September 5, 2013

What is an MS Exacerbation?

What is an MS Exacerbation? Let me first start with a short description of what MS is: Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). This post describes an MS Exacerbation.
The description is from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. An exacerbation of MS (also known as a relapse, attack, or flare-up) causes new symptoms or the worsening of old symptoms. It can be very mild or severe enough to interfere with a person’s ability to function at home and at work. No two exacerbations are alike, and symptoms vary from person to person and from one exacerbation to another. For example, the exacerbation might be an episode of optic neuritis (caused by inflammation of the optic nerve that impairs vision) or problems with balance or severe fatigue. Some relapses produce only one symptom (related to inflammation in a single area of the central nervous system) while other relapses causes two or more symptoms at the same time (related to inflammation in more than one area of the central nervous system).

To be a true exacerbation, the attack must last at least 24 hours and be separated from the previous attack by at least 30 days. Most exacerbations last from a few days to several weeks or even months.

What Causes MS Exacerbations?

Exacerbations are caused by inflammation in the central nervous system. The inflammation damages the myelin, which slows or disrupts the transmission of nerve impulses and causes the symptoms of MS.

For more information go to National Multiple Sclerosis Society website.

Happy & Healthy,
Yoga Chuck

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