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Avatar universal

MS or not?

I'm a 26 year old male.  In Oct. of 2002 I started getting light headed and it was constant throughout the day.  By the time I was able to see a neuro in Jan and had an MRI the light head  was gone.  There were two lesions found but the Doc. said they were not typical of lesions found with MS.  I became light headed again in May for about a week.  I had a second mri in June and two days later became numb in my right hand.  Two days after the initial numbness my whole right side was numb.  Went to the emergency room and they ruled out stroke or heart attck.  My Doc is out of town and has not seen the results of the second mri, but the er doc advised me that the radiologist report said to consider MS.  What do you think?
12 Responses
Avatar universal
The symptoms which you are describing could be caused by mulitple sclerosis. If when you see your physician again he finds any new findings on exam, or if there are new lesions on the MRI this makes the diagnosis more likely. Another test which can be performed to help confirm the diagnosis would be a lumbar punsture (spinal tap) to evaluate your spinal fluid for inflamation, and abnormal anti-body production. Other disorders which should be excluded include complicated migraine, cervical spine disease, and other inflammatory disorders of the central nervous system (Lyme disease, sarcoidosis, and other autoimmune disorders). I hope this helps, and remember you can always go to a MS center for a second opinion.
Avatar universal
Have you had a full spinal MRI series done in addition to the brain? With and without gadolinium contrast?
Avatar universal
Not a spinal mri.  Both brain mri's were with and w/o contrast.
Avatar universal
I can certainly empathize with your situation!  I've had similar problems for almost a year now.  I've had brain and spinal MRI's, Visual Evoked Potentials Test, Spinal Tap and EEG.  The brain MRI showed spots -nonspecific- and all other tests were normal.  I've seen three neuros - one in my hometown, one at Yale and one in Boston (He is a cofounder of the "The Boston Cure Project for MS".)  Not one of these people has been able to say that I do or do not have something.  They all said to contact them if symptoms worsen (like if I go blind in one eye or both) and to come back in six months for more testing. I guess the experts just don't know sometimes.  Good luck to you!
Avatar universal
Did either of you undergo an MRA or cerebral angiogram?  Sometimes this procedure can differentiate lesions involving high blood flow rates from those that are "occult" or invisibile to angiography because of low flow.

Patients who harbor cavernous malformations (a.k.a. cavernous angiomas) many times have symptoms similar to MS.  How do I know? I was diagnosed with a cavernous malformation in my brainstem back in Fall of 2001.

Anytime someone suffers from MS-like symptoms but MS can't be definitively diagnosed, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), cavernous malformations, and capillary telangiectasia should be ruled out.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your suggestion.  I will definitely look into it.  If you don't mind me asking, which type of doc finally diagnosed you and what exactly was going on with you to warrant the testing?  If you want, you can e-mail me at ***@****.  In the meantime I will try to research the conditions you mentioned as i have never heard of them before.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the comments.  I seen the Neuro last Tues. and was dx with MS.  Well he said 80% sure so I go for a spinal tap in the morning.  He said that should put any doubts to rest.  Good luck to you.
Avatar universal
I am sorry about your diagnosis but maybe it will help you in getting the treatment you need earlier rather than later. I hope your spinal was not too painful.  Also, Austrian doctors recently came up with a test for MS which is said to be 95% accurate.  Perhaps you can request it before you begin treatment.  Good luck to you!
Avatar universal
Osands--very sorry to hear about your diagnosis.  I guess the silver lining is that you should soon know it officially, and that'll at least eliminate the fear of the unknown.  If it does turn out to be MS, I wish you the strength to persevere.  Many folks w/MS can lead near-normal lives for a long, long time.

Samije--my symptoms were persistent hiccups, upbeat nystagmus, double vision, icy-hot facial feeling, loss of balance, fatigue, and body numbness.  My G.P. gave me a muscle relaxant for the hiccups and then sent me to an ophthalmologist for the vision stuff.  The ophthalmologist quickly referred me to a neuro-ophthalmologist who ordered a round of MRI's where the lesion was found in the brainstem.  Then I was referred to a neurosurgeon who ordered a cerebral angiogram.  Negative results on the angiogram coupled with another MRI showed a cavernous malformation signature.  So, my official diagnosis came roughly 2 months after initial symptom presentation.

You can find out more about cavernous malformations at http://www.angiomaalliance.org.  If it's easier to take this to email, feel free to email me at ***@****.
Avatar universal
Just a word of knowledge to you as you await your spinal fluid results:  10-15% of people with certain MS have negative spinal taps.  The  U. S. MS society now recommends treatment with just one leision (and even in some cases, in people with a high liklihood of developing MS--they let the gentic cat out of the bag!)  Blessings
Avatar universal
I am like you.  I've been having some unbalanceness for about 8 months.  When I go to the club, my friends think I am already drunk, before I've even had 1 sip.  I got my MRI in June, then went to have a nerve test mid-July, and got the Spinal Tap Thursday, 7/31.  I've had a headache every since Friday morining...and IT'S KILLING ME!  I had to go to AL for a family reunion, thus didn't get to rest in the bed for a long time after the tap.  I was told to drink caffeine and water BUT I DON'T LIKE CAFFEINATED BEVERAGES!  What can I do to make the pain go away beside lay down?  Even after taking a Midol, I still have the pain and I'm not used to getting headaches.  HELP!  I'm awaiting the results of my tests.
Avatar universal
I am sorry to hear you had to have a spinal tap and are waiting to confirm a diagnosis for MS. When I get migraine headaches I lay flat on the floor with my feet up (on a sofa,chair or high pillow) and a neck pillow (you can substitute a small rolled up towel). This keeps the spine straight and stretched properly. I put an icepack on the part of my head or neck that hurts the most. Cold soda cans or other frozen items can be substituted if you don't have an icepack. It usually works in a short time especially  if I take Advil which also reduces the swelling that causes the pain. A new form of Excedrin has been approved for migraine headaches too. You should check with your doctor first and let him/her know the pain is lasting several days. Caffeine does help the situation so try to follow the advice. There is caffeine in other things like chocolate but I suspect the liquids were probably meant to increase the volume lost during the "tapping" too. Bright light (TV, computer screens, etc.)make headaches worse too. Alternatively a hot water bottle may help you relax the tension in your body if the headache is due to the natural anxiety you must be feeling waiting for your results.
God bless you.
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