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!

love-2-e1526867753936

❤Always, Alyssa❤

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

27b889827d7b041c766fd1b5e7ba47faWhat is Multiple Sclerosis?

March is Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness Month. Multiple Sclerosis is an incurable neurological condition that affects the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves.  The body’s immune system attacks the protective myelin sheaths that cover the nerve fibers which cause areas of scarring, known as sclerosis. The immune system also attacks and destroys the fatty myelin coating that surrounds and insulates nerve cells which is a process 348sknown as demyelination.

Experts suggest there being 250,000-350,000 people in the United States currently living with this illness. There is an indication the rate of the disease is increasing regularly in the 20th century with approximately 200 new cases each week. Those of Northern European descent have a higher risk for the disease, but Native Americans of North and South America and Asian Americans are at a lower risk. The disease is much more common in colder climates.

There are four types of Multiple Sclerosis, all having different characteristics.

  1. Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS). This is the most common form, RRMSbeing that 85% of those with MS are initially diagnosed with. Patients with this form will have relapses and periods of stability in between the relapses. Relapses are the episodes when new or worsening symptoms that are not caused by fever or infection appear. These episodes typically lase more than 48-hours. Between relapses are periods of remission where there is no clinical evidence of disease progression. Periods of remission can last for years, but this can range from person to person.
  2. Secondary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS) can basically be considered the SPMSsecond phase of the disease. Most people that are initially diagnosed with RRMS will transition to this form at some point. Symptoms with SPMS will worsen steadily over time with or without occurrences of relapses or remission. There may or may not be times of relapses caused by inflammation, but will continue towards the progressive phase indicating nerve damage or loss. With this form of MS, the disability only continues to get worse.
  3. Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) is less common than the ms_disease-course_PPMSother forms and only affects 10-15% of those with MS. On average people with PPMS start having symptoms between 35-39 years old. There is a slowly worsening of symptoms from the beginning with no relapses or remissions. With this type of MS there can be times of short-term, but temporary, minor improvements, however the decline of neurologic progression is constant. Symptoms of PPMS include pain, electric-shock-sensation running down the back and limbs when the neck is bent, trouble walking, vision problems, muscle weakness, trouble balancing, paralysis, numbness, prickling feeling, dizziness, shakiness, trouble thinking clearly, mood changes, depression, sexual problems, and trouble with bowel and bladder control.
  4. Progressive-Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (PRMS) is a rare form of MS. There will PRMSbe a steadily worsening of the state of the disease from the beginning with acute relapses, but no remission will occur. The symptoms of this form are the same as those with PPMS.

The first neurologic event suggesting MS is known as Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS), which usually lasts at least 24-hours. The symptoms will indicate a single lesion (Monofocal) or more than one lesion (Multi-focal) in the central nervous system (CNS). There are many symptoms involved with Multiple Sclerosis some being common and others being less common.

Common Symptoms Associated with Multiple Sclerosis86665331_3276961818997285_6990907139438936064_n

  • Fatigue (Mental and Physical)
  • Pain
  • Tingling or burning sensation in the arms, legs, trunk of body or face
  • Vision issues (blurred or loss of vision)
  • Stiff muscles
  • Attention and memory issues
  • Dizziness, vertigo, and clumsiness
  • Trouble walking

Less Common Symptoms Associated with Multiple Sclerosis

  • Migraines
  • Speech problems
  • Body tremors
  • Seizures
  • Hearing loss
  • Itching for no reason
  • Mood changes such as depression or euphoria
  • Ability to concentrate or multi-task effectively
  • Difficulty making decisions, planning or prioritizing

Secondary Symptoms that can develop

  • Bladder and bowel problems
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Osteoporosis
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sexual health issues

ms awareness marchWith all the possible symptoms one can experience, there are ways to manage most of them. Bladder control can be something one can experience and this can be rather embarrassing if it happens out in public, but there some suggested strategies to manage this.

