EARLY DETECTION OF PROGRESSIVE MS MATTERS
Progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) can be subtle and hard to detect. Your symptoms may become more challenging and, while it might seem strange, you may even experience fewer relapses—not more.
The things you do every day may start to feel more difficult than they did in the past, such as spending time with loved ones, focusing on work, or running errands. Because you're not feeling well enough or you're too tired, you might be missing out on important events.
These changes may be frustrating and unsettling. But the sooner you and your doctor identify progressive MS, the better chance you may have of slowing its rate.
HOW TO TELL IF YOUR MS IS PROGRESSING
Talk to your doctor about your history with MS. Tell him or her how your relapses, symptoms, and the ability to do things have changed over time. Together, these things may indicate that your MS may be progressing:
YOUR SYMPTOMS ARE GETTING WORSE, YOU'RE EXPERIENCING NEW ONES, OR THEY'RE LINGERING BETWEEN RELAPSES
PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES SUCH AS WALKING YOUR DOG OR VISITING FAMILY ARE HARDER TO DO THAN THEY WERE IN THE PAST
MENTAL ACTIVITIES SUCH AS READING A BOOK OR CONCENTRATING ON WORK ARE HARDER THAN THEY WERE IN THE PAST
YOU MAY GET RELAPSES LESS OFTEN
THE NUMBER OF ACTIVE LESIONS ON YOUR MRI DECREASES
Some of these changes may result in needing lifestyle adjustments, such as wearing more comfortable shoes or taking naps throughout the day. Everyone has their own way of managing their progressing MS. The important thing is that you identify it and talk to your doctor about what's going on. And the sooner, the better.
FEWER MS RELAPSES MAY OR MAY NOT BE GOOD NEWS
It's easy to assume that fewer relapses means your MS is getting better.
However, that is not always the case. As MS damages your nerves over time,
there may be little or no myelin coating left. Therefore, there is nothing to
become inflamed or cause a relapse.
In addition, with no myelin, damage occurs to the exposed nerve axons,
which can lead to feeling worse overall.
Your MS may be progressive if you're experiencing new or more intense symptoms, symptoms that linger between relapses, or if you're just feeling worse overall.
Stay up to date with what's going on
to learn all you can about progressive MS.
CARE PARTNER CORNER
You may notice signs of progression in your loved one before he or she does. The SPMS Conversation Starter is a good resource to help you keep track of changes in his or her MS. You can compare where your loved one's symptoms were a year ago to where they are now. You are an extra set of eyes that can help your loved one and his or her doctor identify what is happening over time.CREATE A PLAN
Look for more care partner tips throughout this site.