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Do you worry about falling? Does blurry vision keep you from driving? Do you ever feel like the room is spinning and won’t stop?

If you have a demyelinating disease, these questions might swirl through your head quite often. You might also wonder what’s next and who can help you with these symptoms. At Cleveland Clinic, we have an expert team who can guide you through your care.  

We can piece together the puzzle of symptoms and see the big picture of what’s going on. And even though multiple sclerosis (also known as MS) is the most common demyelinating disease, it’s definitely not the only one. If you have a less common demyelinating disease, you might be unsure what will happen next. Our team specializes in diagnosing and caring for demyelinating diseases. From the first appointment on through testing and continuous care, we’ll be there for you.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Demyelinating Diseases Care?

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Recognized expertise:

Our team is made up of world-renowned industry leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of all types of demyelinating diseases.

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Collaborative care:

Demyelinating diseases are complex conditions that require a complete, coordinated team effort to manage. In addition to a neurologist, you may see a variety of providers, including physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists, psychologists and neuropsychologists, neuro ophthalmologists, urologists and social workers. Meet our team.

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Innovation and research:

Our team uses the latest technology and testing methods to offer you the most advanced diagnostic and treatments options. If you qualify, we also offer the opportunity to participate in clinical trials related to all types of demyelinating diseases.

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Convenient care:

People travel from across the United States and around the world to meet with our specialists. We offer both in-person appointments and virtual visits to talk about your care. We can also work with your local provider to coordinate your treatment options.

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Skilled, collaborative providers:

Our compassionate physical, occupational and speech therapists, psychologists and social workers offer the latest strategies to help you manage the challenges of living with a long-term (chronic) disease at home, work and school.

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National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We're recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.

Demyelinating Diseases Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic

If your healthcare provider thinks you might have a demyelinating disease, they may refer you to a neurologist (a doctor who treats conditions affecting your nervous system, including your brain and spinal cord). Your neurologist will talk to you about your medical history and ask about your symptoms. They’ll also do physical and neurological examinations.

It’s important to find out exactly which type of demyelinating disease you have to make sure you get the right treatment. Besides multiple sclerosis, a few of the more common demyelinating diseases include  neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD or Devic’s disease), myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody-associated disease (MOGAD), acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), transverse myelitis (TM) and optic neuritis (ON).

Symptoms can vary depending on the underlying disorder, but people can experience impairment in their vision, weakness or trouble walking or severe confusion. It can be helpful to keep track of the symptoms you’ve experienced and take your notes with you when you meet with your healthcare providers. Your symptoms are a part of the larger puzzle that your provider will work to solve during the diagnosis process.

There isn’t one single test that will tell for sure which disorder is causing your symptoms. Lots of conditions have similar symptoms, so it’s important to rule out those conditions first. To help with a diagnosis, your neurologist may recommend one or more tests.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

An MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to take detailed pictures of your brain and spinal cord. These pictures can help find areas of damage in the brain and/or spinal cord.

Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)

We’ll use a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to remove a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid (liquid that surrounds your spine and brain) from your lower back. The fluid may show signs of inflammation or signs of another process, like an infection.

Optical coherence tomography (OCT)

An optical coherence tomography (OCT) test scans the nerves in the back of your eye (retina) with a laser. It checks for myelin damage and will show if your condition is getting worse and how your body is responding to treatment.

Blood tests

Healthcare providers can’t detect most demyelinating diseases with blood tests. But your neurologist may order one or more blood tests to rule out other conditions that might be causing your symptoms.

Evoked potentials study

An evoked potentials study uses electrodes (small patches with wires) attached to your head to measure how long it takes your brain to react when it’s stimulated with sight, sound or touch.


Our healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio, Florida and Nevada.

Demyelinating Diseases Treatment at Cleveland Clinic

Your expert care team will use the most advanced treatments to manage your symptoms, improve your ability to move and slow down your condition. They’ll put together a personalized treatment plan for you.

Disease-modifying therapies

There is an expanding array of medications available to slow or stop the disease progression. We’ll work on coming up with a comprehensive treatment approach to make sure we find the best one for you.  

Relapse management medications

There are several medications that can be used to quickly reduce inflammation and make you feel better. Steroids like oral prednisone or intravenous methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol®) are commonly used, but we’ll also consider IVIG and plasma exchange.


A physical therapist can help with walking, strength and balance. Depending on your situation, they can also help you learn how to use a cane, scooter or wheelchair. An occupational therapist can teach you new, easier ways to do things around the house, at work or at school. A speech-language therapist can help with changes in your voice, speech and swallowing.

Cognitive therapy

If you have depression or anxiety, or you have mood swings or feel overwhelmed, a psychologist or psychiatrist can help you cope. A neuropsychologist can help if you’re having trouble focusing or have memory or language problems.

Lifestyle changes

Getting enough exercise, eating healthy foods, managing stress, limiting alcohol and not smoking are good lifestyle changes to make anytime and can especially help if you have a demyelinating disease.

Taking the Next Step

Demyelinating diseases are lifelong conditions with symptoms that can make every day challenging and overwhelming. They can affect the way you get around and interact with your loved ones. And they can keep you from doing everyday tasks around your home. It takes a team of specially trained healthcare providers to help you tackle each challenge that goes along with a demyelinating disease. The specialists at Cleveland Clinic can help you learn to manage the challenges so you can keep doing the things you love to do.

Scheduling a visit with Cleveland Clinic’s demyelinating diseases experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.


Scheduling a visit with Cleveland Clinic’s demyelinating diseases experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.

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