While we know today that Multiple Sclerosis can be successfully managed and patients can find ways of dealing it with, nevertheless, the first few weeks after the initial diagnosis can be scary and frustrating not only for the patient, but for the family too.
Due to the fact that MS is emerging to be one of the most common neurological diseases striking young adults between the ages of 20 and 40, especially women, there are also emerging a number of treatments, procedures and medicines that are being used to manage the symptoms of the disease and to help patients better cope with it. Here are some of the things you need to know if you have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis recently.
Confirm positive diagnosis
This first thing you need to do once your diagnosis has been made is to make sure that your diagnosis was a positive one. Remember, MS is a difficult disease to diagnose and many times, doctors can get the diagnosis wrong. A number of tests including Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), spinal fluid analysis and evoked potentials are used to make the diagnosis. In addition to all of this, your physician must establish the fact that damage occurred in two separate areas of the central nervous system and that this damage took place at least one month after each other. Finally, all other possible causes for your symptoms need to be sufficiently ruled out. You can also see more than one physician and get your symptoms checked out.
Become familiar with the disease
Once your diagnosis has been reasonably confirmed, the second most important thing you can do for yourself is to arm yourself with as much information about MS as possible. The main reason for this is because there are many misconceptions about MS which make the disease to be much scarier than it is. Secondly, knowing as much as possible about the disease can help you deal with it mentally as well as emotionally. You will know what to expect, which treatments and medication you require and what sort of reactions will your MS treatment have on your body.
Seek Medical Treatment
The next thing you need to do as soon as your diagnosis has been made is to seek treatment immediately because if you do, there are chances that you can stop or even slow down the progression of the disease. This means that you can sustain the quality of your life for longer.
Keep a Journal
Along with your treatment, keeping a log of your MS symptoms and their reaction to the treatment you are taking is crucial. This will help you and your doctor in determining how far the treatment and the medication is working so that changes can be made in time.
Identify the Triggering Factors
Know in detail all of the events that can trigger a relapse which can last for days or even months. Do not take too much stress or physical fatigue, don’t smoke and avoid hot baths and sun exposure because all of these have been known to trigger relapses. Excessive consumption of alcohol is also a bad idea if you have MS because intoxication can add to your current MS symptoms.
Choose a good Doctor
Lastly you need to have a good doctor for your treatment; somebody with prior MS experience and someone that you trust. Along with your doctor and a quality treatment program, you can establish hope for a better future for yourself.