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
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