For many people suffering with MS, knowing when to call the doctor is a difficult decision. Questions abound as to the significance of symptoms and what exactly is an exacerbation compared to the new “normal” for the patient.
An exacerbation (also called; a flare, attack or relapse), is a sudden worsening of a symptom or symptoms after a period of stability. Also included are new symptoms that suddenly appear or a symptom that grows worse lasting at least 24 hours. Remember; not all symptoms are always related to Multiple Sclerosis. Sometimes there is another underlying condition that is responsible.
Calling the doctor is always a good idea if you are unsure or uncomfortable about any aspects of what you are feeling. During this visit; it is a good time to review with the doctor what you can expect from the disease and from your treatment. This will help you to establish a baseline for your normal and what is considered an exacerbation.
During your visit with the doctor its important to ask questions and be an active part of your healthcare. Listen to what the doctor tells you and make notations of important points you want to remember. Make sure you communicate with your doctor if you do not think you can follow through with any of the recommended treatments.