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What to Do When Your MS is Getting Worse

By Daryl H. Bryant (578 words)
Posted in Living with MS on October 29, 2014

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What to Do When Your MS is Getting Worse

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects each patient differently, and the progression of the disease will manifest itself in different ways depending on the patient. In order to keep your health and livelihood in check, pay attention to your individual outbreaks and learn how to recognize a worsening in symptoms.

The following are a few signs that your MS could be getting worse and what you can do about it:

Increase in Symptom Outbreaks

If you suffer from Relapse-Remitting MS, note how often and how long your symptom relapses are occurring. Similarly, people with Primary-Progressive MS also need to pay attention to their symptom outbreaks. While the progressive form of the disease is characterized by a steady deterioration, any severe or sudden changes in symptoms need to be addressed as this could be a sign that the disease is progressing faster than anticipated.

What you can do about it: If attacks happen more frequently and symptoms last for longer periods of time, bring your symptoms to the doctor’s attention immediately. Your doctor may be able to give you medication or advice that can slow the progress of MS. You can also take steps to manage your MS and live symptom free by altering your diet before your symptoms get worse.

Numbness and paralysis

You may experience bouts of numbness in your hands, legs, feet, and fingers, but this numbness can suddenly evolve into an inability to feel or move without warning. When your numbness spreads to other parts of your body that were not previously affected or when paralysis sets in at a much faster pace than originally anticipated, this is a sure sign that you may need extra help moving round.

What you can do about it: You can attempt to prevent numbness and paralysis by stretching regularly and doing intermittent exercise techniques, which help to improve your balance, even with MS. However, if you’re experiencing severe numbness in parts of your body and you’re unable to move, get assisted mobility devices like braces, canes, or walkers in order to prevent falls.

Reliance on Wheelchairs

The symptoms of numbness and paralysis can lead to the use of canes and walkers. If you find that a cane or walker doesn’t provide as much support as you need, use a wheelchair instead.

What you can do about it: If you find that your mobility is a problem, consider getting a service dog. According to the National MS Society, service dogs can be trained to open and close doors, retrieve things, pull wheelchairs, provide balance support, and guide you, all of which can provide you support and comfort when you’re in a wheelchair.  

Increased dependence

As MS progresses, problems with balance, vision, memory, and speech can make it harder to accomplish daily household tasks like cooking and cleaning.

What to do about it: Many patients can maintain a healthy level of independence with the help of family members, caregivers, and devices around the home that can make daily life much easier, so don’t be afraid to ask for more help. Remember that your comfort and safety are key to maintaining a healthy life, despite MS.

In conclusion

Keep an eye on your symptoms, as this could be an indication that your MS is progressing at a faster rate than you or your doctor may have expected. However, remember that you’re not alone in this. You have family, friends, and health care professionals who are available and can help you live a happy and comfortable life.  

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