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How Selma Blair’s Symptoms of MS Went Undiagnosed for 15 Years

How Selma Blair’s Symptoms of MS Went Undiagnosed for 15 Years

In October, Selma Blair, known best for her roles in Cruel Intentions and Legally Blonde, shared shocking news about her multiple sclerosis diagnosis on Instagram.

“I have had symptoms for years but was never taken seriously until I fell down in front of him [Dr. Jason Berkley) trying to sort out what I thought was a pinched nerve,” she wrote. “I have probably had this incurable disease for 15 years at least. And I am relieved to at least know.”


How do symptoms of a neurological disease go masked for fifteen years?  

Symptoms of MS mimic those of other, often benign illnesses. In Blair’s case, she mistakenly thought she suffered from a pinched nerve. Symptoms often disappear after a few weeks without treatment leading a patient to believe the problem has resolved itself and delaying treatment.

No one test definitively diagnoses MS. A provider must first rule out other illnesses and often conducts an MRI of the brain to look for lesions on the brain or damage to the spinal cord.

What are the symptoms of MS?

The most common symptoms of MS include:

  • Blurred or double-vision
  • Pain and loss of vision
  • Difficulty walking
  • Prickling or “pins and needles” sensation, numbness or pain

Less known symptoms of MS include:

  • Muscle weakness in arms and legs
  • Poor coordination
  • Muscle stiffness and spasms
  • Loss of sensation
  • Speech impediments
  • Tremor
  • Dizziness
  • Hearing loss
  • Concentration problems
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Memory lapses
  • Poor judgment

Who’s at risk for MS?

Women experience higher rates of MS diagnosis than men and Caucasians of northern European ancestry are more likely than other ethnic groups to suffer from MS, although MS occurs in most ethnic groups. People in tropical climates are less likely to suffer from MS than people from more temperate climates. Researchers believe that’s because people who live the first 15 years of their lives in tropical climates have higher levels of vitamin D. While all these categories may increase the risk of developing MS, the disease may be developed by anyone.

What should I do if I have these symptoms?

Selma Blair’s break occurred when a friend insisted she see a doctor for her symptoms. If you’ve had the symptoms listed above off and on for more than a few months, it’s time to call your provider. Women’s Health breaks down these symptoms into more concrete terms and when it’s time to sound the alarms. Keep track of your symptoms and share them with your provider. Don’t be discouraged if your provider rules out other illnesses first. Your provider doesn’t take this diagnosis lightly. Testing for other illnesses is the first step to finding the correct diagnosis and treatment so you feel like you again.

Our providers are ready to talk to you about any medical symptoms you’re experiencing. You can request an appointment through our website or by calling our clinic at (662)-282-4226.


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