Types of MS
Every case of MS is different, but each one can be categorized into several distinct types. Each type has its own unique symptoms and pattern of progression.
The types of MS include: clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), secondary-progressive MS (SPMS), primary-progressive MS (PPMS), and progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS).
Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS)
The first occurrence of a neurologic episode — one or more symptoms — that lasts 24 hours or longer has been referred to as a Clinically Isolated Syndrome. People who experience a CIS may or may not develop one of the types of MS described below. Some therapies are FDA-approved for CIS and proven to delay the onset of clinical definite MS (CDMS). CDMS is a medical term that means someone has officially been diagnosed with MS because they have experienced two different symptoms separated by a period of time.
Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS)
About 85% of all initial MS diagnoses are RRMS. People with RRMS have isolated relapses when symptoms may appear or resurface. These relapses are followed by periods of time when a person with RRMS experiences fewer symptoms — or none at all.
Secondary-progressive MS (SPMS)
About 50% of people with RRMS develop SPMS. This happens gradually, usually within 10 years of initial diagnosis. While people with SPMS experience fewer relapses, their disability worsens and symptoms may become more pronounced.
Primary-progressive MS (PPMS)
Characterized by a steady worsening of symptoms, and disability, PPMS makes up about 10% of MS diagnoses. People with PPMS do experience relapses, but also experience symptoms that may occasionally speed up, slow down, or even get better for a time.
Progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS)
About 5% of people with MS are diagnosed with PRMS. It is characterized by steady worsening of disability along with occasional relapses.