  • Drink enough fluids. The kidneys need at least 2 liters of water daily in order to flush waste products. Do not try rationing intake because this could increase the risk of infection.
  • Time your drinks. Try to spread fluid intake evenly throughout the day.
  • Limited caffeine and alcohol intake. Both of these can increase the amount of MS Painurination.
  • Special exercises such as exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor.
  • Continence aids such as disposable pad can be beneficial.
  • Medication can be provided to reduce the urgency to urinate and help the bladder empty itself.

Pain with MS can be primarily due to the neurologic condition. Pain could also be due to secondary conditions, such as musculoskeletal issues as a result of altered posture or spasticity. The weakening of leg muscles tends to trigger aches and pain in the back or knees. The unfortunate truth is, people with Multiple Sclerosis can feel pain anywhere, but there are ways to help manage the pain which includes medication, physical therapy, and relaxation techniques.27b889827d7b041c766fd1b5e7ba47fa

Every person that lives with Multiple Sclerosis is different and deals with this illness in a way that serves them best. A person can experience similar issues as another but at the end of the day, we all handle it differently. Each symptom, relapse, remission, and medication affects each person vastly different but yet can understand what another person is going through. It is vital that no matter what stage the illness is, there needs to be an understanding of what our limitations are and to never push beyond that.

Thank you for visiting my site laughtoday! I hope the information I provided to you was helpful. There is a chance I have stated the same thing in previous years, but I do feel it is important for us to spread as much awareness as we can because it does not seem like this illness is going away anytime soon. I do want to believe that someday in our life time there will be a cure, but until then we must continue to live our lives the best we can. I hope you are having  a great day and feeling the best you can. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love ❤, comfort, and many positive vibes! 

love-2-e1526867753936

❤Always, Alyssa❤

 

P.S I will be doing additional posts about MS during the month, but felt they needed to be separate posts because there is SO much information available. The crazy thing is, no matter how many years I have lived with MS, reading about it is a little upsetting.  

 

 

 

More talk about MS!

ms march awarenessMultiple Sclerosis is a very complex and frustrating battle to face. Unfortunately, this illness does impact everyone’s life in  so many different ways and to the point it’s almost hard to pinpoint what is what! There have been various names people choose to use when referring to  MS; such as the snowflake disease or invisible illness. I think these terms can also be used in many other chronic illnesses as well because they are fitting. I mean if you think about it, there are no two snowflakes that are exactly the alike,  just like no illnesses experiences the exact same symptoms. Also, there are so many of these illnesses that are completely naked to the eye, so they are pretty much invisible in the bigger picture. 51209211_2039825619447292_5206443739896197656_n

Let me ask my wonderful fellow bloggers, whether you live with MS or know someone else that does, what do you already know about this not so fun illness? Honestly,I think the only thing everyone knows to be 100% true is this illness can vastly differ for each individual! There might be times throughout the years each person with MS will unfortunately have a new symptom emerge and they need to learn to cope with this. While no one wants to deal with anything additional and all symptoms can be daunting, there  really are always ways to carry on with life!

symptomsI know there may be countless responses to this, but what are your top 5 most challenging issues you have been forced to accept during your journey? One thing I find very challenging and the most aggravating is how completely unpredictable this illness is. I have and probably always will be an obsessive planner! It drives me crazy for any unplanned issues to appear without any warning! Over the years, I have learned to expect the unexpected and be willing to rearrange my plans.

Another part of my MS life I find challenging, but am learning to accept is there are th-26-300x111NEVER any real answers for the numerous questions I ask my doctor. I would have never thought my questions were so difficult that my specialist can’t answer them. I mean these doctors go through enough schooling they should have a wealth of knowledge to match this. I am sure the schooling for many years is very expensive and probably more money than I will make in MANY years! Maybe while in school they should have a class in good bedside manner because most neurologist have a terrible personality. I think they have a godlike and ego maniac demeanor. 

flat,550x550,075,f.u4The third challenging aspect of this life that I have almost accepted is, the complete ignorance and total lack of empathy most people have for others. The ugly glances and degrading comments I have seen and heard over my years, especially when I park in a handicap parking space are nothing short of hurtful! Even though I have lived with this for many years, these glances and comments still can bring me to tears. This really doesn’t have anything to do with me, but is all on them! These people probably believe that misery loves company and try to bring me down to their level, which I try to avoid!

