MS is a complex disease, with considerable variability from patient to patient, as well as within the same patient across time. You might not be aware that there are actually four different subtypes of MS.
These subtypes are relapsing-remitting; primary-progressive; secondary-progressive; and, progressive-relapsing. Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) is the most common form of MS.
About 85% of individuals with MS are initially diagnosed with this subtype. In RRMS, individuals experience periods of temporary worsening of symptoms, known as flares or exacerbations.
In secondary-progressive MS (SPMS), symptoms steadily worsen over time, with or without periods of relapses and remissions. Most people who are initially diagnosed with RRMS will transition to SPMS at some point.
In primary-progressive MS (PPMS), individuals experience a slow, steady worsening of their disease, from onset; there are no periods of relapses or remissions. Only about 10% of all individuals with MS have PPMS.
About 5% of individuals with MS have progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS). PRMS is characterized by steady worsening from disease onset. It’s marked by acute relapses, with no remissions, with or without recovery.
I honestly feel very blessed to have been diagnosed with RRMS. Given that I have had this disease for more than 25 years, it is truly remarkable that it has not converted to SPMS. I am unspeakably grateful for this reality.