As MS gets worse, you may have
tremors and pain and feel stiff when you move. You may
have problems with
controlling urination, swallowing, and thinking
clearly. MS can lead to
Many people with MS are
sensitive to heat. Hot weather, a fever, a hot shower, or too much exercise can
make their symptoms worse until they cool down.
MS is very
unpredictable. Your symptoms may suddenly get worse with no warning, or you may
go for years without any problems.
How is MS diagnosed?
Diagnosing MS is not always
easy. The first symptoms may be vague, and many of the symptoms can be caused
by problems other than MS. Try not to be frustrated if months or even years go
by before your illness is definitely identified as MS.
MS is not
diagnosed unless a doctor can be sure that you have had at least two attacks.
The doctor will examine you, ask you questions about your symptoms, and do some
MRI is often used to confirm the diagnosis, because
the patches of damage (lesions) caused by MS attacks can be seen with this
How is it treated?
Medicines are used to treat MS:
- During a relapse, to make the attack shorter
and less severe.
- Over a long period of time, to keep down the
number of attacks and how severe they are (disease-modifying therapy). This
treatment may delay or at least reduce the damage MS does to the
- To control specific symptoms-like fatigue, depression,
urinary problems, sexual difficulties, pain, or muscle stiffness.
You may find it hard to decide whether to take any of the
drugs that slow the progression of MS, especially if your symptoms have been
mild. The drugs do not work for everyone, and they often have strong side
effects. But experts say it’s usually best to start taking medicine as soon as
you are diagnosed, because damage may be going on even if you don't have
symptoms. You and your doctor will decide whether you should try any of these
Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and
speech therapy can help you reduce some physical problems caused by MS. You can
also help yourself at home by eating right, getting regular exercise and rest,
and learning to use your energy wisely.
Dealing with the physical
and emotional demands of MS is not easy. If you feel overwhelmed, talk to your
doctor. You may be depressed, which can be treated. And finding a support group
where you can talk to other people with MS can be very helpful.
Frequently Asked Questions