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5 Reasons a Second Opinion is Important for Your Health

By Luanna Banghart

Medicine is an art and a science. That means not everything is known. Medicine and nursing are practices based on our best knowledge and experience.

This is why you need to be your own advocate.

Why are people misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis yearly?

There is no complete and precise tool to diagnose multiple sclerosis. This determination by your doctor regarding multiple sclerosis is made by ruling out other diseases, a history of your symptoms and a brain scan that is not 100 percent accurate.

How many people are misdiagnosed with MS?

MS is not a reportable condition. Certain transmittable diseases must be reported to the health department of your area or Center for Disease Control. MS is not communicable so the numbers are not solid; it is estimated in the hundreds yearly.

Why did my doctor think I have multiple sclerosis?

There are multiple symptoms you may be having fatigue and weakness are primary. Others include limb tingling or burning, difficulty with coordination of speech, tremors, atypical muscle movement, balance issues even bowel and bladder concerns. If you walked into the physician office with these concerns the doctor had to diagnose MS by first ruling out other imitators such as lyme disease, lupus, B12 deficiency, HTLV1, fibromyalgia, ADEM, sjorens, myasthenia gravis, neurosyphilis even anxiety, amongst others. Though some of these diseases have a definitive blood test or scan to reveal it’s true nature, they all share similar symptoms.

Why is a correct diagnosis important?

The best way to treat MS is early and assertively. The medical treatment of an acute attack may include invasive blood and steroid treatments. Medical therapy includes oral or injections of immunosuppressant, nervous system medications, disease modifiers and muscle relaxants may have multiple side effects on your other organs and quality of life. Lifestyle recommendations such as decreasing stress, increasing exercise, maintaining a proper diet and smoking cessation is recommended for almost all persons, regardless of health.

What can be done to prevent misdiagnosis of MS?

No scan or blood test is 100 percent accurate in diagnosing multiple sclerosis. To prevent misdiagnosis, continued research is needed for correct diagnosis and treatment of this disease.

In closing, further research and funding are important to avoid time taken from a proper diagnosis for all those with and without MS.

Luanna Banghart, LPN, RMA, CCT has been in nursing and allied health education since 1994. Banghart has worked in various areas of health care including: Med-Surg, Psychiatric, Long Term Care, Office, Quality Assurance and Agency. Banghart has been a leader in allied health education as an Instructor working up to Program Director of a Medical Assisting program serving of more than 100 students. Banghart has also served as the AHA CPR Coordinator for 2 schools, ensuring every student is properly certified without a single audit finding. Banghart is an instructor and trainer for The American Heart Association in Provider CPR. Ms Banghart is a trusted leader and patient advocate. Banghart's free time is spent with her loving husband and teenage boys, her dog Jack, chickens, garden and various charities including: PARC and Special Olympics. Banghart has been writing for more than 4 years for various nursing magazines including NurseTogether and Advance for Nurses.