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MS Article

What is Relapsing and Remitting

 Multiple Sclerosis?


Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis or Relapsing ms is known for the relapses or exacerbations that are typically thought of as part of the main characteristics of MS.  What tends to happen is that during the relapses or exacerbations, new symptoms can appear or previously seen symptoms can reappear or the current symptoms can become worse.

Often the relapses can be followed by periods of remission, or periods of time where there seems to be a plateau in the symptoms and the person tends to partially or fully recover from the loss of their abilities during the periods of relapse. Relapses can last for days, weeks or even months and recovery can either be slow and gradual or at times the recovery time can even appear to be instantaneous. 

The majority of the cases of MS appear to be Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, when the people are first diagnosed.  Often people that are diagnosed with Relapse-Remitting ms are typically first diagnosed when they are in their twenties or thirties, although there are patients that can also be diagnosed much earlier or much later in life than this. It appears that twice as many women as men tend to be diagnosed with Relapsing and Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. 

Doctors have reported that during the relapses, that myelin, a protective insulating sheath around the nerves that are located in the Central Nervous System or CNS is damaged during an inflammatory response by the body’s own immune system. This can also be called Demyelinating Multiple Sclerosis.  This can cause a broad range of symptoms that can vary to a wide degree, based on where the scarring in the CNS occurs and where the damage results.

We tend to hear so much about the damage to the myelin sheath that occurs from the scarring caused by MS to the CNS, but what is not as well known is that immediately after the relapse occurs, and the inflammatory response dies down a special cell, called glial cells, which prompt the body to start to repair the myelin and the nerve cells that were damaged in the CNS during the attack or exacerbation.  Glial cells are the maintenance and repair cells for the Blood brain Barrier (BBB) that surrounds and protects the brain from toxins and also for the myelin sheath, which surrounds the spinal cord in addition to all the other nerves throughout the Central Nervous System (CNS). The process of the remyelination that occurs is what actually is responsible for the remissions that are seen in the Relapsing and Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. 

At this point in time, it appears that approximately 50% of the patients that are diagnosed with Relapsing and Remitting Multiple Sclerosis convert to Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis within 10 years after the person is first diagnosed and it appears that after 30 years, this figure rises to 90%.  At any one point, the Relapse-Remitting form of Multiple Sclerosis appears to account for around 55% of all people with Multiple Sclerosis.



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2009. TamingMultipleSclerosis.com All Rights Reserved.