Posted by: Thixia | March 21, 2008

Clinical Types of MS

Relapsing/Remitting (RRMS):   

        Characterized by clearly defined relapses (attacks or exacerbations) during which time new symptoms may appear and old symptoms may reappear or worsen.  These relapses are followed by periods of remission, during which time the person fully or partially recovers from disabilities.  Relapses can last for days, weeks, or months with recovery being slow and gradual or seemingly instantaneous.  The majority of people first diagnosed (70%) with Multiple Sclerosis have RRMS.  Most people with RRMS are fully ambulatory.

  A subtype of RRMS is Benign MS:  

        In which remission after relapses is almost complete, 10 to 15 years after the onset there is still minimal disability.  About 20 – 25% of people who were diagnosed originally with RRMS have this type.

        Most people are diagnosed with the relapsing-remitting form of MS.  Over time, some people in this category develop secondary-progressive MS, which does carry a risk of disability. Others may have mild attacks but do not worsen and are considered to have benign MS.

  Secondary Progressive (SPMS):   

        After a number of years about half of people with RRMS will pass into a secondary progressive phase of the disease.  This is characterised by a gradual worsening of the disease between relapses.  In the early phases of Secondary Progressive, the person may still experience a few relapses but after a while these merge into a general progression. People with Secondary Progressive MS, may experience good and bad days or weeks, but, apart from some remission following relapsing episodes, there is no real recovery.

  Progressive Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (PRMS):

     This form of MS relatively rare and follows a progressive course from onset.  There is significant recovery immediately following a relapse but between relapses there is a gradual worsening of symptoms.

  Primary Progressive (PPMS):    

        This type of MS is relatively rare (10 to 15% at time of diagnosis), and is characterised by a gradual progression of MS from its onset with no remissions at all.  There may be periods of a levelling off of disease activity and, as with secondary progressive, there may be good and bad days or weeks.  PPMS differs from Relapsing/Remitting and Secondary Progressive in that onset is typically in the late thirties or early forties, men are as likely as women to develop it and initial disease activity is in the spinal cord and not in the brain. 

         Often migrates into the brain, but is less likely to damage brain areas than relapsing/remitting or secondary progressive – for example, people with Primary Progressive are less likely to develop cognitive problems.  Anyone may develop MS, but there are some patterns.Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50.

Two-three times as many women as men have MS.

        Studies indicate that genetic factors make certain individuals more susceptible than others, but there is no evidence that MS is directly inherited.

        MS occurs more commonly among people with northern European ancestry, but people of African, Asian, and Hispanic backgrounds are not immune.


        MS is usually considered a disease that adults get, but is occasionally diagnosed in children.


        Multiple sclerosis most often strikes young adults – women and men between the ages of 20 to 40 who are in their career and family building years.  The average age of diagnosis is 30, but cases of MS have been diagnosed in childhood, and people in their fifties have been diagnosed as well. Women develop MS almost twice as often as men.

        MS is not a fatal disease for the vast majority of people with MS.  Most people who have MS can be expected to live a normal or near normal life span, thanks to improvements in the treatment of symptoms and in other therapies for people with MS. 



  1. It was that first step towards the pool that that proved problematic. I kept procrastinating at the most flimsy of excuses. Sabotaging something I knew would help. The only thing I was keeping back was improving the quality of my life with rr multiple sclerosis.. Finally I broke this self imposed spell and talked myself into going for acquacise .The MS was active in my life and heaven knows exercise wasn’t my priority but I went. That was seven years ago and the pool is as much of a habit now as that first cup of coffee. Exercise is making me function better and that’s a fact that I refuse toignore.

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