ZocdocAnswersCould my son have MS?

Question

Could my son have MS?

He has numbness/tingling in the arms and legs. His memory and concentation has been getting worse over the years and he's developing a speach impedimant. He used to have a lisp which is starting to come back slightly and he uses words in place of other words. He's always been really smart and never had a problem finding the right words. He also has found himself needing to speak at a much slower space in order to make any sense. He also has blotches all over his body, it looks like Tinea Versicolor. My son is 20 years old.

Answer

Certainly it sounds like his symptoms warrant further investigation so it is important to speak with his primary care doctor. Right now, the descriptions of his symptoms don't make me conclude that your son has anyone specific condition. Numbness and tingling in the legs, difficulty with word finding, and issues with speech are very nonspecific. The skin findings that you mention certainly are not typical of multiple sclerosis. They do make me think of the possibility of a neurofibromatosis although his symptoms are consistent with that either. The fact that they are starting later in life make a congenital condition (something that he is born with) a bit less likely. The best way for you to approach this problem is to schedule an appointment with his primary care physician. His primary care doctor will probably want to attain brain imaging. A brain MRI is a fairly good test to look for multiple sclerosis and some other conditions of the brain. If his doctor is concerned about MS, it might show evidence of past flairs. If the brain MRI is abnormal, or if it is inconclusive, and he may benefit from having a lumbar puncture for analysis of his cerebral spinal fluid. In addition, depending on the primary care doctors findings, it may be warranted for him to be evaluated by a neurologist. I hope you get to the bottom of this soon.

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