MS relapses occur when you experience new symptoms or when existing symptoms suddenly worsen. To be considered a relapse, these symptoms must last for at least 24 hours. Relapses are considered separate incidents when they occur at least 30 days apart. They are also referred to as attacks, exacerbations, or flares.
Relapses are caused by inflammation in the central nervous system. The location of the inflammation can affect the type of symptoms you experience (inflammation can also occur in more than one place). Individuals with Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS), the most common type of MS, typically experience clearly defined relapses followed by periods of remission when the inflammation has ended.
Frequency, duration, and severity of MS relapses/exacerbations can vary dramatically from one person to the next. The unpredictability of these relapses is one of the many frustrating aspects of MS.
In our MS in America Study, just over 30% of respondents noted that they experienced relapses less than once a year. The remaining responses ranged from once a month to once a year, with most relapses lasting from one week to one month:
How often do you experience relapses and how long do symptoms last? Please share in the comments!
The MS in America Study was conducted over the internet from November 2012 until January 2013. The primary goal of the study was to establish an understanding of the current state and trends of patients affected by Multiple Sclerosis. The survey included over 100 questions on a broad range of topics. A total of 3,437 people started the survey while 2,562 people completed the survey resulting in a high completion rate of 74.5%. To qualify for the survey, participants had to be MS patients over 18 years old and a US resident or US citizen living abroad.
The study was solely developed and funded by Health Union, LLC which does not manufacture, sell nor market any product to diagnose, prevent or treat MS or any other disease.