It doesn’t matter how long I have struggled with this illness, fatigue still tries to kick my Worst-MS-symptombutt daily! It was always complicated for me when I was working full-time because it never failed at about 1:00 or 2:00 if I am lucky I was exhausted! I have accepted this issue and try my best to conserve my energy so I am not ready for a nap at lunch time!

Lastly and to keep this from being too terribly long, the final challenging thing for me to accept is the constant pain I feel. It often seems like I am going to always to battle with pain and with little to no relief. I do know that dwelling on this pain only causes the pain to worsen instead of lesson and this just  isn’t an option for me! I do try focusing on the positive in my life instead of the negative hoping these thoughts will trick my body into healing! I also believe acceptance is half the battle and laughcan help keep my stress in check which will in-turn lessen the pain.

I would like to thank y’all for stopping by my site today. I told y’all on March 1st that for MS Awareness month I wanted to shed more light on this illness because knowledge is power! I am looking forward to reading your comments and do hope this was helpful for you!

I hope you have had a good week and of course hope you are feeling well. The weekend is finally here and  I hope you enjoy every moment of it! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love ❤, comfort and  many positive vibes!

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❤Always, Alyssa❤

Hello March!

MarchGood morning y’all! We are now welcoming March with hopes for not only new opportunities,  but many happier days ahead of us. I am sure most of us are wondering when the weather worldwide will improve, considering it has been pretty all over the place. The numerous changes with weather has effected the safety and well-being of so many people. There has been treacherous rainfall in many areas and then horrible heat waves in other areas of the world. It almost seems like Mother Nature is very upset about something and is doing her best to get our attention.

Y’all might already know this, but March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. Of course for many people myself included, this illness is much more than just one monthflat,550x550,075,f.u4 of awareness because it is our daily battle. I believe this is a struggle that tests our strengths and forces us to not give up on ourselves but continue to fight a good fight!

There is no denying the fact that being diagnosed with this very unpredictable illness is emotional and terrifying. Even though this illness has been acknowledged since it was discovered in the 1800’s in England, there is still SO much left unknown which is pretty frustrating! Much research has been done and yet there still isn’t a cure or even a known cause for this illness. With the amount of “so-called” intelligent doctors and scientists working on finding cures, it leaves me at a loss for words for why there still hasn’t been one found yet. I often question what they are really doing with the all money that has been raised and donated to places like the MS Foundation or these walks for a cure.

ms march awarenessWhen I started blogging way back in July of 2017, my goals were to raise awareness of Multiple Sclerosis but also spread as much positivity as I possibly could. During this time I have been fortunate enough to meet others around the world that understand what I live with and the challenges I face. I have been able to gain SO much additional knowledge to what I already knew about Multiple Sclerosis and this has all been very beneficial. I think it often takes strength in numbers to deal with any type of chronic illness and the blogging community definitely offers this and SO much more! I do appreciate all my ❤ blogging friends ❤ more than words could ever begin to say. 

Many of you already know a lot about Multiple Sclerosis, but during this month I want to continue to raise awareness of this illness that tried and failed to control my life. My wp-1456957606031plans are to share more of my personal experiences and lessons I have learned while living with this illness. I must say the most valuable lesson I have learned through my years is, stress is our worst enemy and must be avoided at all costs! I am still teaching myself how to stress less, but I do fail miserably with this too often! I will be sharing with you which symptoms I experience most frequently and how they try to affect my day-to-day life, but how I fight against this as well!

I am going to explore new things that could possibly cause Multiple Sclerosis symptoms to worsen and other things that can potentially help these symptoms stay inactive, which we all really want to happen! There are actually foods that can increase inflammation, which is terrible for those of us with Multiple Sclerosis.

a02951d061ebca2ba4855c39ee90d206--like-a-girl-autoimmune-diseaseI want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for stopping by my site today. I always appreciate the support you offer me every day. I do hope March will be a great month for you and you are feeling the best you can. I do look forward to reading what your thoughts are about this post and anything you know about MS, I will respond just as quickly as I can. Never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love ❤, comfort and many positive vibes!

My signature heart

 

❤Always, Alyssa❤