Diagnosis and Treatment
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neuroinflammatory disease. At Mount Sinai, our providers are highly experienced in diagnosing and treating MS.
To diagnose MS, we start with a medical history. We ask about your symptoms, other medical conditions, and any medications you are taking. We also want to know your family history of MS and other conditions. We may ask about any environmental exposures, and other issues that might provide clues.
Next, we perform a thorough neurological exam. We test your vision, strength, sensation, reflexes, coordination, and balance.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain and spinal cord are very important in making an accurate diagnosis. If you already had these scans done, we will review them. And if not, we will likely order them. MS is associated with specific patterns on MRI. This is why we need to see the actual images, not just the radiology reports.
Often, these three items—medical history, exam, and MRI—are enough to know if you have MS. Sometimes we recommend a spinal tap or blood tests to get more information or to see if you have some other condition.
Diagnosing Pediatric MS
We use the same approaches to diagnosing children with MS. It can be more difficult to tell in children because several childhood illnesses produce symptoms similar to MS. Pediatricians may not be familiar with the disease, as it is rare. It is often best to take your child to a specialist for a proper diagnosis.
Treatments We Offer
We cannot cure MS yet. But we can help you in many ways. Disease-modifying therapies help prevent relapses and slow disease progression. We can also help manage your symptoms to help you maintain or improve your quality of life.
Preventing relapses: Disease-modifying medications reduce the frequency and severity of relapses. This makes it less likely that you will develop disability. There are many medications to choose from. We will talk with you about potential benefits and risks of the treatment options to help you select the best course of action.
Treating relapses: When relapses occur, we can treat them with high dose corticosteroids. Another effective approach is plasma exchange, which involves removing harmful antibodies from the body. In addition, there are other treatments available for severe relapses that do not respond to steroids.
Slowing progression: New disease-modifying medications may reduce the pace of progression in those with progressive MS. This is also a very active area of research
Managing symptoms and improving quality of life: We can recommend both lifestyle changes and medications to help manage symptoms. These approaches can reduce fatigue, improve walking, and help with depression, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, and pain. We can also assist with bowel or bladder control problems. Our new wellness program aims to help you feel your best and live the healthiest life you can.