What is relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis?

In 1999, an international panel published a classification of multiple sclerosis (MS) that defined different forms of MS. One of these, the most common form, was relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS).

Relapsing-remitting MS is defined as MS in which patients have relapses of MS and periods of stability in between relapses. Relapses are episodes of new or worsening symptoms not caused by fever or infection and that last more than 48 hours. In other words, a stable course is punctuated by episodes of new or worse symptoms.

Relapsing-remitting MS is the most common initial form of MS. Younger patients are more likely to have this form of MS than older patients.

What are the symptoms of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis?

The symptoms of RRMS vary widely. Frequent early symptoms include:

  • Episodes of visual loss in one or the other eye
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Double vision, fatigue
  • Urinary urgency
  • Balance problems
  • Weakness

No two patients have the same symptoms. Some people are sensitive to heat. Some people get a tingling feeling when they bend their neck forward (Lhermitte's symptom). Some patients will have problems with weakness or unsteadiness of walking. Some combination of symptoms is common, and symptoms may vary over time in an individual.

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