Everyone Wants Know Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis:

Progressive-relapsing multiple sclerosis (PRMS) is the least common form of multiple sclerosis (MS).Multiple sclerosis is a potentially debilitating disease in which the immune system attacks the central nervous system (CNS), including the brain and spinal cord.Only about 5 percent of people with Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis are estimated to have PRMS, according to the National MS Society.Most often, people are initially diagnosed with theprimary-progressive form of MS (PPMS), and after they experience a relapse, they are diagnosed with the progressive-relapsing form.

How PRMS Differs From Other Forms of MS:In a sense, PRMS is a combination of two other forms of MS.People with PRMS immediately experience a gradual, or “progressive,” decline in neurological function, similar to people who have primary-progressive MS (PPMS).But like people with the relapsing-remitting form of MS (RRMS), they also have relapses, when one or more of their symptoms spontaneously get worse.However, PRMS relapses are not as frequent and symptoms may not get better, as they do during RRMS remission periods.There is some debate about whether PRMS should be considered a distinct type of Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis, or if it’s the same thing as PPMS.

For instance, a 1999 report in the journal JAMA Neurology argued that they are the same because they appeared to be virtually indistinguishable from each other, except for the one or two relapses people with PRMS had during their lifetime.On the other hand, a 2004 study in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal found that relapses in PRMS may occur more often than previously thought, with about three relapses on average and in many cases more than four.The study also found that disability can accumulate more quickly with PRMS than with PPMS.

Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis:

Small differences in age and sex also set apart the two diseases.Primary-progressive disease usually arises in people during their 40s and 50s, according to the National MS Society, while the progressive-relapsing form occurs about four years earlier on average, according to a 2006 report in the journal Brain.

Primary-progressive disease is diagnosed almost equally among women and men, while the progressive-relapsing form is slightly more common in women than in men, with a ratio of about 1.4 to 1, according to the Multiple Sclerosis Journal report.

Symptoms of PRMS:As with the other forms of MS, PRMS is associated with a wide range of symptoms that can affect numerous body systems. These symptoms may include:

  • Headaches
  • Pain, especially in extremities
  • Movement-related fatigue
  • Vision problems
  • Bowel and bladder issues
  • Pins-and-needles sensations, numbness, and pain
  • Weakness, particularly in the legs
  • Stiffness and trouble moving the body (especially the limbs)
  • Balance and coordination problems
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Problems with memory, thinking, and reasoning (cognitive impairments)
  • Mood and behavior issues, including depression and anxiety

Diagnosis and Treatment of PRMS:As mentioned above, PRMS is generally diagnosed after a person with PPMS experiences a relapse.Diagnosis of all forms of MS usually involve:

  • Medical history and a detailed account of all symptoms
  • Physical and neurological examination
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to look for scar tissue
  • Cerebrospinal fluid tests, which identify immune system activity in the CNS and help rule out other diseases
  • Evoked-potential tests, which measure the speed of your brain’s response to stimulation in other areas of the body

There is no cure for Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis. For people with PRMS and other relapsing forms of MS, drugs known as disease-modifying agents may help. These newer treatments reduce inflammation, including the frequency and severity of attacks.However, they have not yet been shown to stop the overall progression of the disease that’s caused by neurodegeneration.As with PPMS, physical and occupational therapy can help improve physical function and mobility in people with PRMS.And various medications, such as muscle relaxants, bladder drugs, and wakefulness agents, can help treat other PRMS symptoms.Source

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