Williams, Walsh & O'Connor, LLC

Why some conditions are misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a medical condition that's often difficult for doctors to diagnose. Individuals who have it often experience a wide variety of symptoms including tingling, heat sensitivity, pain, numbness and fatigue. There's no test for it. Many of the symptoms that MS patients suffer are similar to those that accompany other conditions.


In the moments before someone has a stroke, the amount of nutrient-rich blood traveling to their brain decreases. While many people think that strokes mostly affect elderly individuals, they can happen to adults of any age. Some signs that someone has had a stroke include impaired walking, speech or vision and a decrease in sensation in one of their limbs. MS patients experience many of these symptoms as well.

Lyme disease

One of the reasons that we're taught to check our bodies for ticks after spending time in wooded areas is because they can carry a bacteria that can be transmitted to humans through a bite. Individuals who suffer from Lyme disease experience increasingly debilitating symptoms. They may experience fatigue, joint or muscle aches and headaches. They then may soon develop cognitive impairments, including difficulties with speech and memory.


Individuals who are ultimately diagnosed with MS may also be diagnosed with lupus, which is a debilitating autoimmune disorder. Individuals with this condition often experience swelling in their joints, headaches, pain in their muscles and fatigue.

Like MS, there's no conclusive test that can be used to diagnose lupus. It's often necessary for a patient to be seen by a rheumatologist. That's a doctor who specializes in joints and bones.

Other conditions that are often misdiagnosed as something other than MS include fibromyalgia, vasculitis and migraines.

A doctor should perform a battery of tests including a spinal tap, neurological exam, a machine resonance imaging (MRI) and a thorough physical exam on a patient before diagnosing them as having MS. Doctors who fail to perform these may assign the wrong diagnosis. This can prevent a patient from receiving the care that they desperately need to regulate the condition that they have.

While every Connecticut physician who misdiagnoses a patient can't be accused of negligence, when doctors or hospitals breach standards of care, they can. A medical malpractice attorney can help you if you've been misdiagnosed by a doctor.

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