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does exacerbation mean progression

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Old 03-06-2008, 02:39 PM   #1
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does exacerbation mean progression

If I am having an attack/exacerbation, does that mean, I am having progression or just flare up of old symptoms...I know there is all kind of new theories on this, even one, that you don't have to have exacerbation or new lesions to get worse..

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Old 03-06-2008, 04:20 PM   #2
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Re: does exacerbation mean progression

HI. Youre asking a question which many people dont understand. NO. Having an excaberation does not mean progression. An excaberation, also known as a relapse (same thing) means that you are either having new symtoms or the return of old ones, which last more than 24 hours.

Symtoms come and go..sometimes randomly, sometimes for a few hours or off and on...but they dont hinder your life or cause real problems for any period of time, other than to scare us to death and make us crazy thinking about them.

New lesions USUALLY mean new symtoms...however, not always. Depending on where the lesion shows up, you might not notice a single thing. I have over 50 lesions and have been told I have probably had MS for more than 10 years...until I woke up one day with a numb tingling hand- I had absolutely NO idea that anything was wrong with me. Of course, in doing a history, I did start to see patterns...heat sensitivity, some balance issues and some eye problems...but I had no idea I was dealing with MS. So, to really answer your question, new lesions DO NOT always mean new symtoms..but in many cases, you will have something new going on....

SO, does that mean progression? No. MS is a disease which is broken into basically four catagories...and most of us have relapsing/remitting.. This does NOT always lead to Secondary Progressive or any of the other forms. In many cases, people do NOT progress some, they do. Most people with MS will never need a wheelchair or device to assist them in walking, but some feel that because of muscle weakness, they do better having that option or necessity to help them. Most people will never have the full range of disability type symtoms, but some will....unfortunately, it seems that men progress quicker than women and at a more steady pace- women also seem to have the advantage if they are dx before the age of 40. I was dx one week before my 40th birthday, does that mean Im safe?

Its really hard to keep yourself balanced especially when new symptoms hit, but its especially important to take care of yourself mentally, as well as physically. I truly belive that when I stopped caring, talking about it, and obsessing about being dx with MS, I started to feel better overall. To this day, I still have a numb , tingling hand- and I have a few other random symtoms which come and go- but overall, me and my Rebif are doing fine.

Hope this helps you.
RRMS- dx 05

Old 03-06-2008, 08:42 PM   #3
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Re: does exacerbation mean progression

MS is a progressive disease. While it is true that progression may not be present with each flare-up, only a doctor can measure the possibility of progress. Your doctor can order an MRI to get a better picture to indicate whether there are new lesions.

I now have PPMS (Primary Progressive MS). Am I "progressing"? Sometimes my doctor will indicate progression and sometimes there is no change.

Progress is nothing to fear. I know that I will eventually progress to a worse condition, but I do not have time to worry about it! LOL, I will have plenty of time to look back at my life when I am 100 years old

Old 03-10-2008, 05:43 PM   #4
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Re: does exacerbation mean progression

MS Nik,

Have enjoyed reading just a few of your replies, and am encouraged by you but new to this board. In the process of being diagnosed now and really scared. Already have 15 lesions...abnormal VEP/SEP and some additional 'funkiness' with my spinal MRI. When it rains it pours!

Thanks to all for your contributions and sharing your stories. I'll share more once I get a bit more clarity.

Old 03-30-2008, 07:44 PM   #5
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Re: does exacerbation mean progression

Hi Wendy,

I saw my new neurologist the other day. He tells me that Copaxone and the interferons are truly changing the course of MS for most of us with RRMS. Progression for those dxd with RRMS is slowing down and many (I would venture to guess that most of us) will not progress radically if we're using C or the interferons. My new neuro also told me that Tysabri is working even better than the CRABs.

It is my understanding that whether we are experiencing an exacerbation, whether symptoms are "flaring", or whether we have no symptoms whatsoever, we are constantly progressing. However, it is the speed of progression that makes the difference.

Anything that slows progression for you is the key to living a good life in spite of MS. For me, the things that seem to work the best are, in this order: de-stressing to the max, a postive attitude, good nutrition, and, using Copaxone.


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