For anyone newly diagnosed with MS, you will quickly learn that the disease effects everyone differently for many different reasons. One reason is the fact that there are several different types of MS much like there are different types of apples, they may all be apples but some are red, some are green, some are sweet, and some are sour. Let's go over the different types of Multiple Sclerosis which include relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), secondary-progressive MS (SPMS), primary-progressive MS (PPMS), and progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS).
Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS)
About 50% of MS Population
This is the most commonly diagnosed form of Multiple Sclerosis. People with RRMS experience exacerbations (flareups/relapses) and then will go into periods of remission where some or all of their symptoms may subside. The duration of each relapse or remission period varies form person to person: a period of remission could last as little as a month or as long as five years, because the disease effects everyone differently, it's unfortunately a wait and see kind of thing, there is no way to predict what your relapse or remission experience will be like.
Secondary-progressive MS (SPMS)
About 50% of people with RRMS Develop SPMS
Secondary-progressive MS typically develops from RRMS over a gradual period of time, 10 years on average, but the numbers can vary anywhere from 2 years to 40 years. People with SPMS experience less relapses but gradually obtain more permanent symptoms.
Primary-progressive MS (PPMS)
About 10% of MS Population
PPMS is characterized by a steady worsening of symptoms over time without periods of relapsing or periods of remissions though there may be short periods of time where the progression of the disease may slow down or remain steady for some time.
Progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS)
About 5% of MS Population
PRMS basically involves the steady worsening of permanent symptoms over time much like PPMS only people with PRMS will experience periods of remission where recovery from an exacerbation happens quite rapidly. When someone with PRMS is in “remission” they will experience the effects of their permanent symptoms, so basically, the level of recovery they reach with each remission will gradually decrease over time.
How Do You Know if You Have Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis?