A recent study has shown that MS is present long before the first symptoms start to appear. This period, in which an individual has MS without showing symptoms, is called the “prodromal stage” of MS.
The recent study published in Lancet Neurology was carried out in four Canadian Provinces (British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia), and looked at MS patients’ health data from April 1984 to April 2014. The health data focussed on the period before the diagnosis of MS was made, in order to identify common characteristics.
Results clearly showed the existence of a “prodromal stage” with individuals showing higher health system use in the five years before the first MS symptom. The number of health system visits increased in the year before diagnosis. Hospital admissions were up by 78% and doctors’ visits went up by 88% in patients who potentially had MS, compared to the general population. There was also a 49% rise in the number of drug classes for which medications were prescribed.
One recommendation contained in the research is that patients paying frequent hospital visits should be assessed for a health record history and examination that could point towards them having MS. This assessment should be done thoroughly with clear emphasis on whether the patients’ day-to-day routine has been changed or altered due to physical fatigue, weakness, or any other physical complaint the patient might have.
Source: Medical News Bulletin (20/06/17)