Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complicated disease that can be challenging to manage. At the Orlando Health Multiple Sclerosis Comprehensive Care Center, our team of specialists will be at your side to help you live a full, active life.
We provide patients and caregivers with access to leading-edge medications, treatments and specialty rehabilitation services. Our individualized and coordinated care draws on the expertise of multiple disciplines – including neurologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists and psychologists.
The center has earned the prestigious designation as a “Partner in MS Care - Centers for Comprehensive Care” through the National MS Society, and we are also a member of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers. Our therapy team members are designated Multiple Sclerosis Certified Specialists.
Multiple sclerosis is a disorder of the immune system. When functioning correctly, this network – made up of cells, tissues and organs designed to produce antibodies that fight infection or illness — is your body’s natural defense mechanism.
But when you have MS, instead of fighting off infection, your immune system mistakenly attacks your own central nervous system. These attacks can damage your brain, spinal cord and optic nerves, slowing down or blocking communication between your brain and body.
Researchers don’t know the exact cause of MS but believe environment and genetics may play a crucial role. It can be hard to recognize the signs of MS, especially in the early stages, when symptoms may seem minor and often come and go.
These symptoms include:
Multiple sclerosis can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are shared by other health conditions. That’s why your doctor will likely start by ruling out other illnesses. This process may involve tests to evaluate your movement, balance, coordination, language function and vision.
If MS is suspected, diagnostic tests include:
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
This noninvasive test uses magnetic fields and radio waves to generate detailed images of your brain and spinal cord. It is the preferred imaging method for definitively diagnosing MS. If you have MS, lesions will be detected. This test may also be used to monitor the progression of the disease.
Taking a sample of your cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) can test for the presence of certain antibodies and proteins, so your doctor may recommend a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to help confirm an MS diagnosis. During this test, a hollow needle is inserted into your lower spine to extract fluid for lab testing.
Evoked potentials (EP) tests
These tests measure how long it takes for your brain to respond to sensory stimulation, through sight, sound or touch. These are particularly useful in cases where the change in your brain’s response is too subtle to be observed during a neurological exam.
There is currently no cure for multiple sclerosis, though we gain a better understanding of the disease every day. Treatment focuses on slowing the disease’s progression and minimizing the damage it causes to your central nervous system.
Our highly skilled team does this by focusing on several areas:
Evaluation and treatment of symptoms
We will work with you to find the right treatment, including infusions and oral and injectable medications, to help minimize symptoms.
Long-term disease management
Reducing the number of flare-ups and slowing disease progression are keys to improving your quality of life. Your condition can be affected by a range of factors, including diet, exercise and stress.
Our team includes physical and occupational therapists who will help you stay mobile and active. Strength and stretching exercises, along with mobility aids, can help manage leg weakness and gait problems.
As many as 40% of people with MS may experience speech problems at some point. Speech therapy for multiple sclerosis may focus on improving the strength, endurance and coordination of the mouth and throat muscles. Speech therapy may be helpful if weak facial muscles or lesions (damaged areas in the brain) have affected your ability to talk or swallow.
Education and support
We offer educational services to help you and your family better understand MS, along with support groups to connect you with others who share your life experiences.
Clinical Trials and Research
Through involvement in clinical trials, our specialists keep abreast of the latest medical breakthroughs and may be able to offer you early access to the some of the most promising treatments and therapies. To learn more about clinical trials available, please email [email protected].
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