What is an exacerbation?

downloadWhat is an exacerbation?

An exacerbation of Multiple Sclerosis can also be referred to as an attack, a relapse or an episode. All the terms all mean the same thing which is the occurrence of new symptoms or worsening of an old symptom. These range from mild to severe enough to interfere with a person’s ability to function in daily life. The exacerbation will follow the following criteria:

  • Previous symptoms become more severe or new symptoms have started to show.
  • Symptoms last longer than 24 hours, commonly lasting days or weeks.
  • A total of 30 days has passed since the start of the previous relapse.
  • Healthcare provider has ruled out all other possible causes for an exacerbation, including infection, heat, and stress.

It is critical to know when this is happening because early treatment can help reduce the4061413_0 impact on the person’s body. It must be known that no two exacerbations are alike and can change slightly.

The reason an exacerbation occurs is due to the immune system attack on the myelin sheath, which then causes slow or interrupted neuronal signals in the brain and spinal cord. An exacerbation can consist of balance problems, coordination, eyesight, bladder function, memory or concentration problems, mobility, fatigue, weakness, numbness or needle-link sensation.

Mild symptoms such as fatigue, numbness, and needle-link sensation could potentially improve on their own and not require treatment. More intense issues could be considered a severe exacerbation which could include vision loss, extreme weakness, and poor balance. During a severe exacerbation, a person’s daily activities could be a8da7fee83bb302fc12586a3f9ceba87affected and a short course of high-dose corticosteroids may be recommended by the specialist.

The high-dose of steroids helps reduce the severity and duration of the exacerbation. Even though steroids work well with the exacerbation, they can also have some rather unpleasant side effects including increased appetite, weight gain, fluid retention, high blood pressure, irritability, confusion or delirium, increased risk for infection, and easy bruising.

Symptoms for each person with Multiple Sclerosis are different. Being aware of common triggers for an exacerbation is vital for each person to know and even though symptoms can occur without any notice it is important to try avoiding certain things the best one possibly can.

4 Common Triggers for an Exacerbation:

  • Stress- Part of living with an illness like MS is emotional stress which can lead to other common MS symptoms such as depression. Stress does have the potential to lead to additional MS symptoms such as fatigue and confusion. It is a crucial part of MS treatment to have a good and solid support network of people that can help out both physically and emotionally.5b5818d351fd852135d701917fb6483c
  • Fatigue- Sleep is essential for those with Multiple Sclerosis. Small issues like lack of sleep can trigger MS symptoms. It is very important to have good healthy eating habits, sleep well, and getting exercise daily which will help combat MS fatigue.
  • Infection- Infections cause about one-third of all exacerbation. Urinary tract infections are very common because some people with MS have reduced bladder function. Any infection can weaken the immune system; even the simple ones like a cold or the flu and cause an exacerbation. It is extremely important to avoid being around sick people, but when it is unavoidable be sure to wash hands frequently.
  • Heat- Infections leading to fever can be something to worry about considering increased body temperature is a very common trigger. MS symptoms, especially tingling gets worse in the summer because of the heat. It is predominant to get into the air conditioning or take a cool shower to reduce heat symptoms from occurring.

multiple-sclerosis-awareness-month-tshirt-ms-orange-ribbon-noirty-designsThank y’all for visiting my site and reading about what an exacerbation is. Speaking from personal experience an exacerbation can be awful and also frustrating. Even though I do know that steroids help the episode duration be shorter, they cause my mood to change so much that I have a hard time with them. They cause my temper to come out much faster than it normally would and also cause me to feel edgy and unable to sleep.27b889827d7b041c766fd1b5e7ba47fa

For any of you that have experienced an exacerbation and were put on steroids, how did the steroids make you feel and did they help the episode not last too long? Also, if you have anything you would like to add to this, please let me know. I always want to spread the awareness as much as I can because I think it is important. Even in 2020 I do still think there are a lot of misconceptions about MS and people are very quick to judge, which can cause feelings to be hurt. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love ❤, comfort, and many positive vibes!

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❤Always, Alyssa❤

Beware of Deadly Summer Heat!

Importantinformation[1]As temperatures are on a steady rise throughout the southern states, it seems as though Mother Nature is trying to either tell us something or she is playing an incredible ugly joke on us. Over Memorial Day weekend temperatures in the south are going to remain in the HIGH 90’s and possible even reach 100.

deadly summer heatSadly, it isn’t even officially summer and yet the temperatures are already extreme, so what does this mean for summer in the south? This will mean that many people will be at much higher risks for additional medical issues and possibly even worse than that. I do want to make y’all aware of those who could be at these higher risks:

  • People over the age of 65 years old.
  • Those who have medical conditions such as, diabetes, kidney disease or mental illness.
  • Individuals that take medication that could affect how their body reacts to the heat, like allergy, blood pressure, seizure, antidepressants or anti-psychotic medication or water pills.
  • Problematic alcohol and drug usage.tom204_0
  • A person with a disability.
  • People that have issues moving around, such as those who are wheelchair bound.
  • Pregnancy women and those who are breast feeding.
  • Babies and young children.
  • Those that are over-weight or obese.
  • People who exercise or work outdoors.
  • People who just recently arrived from cooler temperatures.

Even though there are going to be many people at risk during these hot months, there are things we can all do to possiblyScreen-Shot-2015-05-11-at-2.06.51-AM combat these insanely high temperatures. I am going to share a list of IMPORTANT things for us to remember:

  • Even when not thirsty, drink plenty of fluids anyway.
  • Keep cool by utilizing cool towels, put your feet in cold water or take cool, NOT a cold showers.
  • Spend as much time as possible in the air conditioning.
  • Block the sun with blinds, shades or curtains.
  • Stay out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day. The heat starts to build after 12pm, noon and tends to be the hottest around 3pm.
  • Wear light colors and loose clothing.summer-sun-1[1]
  • Eat smaller more frequent meals throughout the day. We should try eating cold meals, like salads, instead of hot meals.
  • Avoid heavy activities as much as possible!
  • Pay very close attention to information provided by the news or weather channels regarding extreme heat warnings.
  • Avoid alcohol!

excessive_heat_2018The heat tends to bother me in some awful ways, but high humidity causes even more issues for me. I know something I have found is, after my car has literally been baking in the sun for hours it feels way more like a mobile sauna than my car. I guess that was something pretty darn simple to realize! Now, considering my car is SO HOT, I cannot drive for a few minutes for obvious safety reasons and logic. I always do my best to wait with the windows down and the air conditioning starting to cool before starting the journey to wherever I am going. I do not start moving until the car is blowing cold air! I have found this to be very helpful and it does work, or at least it does for me!

plan aheadIf I need to leave my house for any reason at all, such as grocery shopping, I either wait until after the sun goes down or first thing in the morning. Planning tasks according to what can be completed at home and what can only be done by leaving the house is crucial. Of course I have always been an insane planner, so this is easy for me! It is not always easy  though to plan shopping or other activities because plans may change due to unforeseen obstacles, but that is when you just find alternative ways to accomplish your tasks to be taken care of.

I would like to answer y’all a few questions because of how amazing I find you! I will not put any extra stress on you, but at the same time I am strongly encouraging you to try hot-text-fire-flames[1]answering at least one of my questions. Does the heat affect you at all? If the heat does bothering you, what does it cause for you? How do you handle the heat, like what steps do you take to combat the heat difficulties? What bothers you more, heat or humidity or is it just a horrible combination?

thank-you[1]Thank you for visiting my site today. I do always appreciate your great thoughts and constant support. I hope you are enjoying the long weekend and you are feeling the best you possibly can! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love ❤, comfort, and many positive vibes!

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❤Always, Alyssa❤