Knowing which MS changes are significant enough to warrant speaking up can be hard. Relapses can occur every 1-2 years without treatment, but much less frequently on disease-modifying treatment. Distinguishing between an actual relapse, a pseudorelapse or just brief worsening of symptoms (Uhthoff’s phenomenon) explained. Options for relapses such as steroids, plasmapheresis and ACTH are reviewed. Importance of MRI monitoring addressed since most new MS lesions pop up on MRI scans without actual symptoms.
Slow progression of disability can be challenging to detect. Physical changes can include slower walking, worsening balance and more hand coordination problems. Cognitive worsening may be noticeable due to short-term memory loss, word-finding issues and multitasking challenges. Tools to improve monitoring for disease progression highlighted such as in-office testing, remote electronic monitoring and biomarker blood testing. Why multiple sclerosis disability can worsen without MRI change explained. Ways to better advocate for prompt care of worsening MS shared.
Barry Singer MD, Director of The MS Center for Innovations in Care, interviews Jacqueline Nicholas MD, System Chief of Neuroimmunology & Multiple Sclerosis at the OhioHealth Multiple Sclerosis Center and James Bowen MD, Medical Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle.