Stages of Multiple Sclerosis
When someone talks about the stages of multiple sclerosis, I get a little confused. That implies that when you develop MS, you will go through several stages of the disease until you reach the end. So I really don't like this term, but it is used to describe MS, so let's go with it.
The stages of MS are very closely related to the four types of multiple sclerosis. They are Relapsing-remitting (RRMS), Primary-Progressive (PPMS), Secondary-Progressive (SPMS), and Progressive-Relapsing multiple sclerosis (PRMS). These are the main types in order of increasing disability.
There are a few other ways to describe MS as well. Benign multiple sclerosis is one of them. It should probably be listed as a type of RRMS. Benign MS is a very mild form of multiple sclerosis.
If you have this form of MS, you have one or two symptoms that happened only a few times. After that you pretty much have no other recurrences of symptoms.
You live in more or less an extended remission for many years. Any symptoms you have just fade away with no permanent disability. Unfortunately, there is no way of predicting who will have this form of MS.
Another form of MS would be Malignant multiple sclerosis. This is sometimes called Acute MS or Marburg's Variant. This is a very rare form of MS and would probably fall under PRMS – which is also the rarest of the four main types listed above.
If you have acute multiple sclerosis you would progress very quickly from the time of your first symptom. This could all happen within a year and would leave you with severe disability.
It's good to know that this form of MS is extremely rare. My heart goes out to those who develop malignant multiple sclerosis.
Other stages of multiple sclerosis are End Stage multiple sclerosis and Advanced multiple sclerosis. These are pretty much the same thing. They deal with what can happen toward the end of your life.
If you have relapsing-remitting MS, you may not progress to the point of severe disability. This form – RRMS – is the largest group of all those who have MS. So much of the disability associated with End Stage and Advanced MS may not even happen to you.
Also, everyone progresses at different rates. The damage done to your brain and spinal cord may be more or less. This all depends on the rate of progression you have experienced throughout your life.
I hope the term - stages of multiple sclerosis - is a little less confusing for you now.
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