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Multiple Sclerosis

The MS Treatment Center at Allegheny Health Network provides comprehensive care for approximately 2,000 patients MS each year, making it one of the largest MS programs in the United States. The center’s multidisciplinary team of expert and compassionate physicians, nurses, physical therapists and other healthcare staff work together to reduce disease activity, manage your symptoms and maintain your quality of life.

We ensure that each patient receives the highest quality, comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan from diagnosis throughout the course of your life. Our research endeavors – and collaborations with other specialists – gives you direct access to the latest treatments and clinical trials so that you are always receiving the most effective treatment and care.

Symptoms

Symptoms vary from each person, and they may come and go or become more or less severe from day to day. Symptoms may include:

  • Significant fatigue
  • Numbness or tingling of your face, body, arms or legs
  • Dizziness and loss of balance (vertigo)
  • Pain
  • Walking difficulties
  • Weakness
  • Stiffness and muscle spasms
  • Tendency to drop things
  • Vision problems: Blurred vision, poor contrast or color vision, pain on eye movement, vision loss in one eye and doubled vision
  • Bladder dysfunction, such as inability to control urination or inability to urinate
  • Bowel problems, such as constipation
  • Sexual problems

 

As the disease progresses, in addition to physical symptoms, some MS patients may experience cognitive problems, such as memory loss, difficulty concentrating or speech issues, as well as emotional symptoms, including depression or mood disorders.

Diagnosis

Symptoms of MS may mimic those of other nervous system problems, so MS is diagnosed by ruling out other conditions. When you visit the AHN Neuroscience Institute, a physician will perform a complete evaluation of your nervous system. To determine a diagnosis or to rule out other diseases, your physician may require additional testing, including:

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses powerful magnets and radio waves to produce detailed images of organs and structures within your body. This test can rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms. More than 90 percent of people who have MS have an abnormal MRI.

Lumbar puncture (spinal tap) is a test to evaluate the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding your brain and spinal cord. It is performed by inserting a needle into your lumbar area (small of your back).

Blood tests can rule out other diseases or conditions.

Treatments

While there is no known cure for multiple sclerosis, the AHN Neuroscience Institute provides comprehensive care that lasts a lifetime. Our multidisciplinary team helps thousands of people manage their symptoms, maintain a good quality of life and decrease disease progression by determining the medication strategy specific to you. Our treatments include:

Medications to modify disease activity, slow the progression of MS and reduce the number of attacks in people with relapsing-remitting MS. These medications can be injectable, oral or infused.

Medications to control symptoms, such as pain, muscle spasms, fatigue, dizziness and vertigo, bladder and bowel problems, spasticity, fatigue, depression and sexual problems.

Rehabilitation includes physical therapy to address your body’s ability to move and function; occupational therapy to enhance your independence at home or work; cognitive therapy to treat the way you think, reason and remember; and speech therapy to address any problems with your ability to talk or swallow.