Guidelines have recently changed to improve diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, as experts warn that many thousands of people may have been misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all.
MS misdiagnosis – the extent of the problem
NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, fears that as many as 10% of cases of MS have suffered from misdiagnosis, and said more thorough tests needed to be carried out. There are an estimated 100,000 people suffering from MS in the UK.
The new NICE guidelines state that MS sufferers should undergo a thorough review of their care package at least every twelve months. NICE also recommends that all suspected cases of MS be referred to an experienced neurologist and that each sufferer be given someone as a single point of contact to speak to about all aspects of their care. It was also suggested that the NHS set up teams made up of professionals from different disciplines such as GPs, neurologists, MS nurses, physiotherapists and psychologists.
People with MS will also be encouraged to keep active, and those who struggle with fatigue and mobility issues will be given supervised fitness programmes.
At present, people with MS can go for over a year between reviews of their medication and condition. The new NICE guidelines are aimed at ensuring people with MS get more regular appointments to review their treatment and condition.
MS is a life-long central nervous system condition which affects the spinal cord and the brain. Early symptoms of MS can often appear when the patient is in their twenties, and can include loss of coordination, sight problems, bladder or bowel problems and weakness in arms and legs. The causes of MS are not completely understood and at present there is no cure.
MS is, for some reason, more common in northern latitudes, with there being more cases in the north of Scotland than in Southern England.
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