Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a complex neurological condition affecting approximately 130,000 people in the United Kingdom alone.
Characterised by an unpredictable course and a wide range of symptoms, MS can manifest differently in everyone, making it difficult for carers and loved ones of those diagnosed to know how to help.
To better understand the complexities of this condition, it’s important to know about the different types of MS.
Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis
Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) is the most common type of MS, with it accounting for about 85 per cent of first diagnoses.
It is marked by clearly defined episodes of worsening symptoms, known as relapses. Between relapses are remission periods, where full or partial recovery is typical.
Whilst there is no cure for any kind of MS, there are disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) that are often effective in reducing the frequency of relapses in PRMS. Steroids can also be used during relapses to help speed up the recovery time too.
Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS) usually follows an initial period of RRMS.
Here, the symptoms gradually worsen over time, regardless of whether there are relapses or not.
To help treat SPMS, some of the DMTs that are approved for PRMS can be used to help manage symptoms. The general focus for treating SPMS often shifts to managing symptoms and maintaining quality of life as opposed to trying to stop symptoms.
Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) is a less common form of MS, with it only affecting around 10 to 15 per cent of people who are diagnosed with MS.
With this type of MS, there is a steady progression of symptoms from the onset, without relapses or remissions happening.
Compared to the other types of MS, there are fewer treatment options available. Instead, physical therapy and symptom management is heavily focused upon.
Progressive-Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (PRMS) is a rare type of MS.
It is a combination of symptoms from the other types of MS, in that there is a steady progression of the disease from the beginning, but it is also accompanied by acute relapses too.
Unfortunately, there are no specific approved therapies for PRMS, but as with PPMS, symptomatic treatments and general wellness strategies are commonly used.
Clinically Isolated Syndrome
Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS) is where a single episode of MS occurs that lasts at least 24 hours.
There is a high risk of developing RRMS, but this is not a guarantee.
In terms of treatment options, early intervention with DMTs might be considered to slow the progression to RRMS.
Understanding the various types of Multiple Sclerosis is important for effective management and treatment. Each form presents different challenges and may require different therapeutic approaches. Staying informed allows patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers to make better decisions, improving the quality of life for those affected by MS.
Here at Synergy Complex Care, we understand that everybody experiences MS differently, so we tailor our care plans to each individual. If you would like help for yourself or somebody you know with MS, please contact us today.