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The Four Types of Multiple Sclerosis

The Four Types of Multiple Sclerosis

A Comprehensive Guide

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune, neurodegenerative and inflammatory condition  that attacks the central nervous system (CNS). It corrupts the immune system, making it work against the body.

MS is characterized by inflammation, demyelination, and subsequent damage to nerve fibers. This blog offers a comprehensive analysis of the four main types of multiple sclerosis, along with their symptoms, and the quality of life each one comes with.

Types of Multiple Sclerosis

There are four distinct types of multiple sclerosis, each with its own characteristics, prognosis, and treatment approach. A proper understanding of the different types of MS is critical for managing the condition effectively. Let’s understand the four types of MS:

Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS)

Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) is the most common type of multiple sclerosis. Approximately 85% of people diagnosed with MS have RRMS. It is characterized by periods of relapse or exacerbation. During these periods, new symptoms can emerge or the existing ones can worsen. These relapses are followed by periods of remission. During this phase, the symptoms may partially or completely disappear, although some residual symptoms may persist.

Secondary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS)

Secondary-progressive MS (SPMS) follows an initial relapsing-remitting course. Over a period of time, RRMS may transition to SPMS. This transition is marked by a progressive worsening of symptoms with or without periodic relapses or remissions. In patients with SPMS, disability tends to accumulate more steadily than in those diagnosed with RRMS. This can lead to increased difficulties in performing everyday tasks.

Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS)

Nearly 10-15% of MS cases are that of Primary-progressive MS (PPMS). It is characterized by a gradual worsening of symptoms from the onset, without typical relapses or remissions. Although disease progression in Individuals with PPMS is steady, there have been cases where patients have experienced periods of stability. PPMS often has a later onset in life, unlike RRMS and SPMS.

Progressive-Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (PRMS)

The rarest form of MS, Progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS) affects only a small percentage of individuals with MS. It is characterized by a steady worsening of symptoms from the onset, accompanied by occasional relapses that may or may not lead to partial or complete recovery. PRMS is typically marked by a progressive disease course with relapses that tend to be superimposed. On the other hand, RRMS is characterized by relapses followed by remission,.

Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

The symptoms of MS vary widely among individuals and may change over time. They can impact different parts of the body and may include a combination of:

  • Fatigue – It impacts daily activities and quality of life.
  • Optic neuritis – This is the inflammation of the optic nerve, and can cause blurred or double vision, eye pain, and color distortion.
  • Paresthesia – This is essentially tingling, numbness, or a sensation of pins and needles that typically occurs in the face, arms, or legs.
  • Muscle weakness – This is a classic symptom of MS.
  • Impaired coordination –  Weakness in the limbs and muscles can lead to difficulty with coordination. This may affect walking and other motor tasks.
  • Muscle stiffness – Spasticity, or muscle stiffness, can occur, making movement difficult.
  • Incontinence – Another classic symptom of MS, it is characterized by bladder and bowel control problems, causing urgency, frequency, or incontinence.
  • Impaired memory and concentration: Individuals with MS can experience cognitive changes, including memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and mood swings.
  • Dysarthria and dysphagia – Weakness or lack of coordination in the muscles used for speech may result in slurred or difficult-to-understand speech, and swallowing difficulties.
  • Worsening of symptoms: Exposure to specific symptoms, such as hot weather or hot baths, can worsen MS symptoms. This is a temporary phase.
  • Depression and anxiety: The impact of the disease on daily life has been associated with emotional changes, including depression and anxiety.

Now let’s take a look at the symptoms specific to each type of MS.

Symptoms of RRMS

These often fluctuate, with periods of exacerbation followed by partial or complete recovery. Relapses typically involve a wide range of symptoms, such as sensory disturbances, visual changes, motor weakness, and cognitive challenges. During remission, the individual may experience periods of stability with minimal symptoms.

Symptoms of SPMS

SPMS’ symptoms gradually worsen over time. Progressive disability becomes more pronounced, affecting coordination, mobility, and overall quality of life. Patients with SPMS may experience occasional relapses, although these are less frequent than in RRMS.

Symptoms of PPMS

Common symptoms include muscle stiffness, walking difficulties, weakness, and even sensory disturbances. PPMS is characterized by a gradual progression of symptoms from the onset. 

Symptoms of PRMS

Individuals may experience a wide range of symptoms, from motor and sensory disturbances, to fatigue and cognitive challenges. In PRMS, the severity of disability escalates steadily over time.

Stem Cell Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis at Plexus

Stem cell therapy using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is an innovative approach to managing MS, providing long-term relief, and even addressing its underlying causes. MSCs, derived from various tissues such as bone marrow and adipose tissue, have shown immunomodulatory properties, making them a potential therapeutic tool for disorders like MS.

At Plexus, our customized regenerative rehabilitation program for multiple sclerosis provides relief from symptoms, slows down disease progression, and improves quality of life.

Below are the features of MSCs that aid in managing MS:

  • MSCs secrete anti-inflammatory molecules that can potentially reduce inflammation in the affected tissues. This can help mitigate the destructive impact of autoimmune responses.
  • MSCs can modulate the immune system by suppressing the activity of hyperactive immune cells and promoting regulatory T-cell function. They have the ability to create a more balanced and controlled immune response.
  • MSCs can repair or regenerate damaged tissues, and contribute to the repair of myelin and nerve fibers, potentially slowing down (and even reverse in some cases) some of the neurological damage associated with the disease.

Dr Na’eem Sadiq and his team of highly skilled autoimmune experts will leave no stone unturned in providing you with the very best of care. Choosing Plexus as your stem cell partner gives you the following benefits too:

  • Minimally-invasive non-surgical procedure
  • Faster post-procedural recovery
  • Improved everyday functionality
  • Less reliance on medications
  • Improved quality of life
  • Reduced symptoms
  • Reduced relapses

Understanding the distinctions between the four types of MS is essential for accurate diagnosis, timely and appropriate treatment, as well as optimal disease management. If you wish to know more about our award-winning rehabilitation program for Multiple Sclerosis, reach out to our team in Bangalore or Hyderabad today.

WhatsApp +91 89048 42087

Call +91 78159 64668 (Hyderabad) | +91 82299 99888 (Bangalore)


What are the 4 classifications of MS?

The four classifications of MS are:

  • Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS)
  • Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS)
  • Primary-Progressive MS (PPMS)
  • Progressive-Relapsing MS (PRMS)

What is the most severe type of MS?

Primary-Progressive MS (PPMS) is regarded as the most severe type of MS due to its gradual and chronic progression from the onset. PPMS does not have any distinct relapses or remissions.

What type of disease is MS?

Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation, demyelination, and damage to the central nervous system.

What is the end stage MS?

End stage MS is the advanced stage of the disease. Individuals experience significant disability, including severe mobility issues, cognitive impairment, and other complications. 

What are 6 symptoms of MS?

Common symptoms of MS include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Coordination and balance problems
  • Vision problems
  • Cognitive changes
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