Understanding Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS)
In multiple sclerosis (MS), the brain and spinal cord, basically the central nervous system, become damaged. MS is an autoimmune disease. It is caused when the immune system attacks the myelin sheath (insulating layer). The nerves will be damaged in this case and can’t perform their functions and pass signals properly. The classification of MS was published by an international panel in 1999, in which Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis is the most common type of MS.
In Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS), patients undergo relapses or flare-up of the disease. In between these flare-ups, a patient has periods of recovery or remissions. A patient may face mild symptoms or no symptoms during remissions.
The symptoms can be new and worse in the episodes of relapses that can last for more than 48 hours. Symptoms may vary from person to person.
Let’s explore the symptoms and other related things of RRMS.
It has been mentioned already that the symptoms of Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis depend from person to person. Patients can either have one sign and symptom, while others may have many. They can modify with the passage of time.
Most probable symptoms include
In dysesthesia, a patient may experience a squeezing sensation around the torso. It is an abnormal and painful sensation.
Difficulty in walking, speech, and see
The damage of the nerve coverings leads to MS exacerbation, and its severity can cause problems in walking, speech, and seeing. Sometimes the symptoms can be worsened, and a patient can lose balance and be unable to walk. They can’t see properly. Patients feel trouble seeing from one eye or both, and these symptoms can be more problematic over time. They have blurry vision or face involuntary movement of eyes.
Other common symptoms are vision problems, bladder problems, cognitive changes, depression, lack of coordination, sexual and emotional problems, and numbness or tingling in the feet. There are patients of RRMS who also experience breathing problems, swallowing and taste problems, tremors, and seizures.
When the damage occurs to at least two areas of the central nervous system at various times, the doctors consider diagnosing and assessing RRMS. They will ask questions related to the symptoms of RRMS to the patients. A patient need to go for an MRI of the brain and spine so the MRI report can assess the areas of damage in the brain and spine.
Another test measures visual evoked potentials that can be taken place as per the doctors’ instructions. It would occur to measure the brain’s response to the things that a patient sees by placing the painless electrodes on the scalp.
Also, blood will be analyzed to see other factors of the disease. The spinal fluid sample can also be examined by a spinal tap test called a lumbar puncture.
There is a substantial cure to Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. But the treatment and medication can lower the inflammation and decrease symptoms. Also, these medications can slow down the progression of the disease.
The number of relapses can be reduced and prevented by disease-modifying treatments. The oral drugs are given to the patients, and also they can have injections. It depends on the type of medication. It’s necessary to understand the condition. One should know the side effects and risks before taking disease-modifying treatment medication.
During flare-ups, there is a constant need to reduce the symptoms. Steroids help to reduce symptoms. Oral or intravenous steroids can be given to speed up the recovery and lower the worse condition.
Steroids don’t work for the long term. Then plasmapheresis (a blood cleansing procedure) may also be recommended by the healthcare provider.
Other medications include
Doctors provide medication to RRMS patients to modify the function of their immune system to decrease autoimmune activity. These therapeutics include Beta Interferon, Glatiramer acetate, Monoclonal antibodies, Dimethyl fumarate, and Fingolimod. Doctors may prescribe medicines to treat muscle spasms, depression, erectile dysfunction, or fatigue.
Lifestyle with RRMS
Lifestyle has a significant impact on the health of Relapses-Remitting MS patients. A person can decrease the progression of the disease by skipping unhealthy habits like quitting smoking, sleeping all day, and waking all night, etc.
· Having a healthy and balanced diet is necessary to live with this disease. Trans fat and saturated fat should be lowered in the diet. Foods that have healthy omega-3 fatty acids should be consumed by the patient. It’s because these kinds of foods can help to fight inflammation.
· Regular and moderate exercises, meditation, and yoga really help to balance the functions of the body and maintain physical health. It also boosts mental health, which plays a significant role in RRMS.
· Proper physical therapy should be endorsed for RRMS patients to reduce disability.
· Overheating is one of the triggers for MS and RRMS, and a patient needs to avoid the situations that lead them to be overheated.
· Prescribed medication on time can suppress the effect of the disease.
· A patient should get 8 hours of sleep at night to keep a healthy routine.
One can alter the lifestyle and see worth noticing changes in the progression of RRMS.
Progression of RRMS
The disease Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis can progress to the progressive form, Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) and Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS). It eventually worsens the neurologic function, and the inflammatory process of RRSM proceeds to proper nerve loss. The research has shown that around 50% of people with RRMS progress the disease into SPMS within 20 years.
The progressive rate of RRMS to SPMS increases gradually over time. The chances of Primary Progressive MS and Secondary Progressive MS are two to three times more often in women than in men. Lifestyle, medication, and constant care by releasing depression and unnecessary stress can help to decrease this progression rate.
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