It is common for people to take a while to reach their MS diagnosis, in part because symptoms vary so much from person to person and can change over time. The traditional path to diagnosis includes a number of tests and appointments to rule out other possible causes, but with new diagnostic technology, it is now possible to detect MS with a simple blood test! If you’re experiencing symptoms you think might be MS, ask your doctor if they can set you up with this test.
The Best Defense is an Early Defense
It’s not just about getting diagnosed early, it’s also about what you do once you get diagnosed. Fear, frustration, or disbelief can leave you feeling stuck, but think of it this way: your diagnosis gives you vital information that will help you take action.
This is important because MS is a progressive disease and permanent neurologic damage can happen even in the early stages. The sooner you can confirm the diagnosis and access the appropriate treatment(s), the better for your life with MS.
So Where Do I Start?
Three things: treatment, education, and self-care.
Disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) are used to treat MS. Though not a cure, DMTs work to prevent future relapses and damage that adds up from each attack. These drugs slow the progression of MS by limiting the frequency and severity of relapses, ultimately resulting in less neurological damage.
In addition to reducing your pain and helping you better cope with your diagnosis, early treatment gives you the best chance at slowing the progression of the disease by reducing inflammation and damage to the nerve cells.
There are also some lifestyle changes you can make to improve your life with MS. Talk to your doctor to get started, and a Health Advisor to help you stay on track between appointments.
There are different types of Multiple Sclerosis, and knowing which one you have will help you know what to expect and how to better manage your symptoms more effectively. There are also a lot of misconceptions about Multiple Sclerosis. Bust those myths here.
Prioritizing your own health and wellbeing is essential. It’s not just about identifying symptoms and taking medications, it’s about identifying and overcoming your SPECIFIC challenges and charting a path to solve for your SPECIFIC needs.
Your mindset matters. If you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or stuck, take a step back for a moment. Take a breath. Take a break. But also, take some time to think. What do you need to do to get yourself to a place where you can take action? What do you need to do to take care of yourself?
Talk to your Health Advisor (or get a Health Advisor here if you don’t already have one – it’s free). They can help you game plan and find resources specific to your needs.