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Residual symptoms after an attack
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Residual symptoms after an attack

Hi,
My daughter had an exacerbation in October. She needed to have PT and OT for strenghthening and coordination. When she was home for her semester break in January she was fine. She saw her neuro and was good except for some slight numbness on her right extremities. Now she's back to college and since last week she is having problems again. Her right hand and leg are numb and there is some weakness.She is managing to take notes in classes using a special grip from the OT for her pen. Anyway, my question is how long can these symptoms continue? Can this lead to another attack? She is dxed with R/R type MS and currently using avonex, although she will soon be switching to copaxone. This is her 4th episode since she was dxed, 18 months ago. That seems like a lot to me, especially since she is an the medicine.
Also are these residual symptoms doing more damage to the myelin or are they a result of the damage that has been done?
Thank you for your help.
Barb
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Barb:

Sorry to hear about your daughter.  Each patient is individual and exacerbations are individual as well.  Sometimes the loss of function may last longer than previous attacks and sometimes less.  It depends on many factors.  The medication helps, but it is not a cure, nor does it prevent all exacerbations.  If the symptoms are getting worse, one could do another MRI and see if there are new enhancing lesions.  Having residual symptoms will not lead to another attack. The symptoms are from the disease itself. Whatever the triggers for an exacerbation your daughter has will be the factor, whether that be another viral illness, fever from various reasons, etc.  

I hope that this has helped.

Sincerely,

CCF Neuro MD
6 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your answer. It seems that stress-related issues have been the trigger for these symptoms and even her attack in Oct. She has already had 10 MRI's done so unless the symptoms worsen we will hold off on having another one. Maybe she will do better on the different drug. I realize they all work differently for each individual. I hope so because the stress has been pretty unavoidable and nothing too major, just a lot of school work and missing her fiance. Maybe she should try some yoga classes to help her learn how to relax. At any rate, thank you for answering my question.
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Barb:

MS is not a fun disease, but the new medication do help for most patients.  Stress is a contributor to exacerbation, so anything to help is likely beneficial for the MS also.

Sincerely,

CCF Neuro MD
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Avatar_n_tn
Studying in itself is stressful, Barb. I know for me stress was a major factor in my onset attack of MS. I had six months of working 90hr weeks (including weekends) and something had to give! The stress of work and I first came out in a beeeeautiful all over body rash called (pretty name for a not pretty rash!) pityriasis rosea which lasted TWELVE weeks during which I lost my hearing. But I still went to work hearing thru one ear! My glands went up but boy I still hung in there getting more stressed and of course the body gave up! I had the most diabolical attack that left me in hospital for weeks.

The thing is, I found that while the major symptoms went in under six weeks I had sensory residual that took longer to clear and still flares up when its hot weather or I'm stressed.

Bummer of a disease, isn't it. Best part is I get the darn rash flaring as well. Its like I'm allergic to stress, which in the modern world is a no go area.
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes I know studying is stressful. It is awful that stress has to trigger symptoms for so many people. I seriously want my daughter to try yoga when she's home this summer and I seriously will take it with her.
Thanks for your reply and good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
thanks for the comment.

CCF Neuro MD
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