HealthDay News — Various clinical symptoms precede the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) by several years, according to a study published online May 8 in the Annals of Neurology.
Giulio Disanto, M.D., Ph.D., from the Neurocentre of Southern Switzerland in Lugano, and colleagues compared the occurrence of various symptoms in MS patients versus controls. Data from the U.K. Clinical Practice Research Datalink (January 1987 through February 2016) was used to identify 10,204 incident MS cases. This nested case-control study compared the occurrence of various symptoms at zero to two years, two to five years, and five to 10 years before the first MS record (index date).
The researchers found that MS patients had a significantly higher risk of presenting up to 10 years before the index date with gastric, intestinal, urinary, and anorectal disturbances, anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue, headache, and various types of pain. With each additional symptom, MS risk progressively increased (zero to two years: odds ratio, 1.51 [P < 0.001]; two to five years: odds ratio, 1.29 [P < 0.001]; five to 10 years: odds ratio, 1.20 [P < 0.001]).
“Various clinical disturbances precede MS diagnosis by several years, supporting a prodromal phase to the disease and improving our clinical knowledge of early MS,” the authors write. “Integrating these symptoms in the diagnostic procedure may help earlier disease identification.”