Multiple Sclerosis Ms Types

Multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms and disability vary widely among patients. The type of multiple sclerosis diagnosed has a strong influence on disability, the severity of symptoms and the frequency of flare-ups. Some of the more common.

Benign Multiple Sclerosis

People with benign multiple sclerosis suffer rare mild attacks and experience a complete recovery after the attacks. The symptoms do not worsen, and people with benign multiple sclerosis have almost no disability. However, in some cases, people with benign multiple sclerosis eventually experience disease progression.

Relapse-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Relapse-remitting multiple sclerosis is the most common type of MS and accounts for approximately 70 percent of all cases of MS. Relapse-remitting multiple sclerosis symptoms flare up at unpredictable times. These attacks may occur yearly.

Multiple sclerosis symptoms worsen during a flare-up, and then symptoms gradually diminish in severity until the next attack. Recovery after a flare-up may not be complete; over time, symptoms can increase in severity and disability becomes more pronounced.

Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

Fifty percent of relapse-remitting multiple sclerosis cases eventually develop into secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. Secondary progressive MS symptoms do not cycle through flare-ups and remittance. Instead, symptoms are always present and physical disability increases over time.

In some individuals, relapse-remitting multiple sclerosis may develop quickly into secondary progressive symptoms. With each flare-up, symptoms last longer and disability increases, until finally symptoms are constantly present. In other cases, secondary progressive multiple sclerosis develops only after years of relapse-remitting MS symptoms.

Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

Primary progressive multiple sclerosis is associated with a high rate of disability. Instead of a cycle of worsening symptoms and remittance, primary progressive multiple sclerosis symptoms never improve. Over time, symptoms and physical disability gradually worsen; progression is slow, but steady.

Progressive-Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis

Progressive-relapsing multiple sclerosis is one of the least common varieties of multiple sclerosis. Symptoms appear to follow the relapse-remitting pattern, but the disease never fully remits. As a result, disability worsens progressively over time.

Chronic Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

You may have heard of the term “chronic progressive multiple sclerosis.” It is not another type of multiple sclerosis but an outdated term used to describe any form of progressive multiple sclerosis.

Disability Outcomes

The type of multiple sclerosis often influences the severity of the disability, and even how long the patient lives. Relapse-remitting multiple sclerosis has a slower rate of disability, and responds better to treatment than primary progressive multiple sclerosis. A complete remission after the first multiple sclerosis flare-up tends to indicate a slow rate of disability.

Women tend to have better outcomes for multiple sclerosis than men, and have a slower rate of disability progression. Multiple sclerosis diagnosed in young adulthood usually indicates slower disability rates. This is not true, though, if multiple sclerosis is diagnosed in childhood.


Fauci, A., Braunwald, E., Isselbacher, K., Wilson, J., Martin, J., Kasper, D., Hauser, S.