You may be wondering what multiple sclerosis (MS) is going to look like for you. It’s not always easy to know since MS is a complex and unpredictable health condition. Symptoms, flares and how the condition progresses can vary greatly from person to person. Your own experience and symptoms will depend on your type of MS, its effect on your nerves, which nerves are affected, your treatment plan and other factors.
The best way to reduce the impact of MS on your quality of life is by having and sticking to an MS treatment plan. But where do you start? First, read this guide for the basics of MS treatment. Then work closely with your neurologist (doctors who specialize in nervous system disorders), CVS Specialty MS CareTeam and other providers for your best MS future.
Understanding the basics.
MS is a chronic (long-term) health condition that affects your body’s nervous system (brain and spinal cord). With MS, damage from your immune system causes nerve impulses (messages) sent from your brain and spinal cord to other body parts to be slowed down or blocked. Most MS symptoms are due to slow or blocked nerve impulses.
The best way to reduce the impact of MS on your quality of life is by having and sticking to an MS treatment plan.
An MS flare, also called an exacerbation, attack or relapse, occurs when your MS symptoms suddenly get worse, or you have new symptoms that last for a day or more. Pseudo-flares are a short-term worsening of symptoms without nervous system damage or lesions. Relapsing-remitting MS is the most common type. It starts with a first flare that’s usually, but not always, followed by a period of full or almost-full remission. Remission is when you’ve recovered and the symptoms of a flare are gone.
Your Treatment Plan.
MS is a lifelong condition that has no cure. That’s why for your best health now and in the future, it’s important to work with your neurologist, MS CareTeam, and other providers to create, start and follow a treatment plan. An MS treatment plan can help:
- Slow or modify disease activity
- Treat flares
- Manage symptoms
- Preserve physical function, mobility, and safety
- Address emotional health and wellbeing
Following your treatment plan is called adherence. Read our article on adherence with tips for staying on track.
Disease-modifying therapies or DMTs are medicines that slow down the progress or modify relapsing types of MS.
DMTs have many benefits, including lowering the:
- Frequency of flares
- Severity of flare symptoms
- Number of new lesions as seen on the nervous system scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Degree of disability
Living with MS can be challenging. Our goal is to help you have more positive days where you are feeling well. Your CVS Specialty MS CareTeam is here for you to make sure you are staying healthy and staying on track with your treatment plan.
Visit these websites to learn more about MS, including treatments, the latest news and research, health and wellness advice and links to MS experts.
MS Association of America
Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
National MS Society