THE REALITY OF PROGRESSING MS
If you or your loved one has been living for years with multiple sclerosis (MS), you know the ups and downs of the condition.
But the reality is, MS is progressive. You may find you're not recovering from relapses like you used to. You may get new symptoms or your symptoms may get worse over time, often lingering between relapses. Doing simple chores around the house or spending time with family and friends may become increasingly difficult.
Although thinking about progressing MS isn't easy, you shouldn't wait to take action. Taking a fresh look at your MS and discussing any changes with your doctor may help you adjust to new challenges.
WHAT'S GOING ON INSIDE YOUR BODY
1. Your central nervous system includes your brain and spinal cord. It's made up of nerves that send signals all around your body. These signals control many things such as
(eg, breathing, heartbeat, senses)
Voluntary actions (eg, moving, speaking)
2. MS is considered an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. Lymphocytes (white blood cells in your immune system) mistake your myelin (coating around nerves) and axons (nerve fibers) for something that shouldn't be there.
3. The lymphocytes then attack the healthy nerves, creating inflammation, which damages the myelin coating and exposes the axon nerve fibers.
4. When your myelin is inflamed and damaged, you may experience a relapse—noticeable MS symptoms that last anywhere from a day to months.
HOW MS PROGRESSES
Over time with MS, there may be less myelin left to attack,
and your axons, or nerve fibers, become more exposed.
Picture your nerves as wires that have electrical signals trying to move through
them, but no protective coating. Because of the lack of protective coating,
your nerve signals, like electrical signals, can be slowed or stopped all together.
Damage to your nerves builds up, which causes symptoms to worsen.
This can lead to disability that can impact your daily activities.
Ongoing research and advancements are
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CARE PARTNER CORNER
There's so much to concentrate on with MS, but you should keep your eye on the big picture. MS is a progressive disease that can get worse over time. Subtle changes to your loved one's MS can add up over time between relapses, changes you may notice before he or she does. Maybe you're helping out around the house, cooking dinner, or running errands more often. Write down any changes you see in your loved one's MS, and discuss with your loved one and his or her doctor.START TRACKING CHANGES
IN YOUR LOVED ONE'S MS
Look for more care partner tips throughout this site.