RRMS is the most common form of multiple sclerosis and involves those with multiple sclerosis experiencing relapses of the disease that are accompanied by periods of remission in between. In essence, multiple sclerosis is a condition wherein the body’s own immune system attacks the protective layer that encases nerve fibers, known as myelin, with these attacks going on to affect certain parts of the central nervous system of the body. In this article, we take a specific look at RRMS to demonstrate how it is further differentiated from other forms of the disease.
RRMS, otherwise known as relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, relates to the relapses occurring, whether related to either brand new or existing (and worsening) symptoms, in conjunction with intervals of remission that can last for an indeterminate amount of time. Before we explore RRMS more, we’ll first take a look at some of the other forms of multiple sclerosis for some added context. Secondary progressive MS (abbreviated to SPMS) can often follow on from RRMS and involves the worsening of the initial pattern of relapses and remissions over time. Although clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) can meet some of the symptom criteria of multiple sclerosis, it isn’t technically MS until the condition recurs. Finally, there is primary progressive MS (PPMS), a type of multiple sclerosis wherein symptoms progressively worsen, without the remission that is related to RRMS. In terms of symptoms, people with RRMS will experience worsening for what could be days or months, after which symptoms will very gradually improve. These physical symptoms can include things like weakness and/or fatigue, sensitivity to heat, issues related to incontinence and problems with coordination, while mental symptoms can include memory issues and an impaired ability to process information.
Living with RRMS
Although it can be quite challenging living with RRMS, there are quite a few things you can do to improve your quality of life. One of the key things you should do is to stay very consistently active, as regular exercise can help balance some of the physical issues that multiple sclerosis can cause related to strength and coordination. Temperature extremes are another factor that can exacerbate symptoms related to RRMS – whether it be hot or cold – but particularly hot – ensure that you’re well prepared for extreme weather by preparing things like cold compresses. Smoking, just as with a raft of other health issues, will also quickly make symptoms worsen, making quitting a good decision for many reasons. General self-management of your health will also help in a variety of ways to help keep symptoms under control – eating a good diet and reducing stress through avenues like yoga are tried and true methods of symptom maintenance that many people with RRMS dedicate time and energy to.
Seek help when you need to
Although there are many ways for you to help yourself while managing RRMS, this shouldn’t mean that it should be a solo battle. You should absolutely find support whenever you need it – multiple sclerosis can be an extraordinarily difficult thing to cope with, so find help when it matters most to ensure yourself a superior quality of life. In these cases, being honest with yourself is the best thing you can do to make living with RRMS easier.