MS relapses are caused when your immune system attacks the protective covering (called myelin) around nerves in your brain and spinal cord. These attacks damage the myelin. Inflammation around the nerves is the sign of an attack. The damage to the myelin means these nerves don’t work like they should, and this causes your MS symptoms.
Relapses can vary from mild to severe. At their worst, acute relapses may need hospital treatment, but many relapses are managed at home, with the support of your GP, MS specialist nurse, and other care professionals.
People often make a very good recovery from a relapse, with complete remission. However, this is not always the case and around half of all relapses may leave some lingering problems, however slight.
This is because, if the damage to myelin is severe, then some symptoms remain, though they may still improve over the following months.
Unfortunately, what appears to affect one person doesn’t always apply to someone else, and research has not yet found what triggers every relapse that people have.
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