Referral and diagnosis

To maximize lifelong brain health, the treatment and management of multiple sclerosis (MS) need to start as early as possible – and this requires a prompt diagnosis. Ideally, people with suspected MS should be referred to a neurologist – a doctor who specializes in diseases of the nervous system. A neurologist with a special interest in MS, together with their team, will be best placed to provide a diagnosis and an integrated approach to care and management. Such neurologists have broad experience of the long-term management of MS and in-depth knowledge of the latest diagnostic criteria, treatment options and monitoring processes.

MS can now be diagnosed earlier than ever before; using evidence from magnetic resonance imaging brain scans in conjunction with clinical assessments. However, significant delays can still occur between noticing the first symptoms and receiving a diagnosis. These delays could be reduced by:

  • increasing awareness of MS
  • improving access to specialist MS healthcare services

The articles in this section describe the benefits of early referral to an MS specialist and explain why it is important to diagnose MS as early as possible.