Types of MS

It is difficult to predict the progress of multiple sclerosis (MS) in an individual. Broadly, there are four most common types of MS, each of which can be categorised by the way in which the condition progresses.

Relapsing-Remitting MS

Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) is the most common kind of MS.

When a person has an RRMS attack (also known as a relapse or flare) it will typically be followed by a full or partial recovery. The condition may remain stable between attacks. People with RRMS tend to experience one or two attacks a year.

Without treatment, after about ten years, attacks become less noticeable, but disability level may increase.

Relapsing remitting Multiple sclerosis

Progressive-Relapsing MS

In this relatively rare course of MS, people experience a steady worsening of the condition from the beginning, but with clear attacks and deteriorating neurological function along the way.

They may, or may not, experience some recovery following attacks, but the condition will continue to progress without remissions.

Progressive relapsing Multiple Sclerosis

Secondary-Progressive MS

Of people initially diagnosed with relapsing-remitting (RRMS), about half will go on to develop secondary-progressive (SPMS) within ten years and 90% within 25 years.

Secondary-progressive MS tends to progress steadily over time.

Secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis

Primary-Progressive MS

This is a less common type of MS, affecting approximately 10% of cases. As the name implies, this type of MS is progressive from the outset.

A person with primary-progressive MS does not experience recovery or remission of symptoms but rather a gradual progression of disability.

Primary progressive Multiple Sclerosis