Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, long-lasting, potentially disabling chronic disease that affects the central nervous system. The central nervous system comprises the brain, the spinal cord and the optic nerve. The nerves in the central nervous system have a protective fatty tissue known as myelin. In Multiple Sclerosis (MS), the immune system attacks this tissue and damages the myelin and forms a dense, scar-like tissue. These scars, known as lesions, affect the way electrical impulses travel along the nerve fiber by distorting and interrupting the signals coming to and from the brain and spinal cord. This could lead to minor complications such as numbness in the limbs or serious complications such as paralysis or loss of vision, however, the progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS are somewhat unpredictable and can vary from one person to another.

Types of Multiple Sclerosis:

There are four types of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and these are named according to the way the condition aects the body over time:

  • Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS): This is the most common form of the condition with about 75-85% of people with MS are initially diagnosed with RRMS. Patients diagnosed with RRMS have temporary periods known as relapses, flare-ups or exacerbation. These relapses generally last a few days or weeks. In some cases, the symptoms go away (called a remission), however, MS is still active and can still damage the nerves.
  • Secondary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS): In SPMS, the symptoms get worse over a period of time and these could be with or without the occurrence of relapses and remissions. Studies have shown that about 50% of people with RRMS progressed to SPMS approximately 10 years after their first diagnosis. This was before disease-modifying therapies became available, however, studies are still on to determine if these therapies help in delaying this transition.
  • Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS): This is not a very common type of MS and it occurs in only 10% of people with MS. In this condition, the symptoms worsen slowly from the beginning without any re lapses or remissions.
  • Progressive-Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (PRMS): This is an extremely rare form of MS (only 5%) and in this condition the symptoms steadily worsen from the beginning with acute relapses and no remissions and with or without recovery.