HERE TO EXPLAIN
RELAPSING MS.

The more you know about relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, the greater understanding you’ll have about how to manage therapy to fit your life. Get started by educating yourself on these key topics of the disease:


Newly diagnosed with relapsing MS?
Learn helpful tips from an MS specialist:

What is MS?1-3

MS is most commonly known as a disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS), but two systems are involved in MS—the CNS and the immune system.

The nervous system has 2 main parts:

  • The central nervous system (CNS) is made up of the brain and spinal cord.

  • The peripheral nervous system (PNS) is made up of nerves that branch off from the spinal cord and extend to all parts of the body.

Neurons, or nerve cells, send signals through the CNS to other parts of the body along nerve fibers called axons. These signals control physical functions like balance and muscle coordination, as well as memory and other cognitive abilities.

The immune system consists of unique types of cells such as T cells and B cells and proteins designed to identify and destroy infectious organisms and other invaders and incorrectly functioning cells.

What causes MS?1,4-6

Currently, the exact cause of MS is unknown. Inflammatory T cells attack the myelin that protects the axons, or nerve tissue, in the CNS. This 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.

A diagram about the autoimmune response to multiple sclerosis

Image

What are the symptoms of MS?5-7

MS symptoms are highly individual, just like MS patients. They are unpredictable and vary from one person to another. The symptoms you may experience vary, depending on the location and the extent of the damage in your central nervous system. You may find that you experience some of the symptoms at different times during the course of MS. The most common MS symptoms are:

  • weakness

  • fatigue

  • numbness or tingling

  • walking (gait) difficulties

  • spasticity

  • dizziness

  • vision problems

  • bladder problems

  • bowel problems

  • depression

  • memory loss

  • difficulty concentrating

What is the difference between relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) and Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS)?8-11

A person diagnosed with MS has damage in at least 2 separate areas of the CNS which occurred at different points in time and all other possible diagnoses have been ruled out.

RRMS is the most common form of MS, affecting approximately 85% of people with MS. Two or more attacks (relapses), are usually followed by partial or complete recovery. During remissions, there is no progression of disease and all symptoms may disappear.

People diagnosed with CIS may experience only 1 attack, or event, of MS-like symptoms and may have brain lesions consistent with MS. Clinical studies have shown that treatment following a diagnosis of CIS can delay a second attack, thereby delaying the diagnosis of clinically definite relapsing MS. Starting treatment at an early stage and continuing treatment with an approved relapsing MS therapy can reduce relapses and may help reduce future damage from the outset.

What are the risk factors of MS?12-14

Based on the worldwide distribution of MS, scientists have identified factors that may provide clues to the possible causes of MS. These include the following:

  • Gender: Women are 2 to 3 times more likely to have MS than men.

  • Genetics: MS is not directly inherited; however, the risk of getting MS rises in people who have a close relative (parent, sibling, or child) with MS.

  • Age: Most people are diagnosed with MS between the ages of 20 and 50.

  • Ethnic background: MS affects most ethnic groups, but it is more common among people of northern European ancestry.

  • Geography: MS occurs more frequently in people who live farther from the equator. Worldwide, more than 2.3 million individuals may be affected.


When should I seek treatment for relapsing MS?15

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS):
Your doctor may consider starting treatment with an approved therapy as soon as possible after a diagnosis of relapsing MS, or after a first attack with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings consistent with MS, and other possible causes have been ruled out.

References:

  1. What is an immune-mediated disease? National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Accessed August 24, 2020. https://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/Definition-of-MS/Immune-mediated-disease

  2. What are the parts of the nervous system? Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) website. Accessed August 24, 2020. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/neuro/conditioninfo/parts

  3. How the brain works. Johns Hopkins website. Accessed August 24, 2020. https:/www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/centers_clinics/brain_tumor/about-brain-tumors/how-the-brain-works.html

  4. Multiple sclerosis. Mayo Clinic website. Accessed August 24, 2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/multiple-sclerosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350269

  5. MS the disease. National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Accessed August 24, 2020. https://www.nationalmssociety.org/About-the-Society/Press-Room/MS-the-Disease

  6. Definition of MS. National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Accessed August 24, 2020. https://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/Definition-of-MS

  7. MS symptoms. National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Accessed August 24, 2020. https:/www.nationalmssociety.org/Symptoms-Diagnosis/MS-Symptoms

  8. Diagnosing MS. National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Accessed August 24, 2020. https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Symptoms-Diagnosis/Diagnosing-MS

  9. Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Accessed August 24, 2020. https://www.nationalmssociety.org//What-is-MS/Types-of-MS/Relapsing-remitting-MS

  10. Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS). National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Accessed August 24, 2020. https://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/Types-of-MS/Clinically-lsolated-Syndrome-(ClS)

  11. Treatments of CIS. National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Accessed August 24, 2020. https://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/Types-of-MS/Clinically-Isolated-Syndrome(ClS)/Treatments

  12. Who gets MS? (Epidemiology). National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Accessed August 24, 2020. https://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/Who-Gets-MS

  13. What causes MS? National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Accessed August 24, 2020. https://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/What-Causes-MS

  14. Multiple sclerosis FAQs. National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Accessed August 24, 2020. https://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/MS-FAQ-s

  15. The use of disease-modifying therapies in multiple sclerosis: principles and current evidence. National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Accessed August 24, 2020. https://www.nationalmssociety.org/getmedia/1e64b96c-9e55-400e-9a64-0cdf5e2d60fe/summaryDMTpaper-_final

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