It can be hard enough to remember what you ate for lunch yesterday. Relying on memory to track multiple sclerosis might not be enough.
Keeping track diligently of MS symptoms, flares, and treatments are a crucial part of finding out what is working – and just as importantly, what isn’t working. Having reliable and clean logs will make it easier to share accurate and identical information with all members of your care team and any new doctors you may see. But what should you track?
Tracking MS Symptoms
If you are newly diagnosed or questioning if you have the disease, this is particularly important. Tracking your MS symptoms daily can help you identify patterns in how you are feeling. For example, it can be easy to remember having headaches last week. But, it may be harder to remember how many days you experienced headaches and information about the pain.
Common MS symptoms to track:
- Difficulty walking
- Muscle Stiffness
When tracking MS symptoms, you should record:
- Start and stop dates / times
- New / Existing
Keep a medication log
When paired with the MS symptom tracking, a medication log can be an invaluable tool to determine potential side effects of medications. It can also help determine if a medication cocktail is having the desired impact, or if it may need to be adjusted.
A medication log should include:
- The day and time for which you are recording
- The name, strength, and dose of medication that WAS TAKEN
- For reference, the name, strength, dose, and schedule of the medication that WAS PRESCRIBED
Track your periods
For women that are still menstruating, tracking your periods can be an additional point of comparison to the symptom and medication logs. You may be able to identify additional patterns such as increased fatigue or soreness.
If the uptick in the symptoms is significant, your treatment team may be able to develop strategies or treatments to minimize symptoms throughout your cycle.
You can use Flutter on your smartphone to track this.
Monitor your diet
There is plenty of misinformation on the internet about miracle food cures for MS. While those are not to be trusted, tracking your food intake may help you identify which foods make you feel better or worse. Additionally, it is important to maintain a balanced diet to ensure proper health. Apps such as MyFitnessPal have large food directories. By tracking daily, you will be able to track your caloric intake and ensure you are getting enough of each essential element, like fats, proteins, sodium, carbs, and sugars. Without tracking, you may not realize how far off you are from the daily dietary guidelines.
Record your exercise
Exercise is all about goals. While you may not feel able to run a marathon, there are plenty of daily activities that keep you active and healthy. Tracking walking for five to ten minutes, climbing stairs, or full gym workouts can help you monitor your progress.
Yeah, but if I’m tracking every moment of my MS life, when do I have time to live?
There are apps for that.