Patients who are diagnosed with sclerosis or MS are typically diagnosed with one of the three known types of this disease. The most common type of sclerosis affecting approximately eighty five percent of all patients who are diagnosed with MS is “RRMS” or “relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis”.
RRMS is also the beginning stages of sclerosis for the majority of individuals who will eventually develop and be diagnosed with “SPMS” or “secondary-progressive sclerosis, however, ten to fifteen percent of all patients with MS will be diagnosed with a more progressive form of this disease known as “PPMS” or “primary-progressive multiple sclerosis”. While a patient who has MS will be diagnosed with one of these three types, the severity, symptoms and progression of this disease vary greatly from patient to patient.
RRMS or Relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis
Relapsing-remitting sclerosis is typically the way sclerosis begins in patients who suffer from this disease. With this type of multiple sclerosis an individual will experience one or more of the numerous symptoms of MS for only a few days or as many as several months and then they will “relapse” or disappear for a period of time that can be several months or even several years.
This condition is extremely disheartening for those who have it due to the fact that they never know when these symptoms will manifest themselves or what types of the numerous symptoms associated with MS they may experience or what the level of their severity may be.
SPMS or Secondary-progressive Multiple Sclerosis
Secondary-progressive sclerosis is typically diagnosed later on in patients who were previously diagnosed with relapsing-remitting sclerosis, however, in rare cases if RRMS went undetected or was not properly diagnosed a patient may receive a diagnosis of SPMS when they are initially diagnosed with sclerosis.
Approximately sixty percent of all patients who have been diagnosed with MS will develop SPMS within ten years after being initially diagnosed. Individuals with SPMS will experience a progressive worsening in the severity of their symptoms which also may become more frequent with less time in between relapses. With SPMS a patient may not experience a full recovery of their symptoms even with remission as many patients do with RRMS.
PPMS or Primary-progressive Multiple Sclerosis
PPMS is diagnosed when the disease is progressive right from the onset of symptoms and – unlike the other forms of MS – remissions are a rare occurrence. The lack of remission between the symptoms of MS is the primary difference between PPMS and the other two forms of sclerosis.
While patients with PPMS may experience any of the numerous types of symptoms associated with all types of MS, the majority of individuals diagnosed with this form will have difficulty walking that typically develops slowly and may not be significantly noticeable at the onset, but will progress gradually over time. Eventually, patients with PPMS will experience increased difficulty in walking that may lead to the inability to walk; however, this typically does not occur for many years.