MS 101: What is Relapsing MS?

  • by Teva's Lift MS Team
  •   October 10, 2016

Relapses, attacks, flare-ups…you may have heard a variety of different terms, but what do they all mean? 

First, some background: multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS) as well as the immune system. In MS, inflammatory T cells attack the myelin that protects the nerve tissue in the CNS. The attack on myelin results in scar tissue called scleroses (lesions) and disrupts the body’s ability to send signals from one part of the CNS to another, causing MS symptoms.

Relapsing MS (RMS) is the most common form of multiple sclerosis and is defined by episodic symptoms. These episodes, or relapses, refer to periods of time during which multiple sclerosis symptoms worsen or new symptoms appear. Also known as attacks, exacerbations or flare-ups, relapses must last at least 24-48 hours to be considered a relapse and can last for several days up to months. Relapses are also considered temporary—they are followed by partial or complete recovery (remission).

In some cases, those living with MS may experience a temporary worsening of symptoms that is not related to inflammation or nerve damage. This is called a pseudoexacerbation. This may be related to illness, infection, exercise, heat or other factors.

During a relapse, common RMS symptoms include weakness, fatigue, walking problems, blurred vision and cognitive issues. At these times, someone living with RMS may require additional assistance at home or work, including help with childcare, housework or transportation until symptoms abate.

While we hope this information is helpful, we encourage you to seek counsel from your healthcare provider for any questions specific to your experience or that of a loved one. Please remember this blog is for general informational purposes only and does not replace conversations with your doctor. Please discuss any change in symptoms with your doctor.

Additional resources:

To learn more about RMS, read “What is Relapsing MS?”, or visit the National MS Society or the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America.

Leave a comment below

More posts you might like

Register today

Get the latest posts and resources from Teva's Lift MS.

Comments
Thank you for your comment!
It is currently being reviewed to make sure it complies with our Rules of Engagement. If it does, it will be shared with the community shortly, so continue to check back. We appreciate you being a part of the Lift MS™community.
8 Comment(s)
  • Theresa | October 10, 2016
    I really wish I had read this a month ago. So many questions would have been answered for me.
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | October 11, 2016
      It sounds like you’ve been through a lot, Theresa. We’re glad you’ve reached out for support. Let us know how we and the community can help.
  • Barbara Antonopoulos | October 10, 2016
    Thank you for the information it was very helpful
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | October 11, 2016
      We are happy you are finding value in the blog, Barbara! Please continue to check back for more info.
  • Cindy | October 10, 2016
    Thank you !!!
  • carol | October 10, 2016
    I would like to learn more about this topic
  • Anonomous | October 14, 2016
    Thank you for the helpful information.
  • Pamela | October 16, 2016
    God bless my friends with these afflictions....thanks for your articles..
  • Burke | November 18, 2016
    I understand my friends wife has this.
  • Gregg | November 30, 2016
    I've had RMS since 2010, but instead of playing Golf or Tennis, I've switched to Backgammon and Scrabble. Gregg
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | December 01, 2016
      It sounds like you’ve found something that works for you, Gregg – kudos for your efforts! Please keep us posted, and be sure to check back for more tips from the community.