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In this MD Newsline exclusive interview with neurologist Dr. Mitzi Williams, we discuss why multiple sclerosis is an important health issue to diagnose correctly and early.

MD Newsline:

Can you explain why multiple sclerosis (MS) is an important health issue? 

Dr. Mitzi Williams:

“Multiple sclerosis is an important health issue because of the potential disability it can cause if it is not diagnosed and not treated appropriately. It’s an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks myelin, the coating on nerves. It results in a variety of symptoms like numbness, weakness, and difficulty walking. If the condition is not treated, people can potentially develop significant disability, so it’s important that it’s recognized and treated early.”

 

MD Newsline:

Is MS commonly misdiagnosed? What is it mistaken for? 

Dr. Mitzi Williams:

“MS is commonly misdiagnosed and mistaken for other conditions such as pinched nerves, neuropathy, and stroke. The reason why MS is commonly misdiagnosed is because it often presents in young people who are otherwise healthy. So, if the physician is not suspicious for multiple sclerosis, it could be written off as something else.

Also, early MS symptoms often go away on their own. And so, patients may not present for care because the symptoms went away, and they may have thought that it was something that was just passing.”

 

Responses have been condensed and lightly edited.

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