remission followed by relapses or flare-ups.
Over time, the symptoms you experience during a relapse may worsen or the flare-ups may start to last longer.
READ: What to Expect From an MS Relapse?
Additionally, the remission part of the cycle may be shorter and you may notice that you’re no longer having symptom-free days. For example, you may notice longer periods of fatigue, increased muscle weakness, trouble with coordination, and growing incontinence.
These are sure signs that your MS is progressing to stage 3 (SPMS). At this stage, you may still have periods of relapse and remission but the symptoms of the disease will continue to worsen. That means you’ll always feel the effects of the illness.
Though the progression from one stage to the other is expected, your doctor can still help you manage your symptoms so make sure to let them know as soon as you start to experience changes. Bear in mind that the rate at which you may move through the stages can vary but health experts estimate that it can happen within 10 years of your first diagnosis.
READ: People Undergoing MS Treatment Can Benefit From COVID Vaccines
How Your Treatment Might Change
When you’re dealing with RRMS, the doctor will focus on drugs that manage your symptoms, prevent relapses, and delay the progression of the illness. These drugs include corticosteroids, disease-modifying therapy, and monoclonal antibody medication. While prescribing these treatments, your doctor will need to monitor you regularly through blood tests and examinations. One reason for the continuous assessment is the side effects that some of these treatments can have. Some drugs have minor effects such as nausea whereas others may significantly decrease your white blood cell count or cause liver damage.
If the disease still progresses despite the medical intervention, your medical protocol will change. At this point, you’ll be given stronger disease-modifying drugs to reduce the severity of your symptoms as well as prevent relapses, if you still have them. These drugs also have significant side effects that you’ll need to discuss with your doctor.
Multiple sclerosis is a lifelong illness that needs to be managed carefully. Since the symptoms can be more significant for Blacks, it’s important to work closely with your doctor and any other recommended specialists. By doing this, you can ensure that the treatment and personalized activities will always meet your needs.