What is Multiple Sclerosis?
You must be familiar with Multiple Sclerosis, but here is a simple definition of this disease in case you are not.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which our body’s immune system attacks the covering of nerves (Myelin) in the body, leading to demyelination. It can result in various symptoms such as muscle weakness, foot drop, loss of vision, imbalance, etc.
Multiple sclerosis is a disabling disorder in which the nerves and some brain parts become affected/damaged at several sites. If a nerve that controls vision becomes affected, a person suffers from problems with vision. Similarly, if nerves controlling muscles are affected, the person faces muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.
Types of Multiple Sclerosis
There are four types of Multiple sclerosis based on the pattern of presentation of this disease. One must keep in mind that there is no definite pattern of symptoms of this disease. It can cause different symptoms in different individuals.
Here are the four major types of multiple sclerosis.
Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RPMS)
It is the most common type of Multiple Sclerosis, and it affects more than 80% of people who have Multiple Sclerosis. One can understand this disease’s pattern by looking at two words used in its name, i.e., Relapse and Remitting.
Relapse means deterioration in health due to disease, and remitting means getting back to a normal state. In this type of multiple sclerosis, a person suffers from a relapsing phase that affects his body, followed by a remitting phase in which symptoms decrease, and it can last from months to years. Another attack may occur (relapsing phase) that again affects the body but this time to a greater extent, followed by a remitting phase.
Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS)
Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS) is a type that is similar to the type mentioned above (Relapsing-Remitting MS) in the early phase of the disease. After this, there is a constant decline in the body’s functions, and no remitting phase occurs.
Consider that if a person’s nerves supplying the eyes are affected in SPMS. In that case, the vision gets affected at the beginning of the disease, followed by some improvement (Remitting phase). But then there comes the point when there is a constant decline in the vision with no improvement.
Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS)
Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis is the third type of multiple sclerosis.
In this type, there is a constant decline in the body’s function as time passes. There is no remitting phase in this type, unlike the two types mentioned above.
For example, if a person’s foot muscles are affected, their strength decreases. In the PPMS, the strength will continue to deteriorate with time, ultimately leading to paralysis of those muscles.
Progressive Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (PRMS)
The last type is similar to primary progressive Multiple sclerosis (PPMS). There is a constant decline in the body’s function. There are, however, superimposed periods in which the disability occurs even faster than in PPMS.
MS of any type can be difficult to diagnose in its early stage. And even if most of the people suffering from MS don’t have severe disabilities. Understanding the signs and symptoms will help the patients get prompt treatment without causing further damage.