Are there different types of sclerosis?

There are three main types of MS: relapsing, primary progressive, and secondary progressive. Even if you have the same type of multiple sclerosis as someone else, you probably don't experience the same symptoms in the same way. After living with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis for many years, most people will develop secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. In this type, the symptoms begin a steady march, without relapses or remissions.

In this way, it's like primary progressive MS. In primary progressive multiple sclerosis, the disease gradually worsens over time. There are no attacks of well-defined symptoms and there are few or no relapses. In addition, MS treatments don't work as well with this type of MS.

About 10% of people with multiple sclerosis have this type. There are four main types of multiple sclerosis, each defined by the degree of progression of the disease. Determining the type can help inform treatment decisions and long-term prognosis. Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) is a single episode of neurological symptoms that lasts 24 hours or longer.

The symptoms of CIS cannot be related to fever, infection, or other illnesses. Rather, the symptoms are the result of inflammation or demyelination in the central nervous system. The most common type of MS is relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). Approximately 85% of people with MS have RRMS at the time of diagnosis.

A person with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis will have episodes of new or worsening symptoms, known as relapses. After many years (usually decades), many people with relapsing-remitting MS develop secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, but not all. About two-thirds of people with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis will develop secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. In primary progressive multiple sclerosis, symptoms gradually worsen and accumulate over several years, and there are no periods of remission, although people often have periods when their condition seems to stabilize.

Disease-modifying therapies can also help delay or reduce the overall worsening of disability in people with a type of MS called relapsing-remitting MS and in some people with types called primary and secondary progressive MS, who have relapses. You may hear about rare forms of multiple sclerosis or other similar conditions. These include neuromyelitis optica (Devic disease), Balo concentric sclerosis, Marburg variant multiple sclerosis, and swollen multiple sclerosis. The most common type of MS is called relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS).

It is defined as temporary periods called relapses, exacerbations, or exacerbations when symptoms appear. These attacks are followed by periods of remission in which symptoms may disappear or disappear. Remissions can last from weeks to months or years. Approximately 85% of people with MS receive an initial diagnosis of RRMS.

People diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) have steadily worsening symptoms without periods of remission or relapses. About 10% of people with multiple sclerosis are diagnosed with this form of the condition. A small percentage of people can be diagnosed with a relatively rare type of MS known as MS with progressive relapses (PRMS). This type of multiple sclerosis worsens steadily from the onset of the first symptoms, regardless of relapses or periods of remission.

Approximately 5% of people with MS are diagnosed with PRMS. In addition to the main types of multiple sclerosis, doctors and researchers may use other words to describe it. It is considered a type of RRMS that is characterized by extended periods of remission or few or no attacks of MS symptoms. Understanding the types of multiple sclerosis can also help you know what to expect throughout the course of the disease.

Relapsing remitting MS is the most common type of MS, affecting about 85 percent of people diagnosed. Depending on the type of multiple sclerosis you have, symptoms can come and go in phases or get steadily worse over time (progress). This type of MS does not have the distinctive remissions, exacerbations, or plateaus of RRMS, but is characterized by a slow worsening of symptoms and neurological function. According to the work of the National MS Society Advisory Committee on clinical trials of new agents in MS and the International Advisory Committee on Clinical Trials in MS, MS is currently classified into four main types.

With this type of multiple sclerosis, a person's symptoms steadily worsen, even if the person doesn't experience relapses. The reasons why RRMS becomes SPMS are not fully understood, but the mechanisms of progression between these categories or types of MS appear to differ. Although MS can be divided into three main types, it is not an exact science, so sometimes doubts arise, especially at the beginning. The committee also suggested that clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), a person's first episode of neurological symptoms, be classified as a type of MS.

To help define the different forms of multiple sclerosis, doctors have classified the condition into four main types of multiple sclerosis, which are named for the way the disease works in the body over time. .

Sarah G
Sarah G

Meet Sarah, the driving force behind With a heart for helping others, she's dedicated to providing clear and compassionate guidance to those facing multiple sclerosis. Having witnessed the challenges of MS firsthand, Sarah is committed to empowering individuals with knowledge about early signs, testing, and the resources available.As a trusted source of information, she ensures that offers expert insights and up-to-date content. Sarah's mission is to ease the journey of those seeking answers about MS diagnosis, offering a ray of hope and practical advice.With a background in healthcare advocacy and a passion for making complex topics relatable, Sarah's writing style ensures that everyone can access the information they need. She knows that a supportive community and reliable information can make all the difference in facing MS, and she's here to guide you every step of the way. Join Sarah on this important journey towards understanding and managing multiple sclerosis.