Difference between fibromyalgia and MS

Note: I am not a medical professional nor do I intend to provide any medical advice to anyone. Please see your physician or neurologist if you have any health care concerns. My intention is to provide accurate information from the perspective of an informed patient.

Sometimes it’s hard to pin down which illness you have, as symptoms can look and feel alike. This is the case with MS and fibromyalgia. However, they are very different illnesses.

Despite the overlap in symptoms, diagnostic methods and profile risks, having one doesn’t put you at a higher risk of having the other illness.

If you suspect you have MS or fibromyalgia, please seek medical advice. A rheumatologist will be able to tell you if you have fibromyalgia, and a neurologist if indeed you have MS.

Continue reading “Difference between fibromyalgia and MS”

Preparing for your neurological appointment

multiple-sclerosis-s14-doctor-speaking-with-patientSeeing your neurologist can often make you feel anxious or afraid to speak up. Each appointment should be about exploring options, not about being bulldozed by a standardised litany of things you don’t want. Going in prepared will make you feel more at ease, so why not make a list of vital questions and things you need to discuss?

When you organise your thoughts, you feel more in control of the situation and sure of where you want to see your treatment go. After all, you are the one living with your illness. Don’t feel ashamed either in what you want to ask your neurologist, chances are they have heard similar things before, and they will be the least likely people to attack you for asking. Remember, the only silly question is the one that hasn’t been asked yet! Continue reading “Preparing for your neurological appointment”

TN triggers, symptoms, examination & diagnosis

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A number of causes can be attributed to facial pain, which makes a trigeminal neuralgia diagnosis an often challenging experience. Patient distress, as well as the clinical overlap with general dentistry, can lead to different kind of outcomes before the diagnosis is made. Because of this, close attention needs to be paid to avoid misdiagnosis, especially as one of the symptoms of a neurodegenerative illness.

In those without MS, compression of the trigeminal nerve is a common cause of TN. It is believed to be the pressing of a blood vessel on the trigeminal nerve as it leaves the brainstem, causing the wearing away of the protective coating around the myelin sheath around the nerve. When the nerve fibres short-circuit, electric shock-like pain happens.

People with MS are 20 times more likely to develop TN, of which approx. 20% can experience it on both sides of the face (although rarely at the same time). Compression is unlikely to be the reason in those living with MS, where the cause most likely is a demyelinating scar or plaque.

More rarely, symptoms of TN may be caused by nerve compression from a tumour. Injury to the trigeminal nerve (perhaps the result of sinus surgery, oral surgery, stroke, or facial trauma) may also produce neuropathic facial pain. Continue reading “TN triggers, symptoms, examination & diagnosis”

Bed?!

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You’ve probably been there before.

You say to yourself… “I will absolutely, unequivocally, no-doubt-about-it stay under the duvet to get rid of a bad ear infection, facial pain, unrelentless fatigue and a bout of the flu.”

Sometimes you also think, “I suppose everyone has a point when they say I have to listen to my body a little bit more.” Continue reading “Bed?!”

Medical terminology?

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Click image to view Medical Dictionary

One of the many issues ill people struggle with, is trying to explain how or what their clinical symptoms feel like. Vice versa, and after another round of being a guinea pig during clinical excellence exams for already established doctors, it was clear that many people request non-medical terminology from their doctors also. Continue reading “Medical terminology?”

How far do baby germs fly?

Oh yes, you’re reading correctly. That was my thinking last week while sitting in a warm, crowded neurology waiting room in a hospital that was advertised as closed to ill visitors of hospital patients. At least, that’s what posters on the entrance said, ‘No can do peeps, if you’re ill, you have to stay away’ (that kind of defeats the purpose of a hospital, right?). Reason: the winter vomiting bug, otherwise called the Norovirus.

While watching people walking in and out, and talking to another patient, an unknown, small entity entered the waiting room in a red pram. You know the type, tree wheels, and as red as a Ferrari Formula 1 vehicle for mature, adult babies. I saw that Little Schumi was cute, and was introduced to his very strong vocal range when not hurling coughing and sneezing microorganisms in all directions.

Perhaps more of a rock star than a F1 pilot, I gathered that dad would rather see him behind the wheel. Another sneeze came my way as the distance between the little fella and the ultimate destination of his bacilli was less than three feet between his tiny nose and my adult nose. Yes, that nose, that sniffling thing attached to an immune-compromised body that happens to be owned by myself.

Continue reading “How far do baby germs fly?”

MS in numbers

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Because not every country has a MS register yet, it is difficult getting exact figures about how many people have MS. This means that some figures are estimates only. While the numbers below (taken from different websites), may sound frightening, it’s important to focus on the good. Continue reading “MS in numbers”