First Year MS Action Plan

What to Expect the First Year After MS Diagnosis

In the first year after diagnosis, we anticipate that you will be learning more about the specifics of your disease. It is our goal to assist you in understanding your disease. We will teach you about symptom recognition and management including the following:

  • What symptoms will resolve
  • What symptoms might recur regularly and under what circumstances
  • How to recognize symptoms of an exacerbation
  • How best to manage symptoms that are intermittent and those that may be ongoing
  • Identify disease modifying therapies that are best for you
  • Identify if there is a clinical trial appropriate for you
  • Frequency of clinic visits
  • Frequency of MRI scans for ongoing monitoring of your MS

We have set aside the following general guidelines to help you create a care plan for next year. Please recognize that this model is flexible and will be tailored to best fit your needs.

After your first visit to establish a diagnosis of MS, we will discuss the individualized treatment and follow-up plan that suits you and your disease pattern best. Typically, this involves a few visits early on after starting a new treatment to check in and see how effective and how you are tolerating this medication along with lab testing to monitor for any possible adverse effects.

Additionally, we track MS in three ways:

  1. Your self-reported symptoms
  2. Your MRI scans
  3. Your physical exam findings at our visits

For a newly diagnosed patient with MS, the expectation is that an MRI is repeated between six and 12 months after starting a new medication and typically with follow-up scans every 12 months for the first few years until repeatedly stable.

In addition, after the first year, we have an Annual MS Wellness Visit which includes a number of simple tests to keep track of your symptoms and monitor your MS optimally.