Worrying Signs

Over the last few months I’ve notice my balance has started to become effected as well as my speech can stall at times. This Monday I woke up felt fine made my way across the landing and felt myself falling to the left which caused me to end up on the side of the bath sitting wondering what is happening. My speech had also become effected stalling of first word. When my wife came in to see what was the matter. I regained mobility but felt very unsteady and very tired after a full nights sleep. I headed to work. After about an hour or so I felt my balance going again pulling me over to the left again which caused me to end up on my knees I’d felt unsteady since the bathroom that morning and very tired and finding it very difficult to motivate myself. I managed to see my GP later that day he did various tests which I guess are neurological assessment. I struggled with the finger nose to GP finger with my left hand did ok with right. Felt my eyes rolling when following his finger. Whilst standing with eyes closed I kept falling backwards. I’m a fit active guy but like I’ve said over the last months maybe a year lots of these little things have slowly become more of an issue and Monday this week I needed help from the GP. I do suffer from what I can describe as pins and needles in my arms at times mainly in the mornings. The GP has given me Prochlorpezine to reduce the dizziness I guess. Since this episode on Monday I’ve done nothing but sleep felt so tired and out of sorts in my thinking and decision making. I’m due to see the GP again tomorrow he didn’t give me any clues to what this is but the fact he got another GP to do the tests again with me kind of got me worried. He mentioned MS and a couple of other conditions but wouldn’t confirm any. So I was wondering how this process works from my symptoms to getting a diagnosis of whichever it maybe.

Hi Jim,

Be prepared for a long journey, I’m afraid. Your GP isn’t qualified to diagnose MS, or anything neurological, and that’s why they wouldn’t confirm anything. Even a GP who is particularly interested or knowledgeable in this field can have no more than a suspicion, which they can’t prove or disprove, so the next step is usually to refer you to a neurologist.

MS is a particularly challenging diagnosis, even for an experienced neurologist, as there’s no test that can prove absolutely you either do or don’t have it.

Instead, it’s a matter of meticulously ruling out all the other things it might possibly be (over 100 of them), and seeing what’s left.

Even then, it’s not always clearcut. Somebody can have all the hallmarks of MS, and everything else be ruled out, but still NOT go on to get a formal diagnosis, because of a lack of evidence that it’s a recurrent or ongoing problem. The clue’s in the name: multiple sclerosis cannot be diagnosed on the basis of a single attack. It has to be proved to be multiple. This can be easier said than done, as some people never have a second attack, and for others, it might be months or even years away (MS is very unpredictable like that - attacks don’t run to a schedule).

That’s why it’s so common to see people describing themselves as “in limbo”. It’s not (usually) foot-dragging by the Medical Profession, but simply that they don’t have the evidence to confirm it. A case may be “highly suggestive” of MS, yet still not tick all the boxes, so the only option is to wait, and see if further evidence is eventually forthcoming. Consultants often make a very poor job of explaining this - if they try at all - so patients can be left with the impression the consultant is “being awkward”, by refusing to diagnose. It’s usually not that at all, but that the evidence doesn’t let them.

Anyway, all of that’s jumping the gun a bit. Let’s hope it will turn out to be one of the other 100+ things - some of them very easily fixed - and you won’t be left with a long period of uncertainty.



Thanks for the advise Tina. GP has doubled my medication and now running blood tests to see if there’s anything else going on. Still feeling really tired and struggling to get about headache isn’t improving if anything worse but it’s not your normal headache. It’s a waiting game I guess but as I’ve had many subtle symptoms with balance and speech over the last year or so and only had this big episode last week when I’ve told doc I guess it’s early days as now my symptoms are a real big problem. I’ve gone from an active guy who’s spot on at work to struggling to get out of bed and struggling to make a round of toast and a coffee. I’m sure I’ll pull out soon and crack on. Thanks for your advise may know more Thursday when get bloods back.