If you’ve been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), chances are you’ve read all about the symptoms and different treatment options. It’s easier to get proper treatment when you communicate openly with your doctor

A Tough Disease to Fight

No two cases of MS are the same, making it a tough disease to fight. Your symptoms will vary depending on where the damage to the central nervous system is done, from the brain to the spinal cord.

Symptoms of MS are also often missed or misdiagnosed. Take a mental note or write down anything you notice with your body. Even if you’re not sure about something, write it down and talk about it with your doctor. Let your doctor decide if it’s somehow related to MS.

Information Your Doctor Will Want

Your doctor will want to know how you’re feeling overall and what medications are currently working for you. Pay attention to your symptoms and how any medication you’re taking makes you feel. Remembering this type of information will make your appointment go more smoothly and it will give your doctor necessary, valuable information.

Your doctor will probably also want to know:

  • Are your symptoms getting better or worse?
  • Have you noticed any new symptoms?
  • Does anything make your symptoms better?
  • How severe are your symptoms?

Knowing Your Symptoms

Before your next appointment, think about and review all your symptoms. This includes your primary, secondary, and tertiary symptoms.

Primary symptoms are those related specifically to the disease. For MS, these symptoms are the result of damage done to the central nervous system. Primary symptoms of MS may include:

  • weakness or numbness in the limbs
  • loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • pain when moving the eyes
  • blurred or double vision
  • tingling sensations in the body
  • tremors or shaking in the muscles
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • bladder and bowel functioning problems
  • sexual dysfunction
  • feelings of electric shock in the neck when moving it

Secondary symptoms are those related, or a consequence of, primary symptoms. Secondary symptoms of MS may include:

  • memory loss
  • speech problems
  • headaches
  • respiratory issues
  • difficulty swallowing
  • itching
  • seizures
  • difficulty hearing

Tertiary symptoms are the result of primary and secondary symptoms. They’re sometimes referred to as “trickle down” symptoms because they include complications dealing with your social, vocational, and psychological needs. Tertiary symptoms of MS may include:

  • depression
  • inability to do things you used to do
  • feeling stressed out
  • difficulty with relationships
  • loss of your job
  • isolation

This guide is meant to help you discuss the wide range of MS symptoms with your doctor, but don’t let it limit you. Discuss anything and everything that’s going on with your health. Your doctor can best determine what may or may not be caused by MS when you provide them with the most information possible.