Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic illness involving your central nervous system. The immune system attacks myelin, which is the protective layer around nerve fibers. This results in varying disabilities that may include blindness, slurred speech, paralysis and more.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) causes many different symptoms, including vision loss, pain, fatigue and impaired coordination. The symptoms, severity and duration can vary from person to person. Some people may be symptom free for most of their lives, while others can have severe, chronic symptoms that never go away.
Relapsing-Remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) is the most common type of MS, making up about 85% of diagnoses.
A period of remission follows a relapse. When MS enters the remission phase, a person will usually have no symptoms.
However, this may change over time as the myelin can develop further scarring with each relapse, resulting in nerve damage that does not recover during remission.
This damage can lead to disabilities or other symptoms that persist outside of a relapse.
Primary Progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) causes the function of the brain and central nervous system (CNS) to consistently worsen, without episodes of remission and relapse.
All types of MS typically damage the CNS. However, PPMS causes a distinct type of damage. It tends to cause fewer lesions on the brain and more lesions on the spinal cord, compared with other forms of MS.
Secondary Progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) is a later stage of multiple sclerosis.
Instead of having symptom relapses and remissions, a person’s symptoms steadily get worse over time.
Most people, but not everyone, with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) will eventually develop secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS).
As a result of advances in treatments, less people go on to develop SPMS than before, and it takes longer to transition to SPMS for most.