together with reasonable historical evidence of a previous relapse ** no further diagnostic evidence is required**

2) Two or more attacks; objective clinical evidence of one lesion

**Additional data needed for MS diagnosis**
Dissemination in space shown by:
One or more MRI detected lesions typical of MS
or
Await a further relapse that demonstrates activity in another part of the central nervous system

3) One attack; objective clinical evidence of two or more lesions

**Additional data needed for MS diagnosis**
Dissemination in time shown by:
MRI evidence showing both an active (current) and non-active (previous) lesion
or
MRI evidence of a new lesion since a previous scan
or
Await a further relapse

4) One attack; objective clinical evidence of one lesion (known as 'clinically isolated syndrome')
**Additional data needed for MS diagnosis**
Dissemination in space shown by:
One or more MRI detected lesions typical of MS
or
Await a further relapse that demonstrates activity in another part of the central nervous system

Dissemination in time shown by:
MRI evidence showing both an active (current) and non-active (previous) lesion
or
MRI evidence of a new lesion since a previous scan
or
Await a further relapse

5) Insidious neurological progression suggestive of multiple sclerosis (typical for primary progressive MS)
**Additional data needed for MS diagnosis**
Continued progression for one year (determined by looking at previous symptoms or by ongoing observation)
plus any two of: One or more MRI detected lesions in the brain typical of MS. Two or more MRI detected lesions in the spinal cord. Positive tests on cerebrospinal fluid drawn off by lumbar puncture [see MS trust 'McDonald criteria']    

Keep in mind that it's actually possible you aren't experiencing an actual relapse, unfortunately MS is rather complicated and causes pseudo relapses, or in other words the temporary return of prior symptoms when ever warm/hot internal or external temperatures rise, fatigue and with physical activity......what you've described could actually fit in with what commonly happen's to people with MS, part of the solution is understanding how much you can do before you reach this point, working out your balance can take a bit of time to work out but you will!

Please seriously consider getting a second opinion by an MS specialising neurologist....

Cheers..........JJ      
5265383 tn?1483811956
Did they mention why they chose to do a CT scan?  That won't likely be helpful with respect to investigating an ms cause, which is unfortunate.  

How long do the dizzy spells last?  How often do they happen?  My second relapse was "stroke like" episodes, not dizziness -- they also rolled like this but since the symptoms each time didn't last 24 hours I was initially told not related to ms, but perhaps  migraine.

I did eventually get diagnosed with ms and the migraine theory was debunked.  So I will answer your question with "maybe" -- but of course there could also be other causes.

Hopefully if the CT scan doesn't clarify things, they will get you in the  mri tube again.  It's hard not knowing what is going on -- sorry you are going through this.
9745005 tn?1410047966
I don't have a diagnosis yet, still in limbo.  But I too get the dizzy spells randomly, without out warning. They can happen when I'm sitting playing a board game with my daughter or when walking.   They come in "waves" on top of my confirmed vestibular deficit-damage that has caused permanent balance issues.  I agree with aspentoo, that you are sent back in for another MRI if the CT scan comes back clear.  I hope you can get answers!  

Karen
Avatar universal
Thanks for the kind words and the input
Avatar universal
Thanks for the kind words and the input. I plan on asking my doctor the next time I go in about this and see if I can get a MRI done...it's really beginning to effect my work...
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for the information! I was seeing a neurologist during the attack that got me hospitalized, but he discharged me because he couldn't see any reason to keep seeing me. My general practitioner believes I have MS and said he is going to treat me as such, but wants to try alternative methods for controlling the symptoms before trying the prescribed treatment, since both of us know that the treatment can be worse than the symptoms.

Here is what the neurologist I saw in the hospital said about my MRI and my symptoms:

She does have decreased sensation over the right-sided face/ arm/torso/leg.   No asymmetry of skin temperature over upper lower extremities on both sides.
MRI head w/wo contrast revealed mainly 2 lesions:   one non-enhancing lesion over the white matter of left frontal area, and the other over left side pons, with subtly enhancing margin, suggestive of possiblly active demyelination.  MRI cervical spine w/wo contrast was negative.
She had a lower respiratory system infection in mid April, which could potentially a contributing event to the current CNS demyelinating process.
CSF finding is consistent with demyelinating process.

*She stated that there is a strong family h/o autoimmune disease on her mother side, including Lupus, Scleroderma, rheumatic arthritis.

Her clincial and radiographic presentaions cannot be labelled as Multiple Sclerosis at this point, which requires more than one attack of demyelination clinically and radiographically.

She now fits into the diagnosis of “Clinically Isolated Syndrome” (CIS). It is used to describe a first episode of neurologic symptoms caused by inflammation and demyelination in one or more locations in CNS.
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