In this video, Armistead Williams III, MD, of the International Multiple Sclerosis Management Practice in Manhattan, speaks about the primary care physicians’ role in the care of patients with this complex illness. Dr Williams notes that great progress has been made in the diagnosis and management of MS over the past 2 decades, and he underscores the importance of scrupulous proactive care.
Dr. Williams describes exciting advances in the treatment of patients with relapsing remitting MS—new treatment options, more emphasis on preventive care—that are leading to better outcomes. Among the issues he discusses here:
• When might you suspect MS when symptoms are subtle?
• What specific questions might you ask when you suspect MS?
• What signs and symptoms should you look for on the neurologic examination?
• When should you consider referral to a neurologist?
• Why early diagnosis and therapy can improve outcomes.
• Important components of care (ie, compliance with medications; medication changes with disease flares; smoking cessation; MRI scans of the brain to detect “silent” new lesions).
• When to call the neurologist.
• Is it safe to vaccinate?
• Is anesthesia safe? Surgery?
• The need to empower patients to seize control and to make healthy changes