Reassess your MS | Ask Alia

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When you live with multiple sclerosis (MS), every symptom tells a story. MS symptoms can change over time, so it’s important to pause for a moment every now and then and reassess your MS.


To make it easier, we’ve created an interactive selfassessment tool. It’s designed to help you keep track of your symptoms and support your conversations with your neurologist or MS team about managing your MS. Remember, if you notice changes, tell your MS treatment team.

Click on the icons to learn more about managing changes in MS

The phases of MS 

For most people, MS starts with a diagnosis of relapsing remitting MS. Over time it can change, and some people can enter a different phase, called secondary progressive MS (SPMS). But what’s the difference?

Relapsing remitting vs secondary progressive MS

Relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) is the most common form of MS. Around 85% of people are diagnosed with RRMS, usually in their 20s to 40s. If you have RRMS, there are times when you experience a sudden onset of symptoms (relapses), followed by periods of partial or complete recovery (remission).

Secondary progressive MS (SPMS) is a different phase of MS. After you have lived with RRMS for a number of years, you may notice that the frequency of relapses decreases or even stops altogether, but the level of disability continues to increase over time. This may start to interfere with your day-to-day activities.

Many people with RRMS may go on to develop SPMS. The changes associated with this progression happen gradually. Left unchecked, it can lead to more noticeable symptoms and increased disability, which is why it’s so important to reassess your MS and talk to your specialist team about reviewing your management options.

So how do you know if your MS is changing ?

Think back to how you felt six months ago and ask yourself a few simple questions :

Are some activities more  of a challenge now?
Are symptoms lingering between relapses but relapses are less often?
Have any symptoms  changed or worsened?
Are you experiencing  new symptoms?

If you think your MS is changing, recognising it early is essential to managing SPMS. The interactive assessment tool can help you track changes in your symptoms, which you can discuss with your specialist team. It’s a good idea to keep a diary of any changes you feel and refer to it when completing the tool. Identifying change and working with your specialist team will help you recognise and manage changes earlier.

Common signs of changing MS

Text : Changes in mental processing
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Difficulty finding words 
or trouble speaking

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Worsening 
memory 

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Trouble thinking 
quickly or clearly

Text : Physical changes
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Difficulty with movement, 
balance and walking

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Bladder and 
bowel problems

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Fatigue and feeling 
extremely tired

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Sexual problems such as erectile
dysfunction, vaginal dryness
or decreased sensation

If symptoms like these feel familiar, use the interactive assessment tool to help you reassess your MS. Sometimes it can be helpful to complete it with someone who knows you well, as they may offer a different perspective.

Talking to your MS specialist team

If you’ve noticed changes in any MS symptoms, it’s important to talk to your specialist team. Even if the changes seem small, they can help your neurologist assess whether your MS is transitioning into a new phase. 

Once you’ve completed the self-assessment tool, take it with you to your next appointment and use it during your conversation with your neurologist and/or MS nurse to review how you manage your MS.

My MS team

Your neurologist and MS healthcare team are an essential part of your support network. Community organisations, such as state-based MS societies, can also provide a range of information, advice and services to help you manage your MS.

 

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MS SOCIETIES

Search for support and 
services near you.

              

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NDIS

Discover how the NDIS 
can help you

              

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