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Saturday 22nd October 2016

Misdiagnosis of MS

25th August 2006

05052006_maninpainQ.jpgHundreds of people may have had MS, the progressive disease of the nervous system, misdiagnosed.

At least 5 per cent of those told that they have MS are believed instead to have Hughes syndrome, which results in the blood becoming thick and sticky and liable to clot dangerously. 
John Simper is one of those who was misdiagnosed and for more than two decades was resigned to having multiple sclerosis. He was unable to work or drive, plagued by recurrent headaches, bouts of confusion, short-term memory loss and weakness in his limbs.  Instead he has an illness that can be treated with blood-thinning drugs such as aspirin and warfarin.

Mr Simper went to his GP after reading about Hughes syndrome in a magazine and recognising his symptoms. Tests showed that he did indeed have Hughes syndrome and he is campaigning to increase awareness of the condition.

Approximately 150,000 people in Britain suffer from the syndrome, which was first reported by Graham Hughes in the British Medical Journal in 1983. Dr Hughes, who is now a professor at the London Lupus Centre, says few GPs are alert to the condition and tests are not offered as a matter of routine. He recommends that two blood tests be offered routinely to any MS patient who has suffered recurrent headaches, problems with clots, a family history of autoimmune diseases, or who has had recurrent miscarriages.



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