Now that you finally have a name -- multiple sclerosis -- to match the symptoms that have been plaguing you, you've probably got a lot of questions about how to treat those symptoms and keep your condition from getting worse. Although researchers haven't yet discovered a cure for MS, there are many effective medications to help manage your disease. Your doctor will work closely with you to find the treatment that works best for you while causing the fewest side effects.
Here is a rundown of your...
You begin having a symptom that you have not had before or
you notice a significant change in symptoms that are already present.
Milder MS-type symptoms can be caused by many
other conditions or may occur now and then in healthy people. For example, lots of
people have minor numbness in their fingers or a mild dizzy spell once in
a while. Stiffness and muscle weakness can result from being more active than
A wait-and-see approach (watchful waiting) is appropriate for these types of
everyday aches and pains, so long as they do not continue.
symptoms occur more often or don't go away, talk to your doctor.
For people with MS
Talk to your doctor about
what to expect from the disease and from treatment. MS is an unpredictable
disease, but you probably can get some idea of what is "normal" and what
symptoms or problems are reasons for concern.
Some people who have MS
want active, regular support from their doctors. Others want to manage their
condition on their own as much as possible. Wherever you are in this range,
find out which signs or symptoms mean that you need to see your doctor. And
seek help when you need it.
Who to see
Health professionals who may be involved in evaluating
symptoms of MS and treating the condition include:
Family doctors or
internists. Consult your doctor when symptoms first
start. He or she will refer you to a neurologist if needed. If you have
MS, your family doctor or internist can treat your general health problems even
if you see a neurologist for MS treatment.
neurologist can decide whether your symptoms are caused by MS. He or she can also help you
decide what may be the best treatment for your condition.
Many university medical centers and large hospitals have
MS clinics or centers staffed by neurologists and other health professionals
who specialize in diagnosing and treating MS. They may be able to provide the
most thorough evaluation.