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Address Primary Symptoms to Avoid Secondary Ones

May 11, 2017

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex disease that can affect everyone differently, generating random symptoms. To help us understand, symptoms are categorized either as primary MS or secondary MS.

Primary MS symptoms are the direct result of the disease itself — byproducts of the damaged nerves in the spinal cord and the brain. Secondary MS symptoms stem from the primary symptoms. These effects can be overwhelming, but on a positive note, secondary symptoms may be eradicated if the primary symptoms can be controlled.

Kathleen Costello, MS, CRNP, asserts examples of primary and secondary symptoms. She states that urinary urgency (primary) could develop into a urinary tract infection (secondary). Weakness and gait issues (primary) could progress to hip and back pain (secondary), and being immobile (primary) can lead to pressure sores (secondary). This is why it’s important to try to catch the primary symptoms before they could progress into something worse.

Debi Wilson, author of the article, shares her personal experience: “Another primary symptom is a sedentary lifestyle, which can lead to many added symptoms. It is important to be as active as you can, for as long as you can. Even a small amount of movement for a short amount of time is important, so try to be active. This is something I work on daily, most times even forcing myself to keep moving. Fatigue takes a toll, so that moving isn’t my first choice. But I know how important it is, so I do it.”

Remember to stay on top of primary symptoms and manage them in the proper and healthy way. This can also possibly help improve MS patients’ quality of life.