lcorner.gif (165 bytes)






Common Types of MS

On average, 80 percent of people with MS begin with the relapsing-remitting form of MS (RRMS). What distinguishes this type of MS from other types are the temporary symptom flare-ups or "exacerbations" (also referred to as relapses, attacks, or bouts), which typically last for one to three months. These are followed by a complete or partial recovery ("remission").

Between relapses, many people may go into remission for a year or more. During this time, they may remain symptom-free, or only experience mild changes with symptoms that did not fully remit following the exacerbation. While symptoms may not appear or worsen between MS attacks, changes do continue within the CNS. New treatments are now available to help slow the damage caused by MS. (These treatments are disucssed in the following section.)

Initially, people with RRMS often experience:

  • sensory disturbances (such as numbness or tingling)
  • optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve causing visual changes or loss; usually occurring in one eye)
  • diplopia (double vision; objects may also appear to jump as a result of the eyes not properly coordinating together)

Fortunately, visual changes are often temporary. Other initial symptoms with RRMS may include limb weakness, clumsiness, fatigue, cognitive changes, bladder and bowel problems, sexual difficulties, and Lhermitte's sign. The latter is a tingling sensation that radiates down the spine and into the limbs when the neck is flexed.

If untreated, more than 90 percent of individuals with RRMS may eventually enter a second phase of RRMS, known as secondary-progressive MS (SPMS), within 25 years. This phase is reached when the person experiences a progressive worsening of symptoms. SPMS may occur with or without superimposed relapses.

While the majority of individuals with MS (80 percent) are diagnosed with RRMS, most of the other 20 percent fall under the heading of primary-progressive MS (PPMS). This form of MS presents a gradual but steady accumulation of neurological problems from the onset, without the presence of relapses and remissions. Unlike RRMS, where women are three times as likely to be diagnosed than men, PPMS is equally divided between the genders.

Other types of MS exist, but these are not as common. These include benign (little or no change after 20 years), progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS) (progressive course from the onset with acute relapses), and malignant or fulminant MS (rapidly progressive disease course).










Resource Links



Connected With



Copyright 2011 Discover My Mobility All Rights Reserved