Taking a good medical history is vital to diagnosing MS. Your neurologist will ask many questions about present and past medical problems, as well as lifestyle, medicine use, and family history. Like a detective trying to solve a crime, your doctor will use what they learn to piece together what may be happening to cause your symptoms. Their ability to solve the case and come up with a diagnosis will depend on the accuracy of the information you provide.
The medical history will give your neurologist a subjective view of your life and health issues. Your neurologist will consider both subjective information from the medical history and objective information from the neurologic exam, in additional to any other tests chosen, to formulate an accurate diagnosis.
Your doctor will ask many questions in search of relevant information. Be as accurate and truthful as possible in answering the questions. It is helpful to bring with you, or arrange to have transferred, any and all medical records, including test results, from other physicians you have seen.
Questions You Can Expect During the Medical History
- Can you describe your symptoms?
- When did they start?
- Are there any patterns of how they occur?
- What factors affect your symptoms? (For instance, are they worse after meals, following exercise, at night or in the morning?)
- Have you already received treatments for your symptoms?
- Have you already had diagnostic evaluations for your problem?
- What other health problems do you have? Are you currently receiving treatment for any problems?
- What medications (prescription and over-the-counter) are you currently taking?
- Are you allergic to any medications?
- Have you ever had surgery?
- Have you ever been injured in an accident or otherwise?
- Do members of your immediate family (parents, siblings, children) have any health problems?
- Do members of your extended family (uncles, aunts, cousins) have any health problems?
- Is there a history of MS in your immediate or extended family?
- What kinds of foods do you typically eat?
- Do you have regular meals?
- Are there any foods that you are allergic to?
- Do you have a history of substance use or abuse? (This includes alcohol and other drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, or methamphetamines)
- If you drink alcohol, how many drinks do you have per week?
- How often do you use recreational drugs?
- How often do you have bowel movements?
- How often do you empty your bladder?
- How often do you have sex?
- Do you have any problems with sexual performance?
- Have you ever been exposed to a hazardous substance in the workplace or at home? (Examples might include arsenic, asbestos, mercury, lead)
- Have you ever traveled to an exotic destination?
- Where were you born?
- Where did you grow up?
- Where have you lived during your adult years?