4 Types of MS You Should Know
There are four disease courses that have been identified in multiple sclerosis: clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), primary progressive MS (PPMS), and secondary progressive MS (SPMS).
To help you understand each type of MS a little better, we’ve put together this list.
A 24-hour episode of neurologic symptoms caused by inflammation and demyelination in the central nervous system is typical of multiple sclerosis but having an episode, by definition, does not meet the criteria for a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. People who have clinically isolated syndrome will not necessarily go on to develop multiple sclerosis. An MRI will better determine the likelihood that someone who has a CIS will develop MS. If lesions on a brain MRI are seen with CIS, there is a higher chance for the patient to develop MS.
This is the most common form of MS with clear defined phases of relapse (repeat attacks or exacerbations) and progressive worsening of nerve functions with each attack. Attacks are followed by phases of relief (or remission) when normal conditions are restored partially or completely. RRMS occurs in 85 percent of cases.
This represents a condition with steady progression without early relapses or remissions but with temporary periods of stability. There can also be increasing periods of disability for the patient, either with or without new relapses or MRI lesions. PPMS develops in about 15 percent of MS cases.
This follows RRMS with continued relapses and progressive neurological damage. Most patients will eventually transition to a secondary progressive course, with worsening of nerve damage, with or without remissions. It can be characterized as either active or not active, and with progression or without progression. Disability gradually increases over time during this course.
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