MS Basics

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MS: The Basics –  Types of Multiple Sclerosis

Generally, Multiple Sclerosis follows one of 4 courses:

  • Relapsing – Remitting MS
  • Secondary – Progressive MS
  • Primary – Progressive MS
  • Progressive – Relapsing MS

Relapsing – Remitting (RRMS)

Most people start out with RRMS. Symptoms fade and then return off and on for many years. It is during this type that those who have MS experience attacks, otherwise called flairs or exacerbations that are followed with either a complete or a partial remission. RR is characterized by inflammation.

If not on therapy, there is a tendency over time to move towards secondary progressive.

Secondary – Progressive (SPMS)

This type starts with the relapsing – remitting which usually persists for several years. Over time it becomes secondary – progressive, progressive meaning steadily getting worse.

Unlike relapsing – remitting, there are no true periods of remission, but only some breaks in the duration of attacks that has no absolute recovery from the symptoms. Although there could be some minor relief for a couple of symptoms, full recovery is rarely attained.

SPMS tends to not have inflammation and has measures of tissue damage; shrinkage of brain or nerve fiber damage.

Primary – Progressive (PPMS)

This is very common in the male population. It is when the person with MS gradually experiences a clinical decline and has no true durations of remission. PPMS does not contain inflammation. More damage is done in the spinal cord than the brain. However, there could be a temporary time where the disorder seems to plateau or level out, including a partial but minor relief from a few symptoms. But still, the whole course of this type continuously declines starting from the disease’s outset.

Progressive – Relapsing (PRMS)

This is a rare form of MS. The disease has a progressive form that starts from its outset with a series of acute attacks that has no relief from the obtained symptoms. Unlike the primary – progressive type, this type has no tendency to plateau.

What ever the given diagnosis, most people keep some symptoms even when they are in remission like fatigue or weakness.

There is no cure for MS yet, but whatever your symptoms are, treatment and self-care help you maintain your quality of life. Here at we lend support and information to help you feel Joy, choose Joy while living with MS.