Due to lack of specific test for MS, diagnosis can be challenging particularly at disease onset. There is strict diagnostic criteria that was revised multiple times in the past. This criteria is based on developing recurrent attacks in different places
of the CNS at different times. MS attacks present with new symptom(s) or worsening of old symptom(s) that last at least 24 hours.
Your physician will collect a complete history, perform a complete neurological examination in addition to obtaining many diagnostic tests to exclude other diseases and confirm the MS disease. They include brain and/or spine MRI (detects MS plaques),
evoked potentials (detects slowing at plaque sites) and lumbar puncture (spinal tap) looking for evidence of inflammation in the cerebral spinal fluid. Other sets of blood tests are often done to rule out other things that may mimic MS.