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Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 26771
Experience:  Over 20 yrs of Family Practice
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My 35-year-old step-daughter is afraid she has ms. She is

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My 35-year-old step-daughter is afraid she has ms. She is exhausted, more so than ever before. She has periods of numbness for at least three years -- the numbness seems to be symmetrical. For five years she has had intermittent pain below the breastbone that seems to radiate in a straight line though to her back. She has had tests for gall bladder problems and has had an abdominal cat scan or mri, and all was normal. She had an elevated white blood count in her urine on one test, but a culture of her urine two weeks later was normal. She has a stressful job and three small children, but feels that her exhaustion does not stem from this.
Hi--what tests and lab work has she had to get at a cause for all this?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

She will see a neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday. For a long time, she was focusing on the intermittent abdominal pain, so almost all of the test were tests of her gall bladder, which is fine. The doctors then thought she had a bladder infection because of the white blood cells in her urine, but she doesn't have a bladder infection. She does not have mono. She has a sinus infection, which has been treated by three bouts of antibiotics, but she feels that the infection is still present. Several years ago she saw her internist re the numbness, fearing that it was ms. He thought it wasn't because the numbness was on both sides of her body. But she is not scared that she does have ms.

Tell me more about the numbness and did she ever have an MRI of the brain or spine?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

She says the numbness comes and goes, and I don't know for how long it lasts. I asked her if it was the same on both sides -- if she had it in her left thigh, would she also have it in her right thigh, and she said yes.

Sorry--yes to the MRI's?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, no mri of brain. She may have had one for her abdomen - either that or a cat scan of abdomen. But no tests of brain.

OK--any vision problems or balance problems or tremors?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No to balance problems (I think). She says that when she watches television she doesn't seem to see as well out of one eye as the other, but only mentions this in the context of watching television (the tv is far from her couch), so she may simply need glasses. She has not mentioned tremors, but I think she said something about twitches.

So because of the random numbness she thinks she may have MS?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

That, and the extreme fatigue. She also read something about the ms hug, which she felt might explain her upper abdominal pain, which comes about once a month.


 


 

OK--the fatigue--I assume she's had her thyroid functions, cortisol levels, anemia screen, and vitamin levels checked?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I'm not sure about this. She had a lot of blood work and the results were okay. She is not anemic.

OK--sorry for all the questions but who referred her to the neurologist and why?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No one referred her - she just made an appointment.

OK--and we can continue after this if you'd like. I don't think she has MS because she really doesn't have the constellation of symptoms along with the usual increase in those over time that goes with MS. Certainly the simplest way to rule it out is with a brain MRI. Potentially this could be ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) but I don't see anything except the numbness that might indicate that. That doesn't sound like the MS hug at all and she may have a problem with a peptic ulcer. As for the fatigue, unless her TSH level were well below 3.0 I'd consider her hypothyroid and she needs to be checked for low cortisol levels as well as for heavy metal (lead and mercury) toxicity. I'm sure the neurologist will take appropriate action here, but I just don't see MS in any of this.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you. I'l suggest she gets her thyroid tested, if it hasn't already been. I don't mean to hold you for any longer, but I was wondering if her symptoms could be related to stress.

No problem with my time here--yes stress could cause the numbness sensations and could lead to constant fatigue. Do let me know, though, what the neurologist says and remember to rate my service to you
Dr. Chip and 5 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you so much!

My pleasure but please remember the rating of my service