Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the protective layers surrounding the nerve tracts in the brain and can cause difficulty walking as well as pain performing everyday movements. Every case of MS and MS symptoms are different. Some people have symptoms that resolve in a few weeks or months and for others the condition has a much more permanent presence in their life.
Multiple Sclerosis is a common disease, yet difficult to track. Because global health institutions do not mandate that doctors report new cases and because symptoms can be invisible for many years, there is no definitive number of those diagnosed with MS every year. Some experts estimate that there are about 2.3 million people with MS around the world with 200 new cases diagnosed every week. That is almost as many people as the entire city of Houston.
With such high numbers of people diagnosed, what causes multiple sclerosis? No one is sure, but most point to a genetic factor or some type of environmental contributor – the cause of MS is still debated. MS symptoms include sensational disruptions, problems controlling movement, lethargy and visual complications. As stated previously though, these symptoms can be minimal and inconsistent, making it harder for patients to recognize their symptoms and for doctors to diagnose.
One of the best methods for doctors needing to diagnose MS is using MRI. MRIs use a combination of magnetic fields and radio waves in order to create images of the internal organs. MRIs are particularly adept at imaging the tissues and nervous structures of the body as well as identifying musculoskeletal disorders. MRIs can detect the subtle changes in the brain and spinal cord that are indicative of MS. MRIs are extremely safe, noninvasive and require no radiation, making them the preferred method for MS diagnosis. New techniques in MRI like DTI (Diffusion Tensor Imaging) are being developed and are now available at a few facilities like Doctors Imaging. DTI will let physicians learn much more about the white matter tracts in the brain.
If you have other questions about the MRI capabilities available at Doctors Imaging in Metairie, feel free to contact our offices at 504-883-3555 or fill out the Request an MRI Appointment in the MRI section of our website.