Living with M.S.

"Living with M.S. is sort of like training for a long race. The harder you try, and the longer you keep at it, the stronger you become.
Eventually, looking back, you may be amazed at the power you possessed, even when you had no idea it was within your reach." (Linda Ann Nickerson)


Reviewing the four types of multiple sclerosis

MS is MS, right? Well, not exactly. In fact, neurologists specializing in multiple sclerosis currently identify four different types of MS.

Diagnosed individuals generally fall into one of the four categories, although the chronic neurological condition can change. That means an MSer may be living with one type of MS, but eventually shift to another form.

What are the four types of multiple sclerosis?

The National MS Society outlines the four forms of MS as:

  1. Relapse-remitting MS (RRMS)
  2. Secondary-progressive MS (SPMS)
  3. Primary-progressive MS (PPMS)
  4. Progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS)

How are these four multiple sclerosis types defined?

Here are the current descriptions of each form of MS.

  1. Relapse-remitting MS (RRMS) – This MS type is marked by distinct attacks, exacerbations, flare-ups, or relapses. Such instances occur periodically (and basically unpredictably), but tend to be followed by partial or total recovery times (remissions), with little or no disease progression. Close to 85 percent of all MSers are initially diagnosed with RRMS.
  2. Secondary-progressive MS (SPMS) – This form of MS may follow RRMS in some individuals. Like RRMS, this MS type includes identifiable relapses. But SPMS usually brings partial recoveries, with symptoms often remaining, or even worsening and leading to more steady disease progression.
  3. Primary-progressive MS (PPMS) – PPMS usually brings more constantly decreasing neurological function in affected individuals. The disease progression may be steady or sporadic. The changes may occur slowly, but remission is rare. Symptoms that arise tend to remain. PPMS may affect approximately 10 percent of MSers.
  4. Progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS) – This rarer MS form is known for steadily progressing neurological symptoms and occasional flare-ups as well. With PRMS, the disease appears to progress without times of remission, although some symptomatic relief may be seen after exacerbations subside.

What are the symptoms generally seen with MS?

To review, the most commonly symptoms of multiple sclerosis include:

  • blurred or double vision
  • bowel function issues
  • chest tightness (MS hug)
  • clumsiness
  • cognitive problems
  • electric shock sensations
  • facial pain
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • heat sensitivity
  • loss of balance
  • memory issues
  • muscle spasms or stiffness
  • nerve pain
  • numbness
  • paralysis
  • speech issues
  • swallowing difficulties
  • tingling
  • tremors
  • urinary incontinence
  • vertigo and dizziness
  • vision loss
  • walking and gait problems
  • weakness
  • and more.
Specialists estimate 60 to 70 percent of those with RRMS eventually manifest progressive symptoms of MS.

Medical experts continue to research, develop, and test potential treatments for all forms of multiple sclerosis.

Created by this user
With information provided by the
National MS Soicety

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