Both the symptoms and course of MS can vary considerably from person to person. Some people have only mild symptoms throughout their lives, while others have episodic attacks. Clinicians are now able to determine the types of MS people have and its likely course.
1) Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS):
This type of MS involves relapses sometimes called attacks/exacerbations, where there is a flare-up of symptoms, followed by periods of recovery (remissions) during which there are fewer symptoms or no symptoms. These relapses can last for days, weeks or months. Exposure to very warm weather or a hot bath may intensify symptoms. Relapses tend to occur at random intervals. Initially, it’s common to experience one or more relapse per year and the rate of relapse may often decrease over time. Remissions can last for any length of time, even years.
2) Sndary Progressive MS (SPMS):
Many people with relapsing remitting MS gradually develop secondary progressive MS. People with SPMS begin to develop a continuous progressive loss of function. People with SPMS may initially also experience occasional relapses, while others experience a more steady progression of disability. Overall, it affects 40% of people with MS.
3) Progressive Relapsing MS (PRMS):
In progressive relapsing MS, people experience a steady worsening of disease from its onset and can also experience occasional relapses. This type of MS is comparatively rare representing about 5% of all MS cases.
4) Primary Progressive MS (PPMS):
This disease is progressive from the very beginning and is called Primary Progressive MS. People with PPMS experience a steady worsening of symptoms and a progressive increase in disability. However the rate of disease progressions may vary from person to person.
5) Childhood MS:
Even though MS is typically a disease of young adults (20-40 years), childhood MS does occur. Less than 10% of MS patients are under 18 years of age and before 10 years of age, MS is extremely rare, accounting for less than 1% of all cases.