I'm newly diagnosed. I asked a friend of a friend that has MS how you know if you're having a flare-up and she said you really don't. My understanding is that if you feel better later then you know it was a relapse. This really doesn't make sense to me because then how do you know when to call your doctor? This is a whole new and confusing world!
I was diagnosed in August 09 and I still have a hard time distinguishing symptom from relapse...My MS nurse told me if it is something u notice that last's continually for more than 24 hrs to contact my neuro as it could be a relapse..She said it could be something as small as pins and needle's in my pinky finger!! It's hard I know!! : )
As I understand it...
When you are in a "flare up, relapse, attack" there is more activity going on in your brain. More damage being done by a lesion forming or an existing lesion getting larger. Then there is some healing that takes place as the inflammation goes down and the lesion stops forming and scars. This will possibly leave you with a somewhat permanent symptom. So a symptom is something that doesn't really go away. It can be constant like aching legs or on and off like tingling or tremors.
Now, I would consider a brand new symptom, something you've never had or felt before, to be a "flare up, relapse, attack". Maybe a new lesion in a different area of your brain. Or the reappearance of an existing symptom or increased prevalence of an existing symptom for a period of time would be considered a flare up. Example: one of the main things I could think of when asked by the doc as possible symptoms when all this started was hand tremors and speech problems. Well, I didn't notice it too much for a long time, at least not anything more than the norm, then in November I noticed for a week or two that my tremor was back and my getting tongue tied was back (it's probably always there but it becomes normal). My doc got upset that I didn't call him and didn't get an MRI because that was most likely a relapse.
There is also exacerbation. That is why when a symptom gets worse it has to last at least 24 or 48 hours to be considered a relapse. Exacerbation is an increase in a symptom due to something you did. You get too hot or did too much that day so all or some of your symptoms get worse at that time.
Symptom= something you had or have that continues, may get better or worse at times
Relapse= brand new symptom or a noticable increase or spread in an existing symptom that last at least 24 hours to even months.
Exacerbation= a temporary increase in a symptom due to an outside circumstance
Hope I'm not way off in any of this, like I said this is just how I see it. Some of it is a gray area because there is activity without lesions, etc etc.
Thanks for the great information! I will have to print this to refer to later when I'm confused.
You have no idea how much this helps!!!! So the symptoms I woke with yesterday, the facial droop, coupled with waking today with vertigo, a headache and the "hug" around my chest is probably a flareup or relapse, even tho I have not been diagnosed yet. I will contact my neuro tomorrow maybe this will push things up a little as my next appt with her was for march.
I don't know what I would do without this forum, I am so glad to have found you guys!!!
THIS IS ALL STILL SO NEW TO ME 2 & I AM SO CONFUSED ALL THE TIME IT SEEMS LIKE... THANKS EVERBODY
LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE
Everyone is differant it always takes me back when I am in a flare I just think its a bad day then everything comes in the normal odd symtoms we all get.
The eyes and balance with fatique are my main warning symtoms.
UTIs constipation burning toes.
Like you green I am still trying to understand this condition.
take care tarter