Types of Multiple Sclerosis


Benign Multiple Sclerosis

Benign MS: This is a sub-group of relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis. It is used to describe the chronic disease state in individuals who have had MS for fifteen years or more but presenting no serious and enduring disability. Benign MS often progresses to Secondary Progressive MS after a number of years.

Chronic Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

Chronic Progressive MS: Formerly, Primary Progressive and Secondary Progressive used to categorized as Chronic Progressive (CPMS).

Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

Primary Progressive MS: characterised by a gradual progression of the disease from its onset with no superimposed relapses and remissions. There may be periods of a leveling off of disease activity. Onset is typically in the late thirties or early forties, men are as likely women to develop it and initial disease activity is often in the spinal cord. Individuals with Primary Progressive are less likely to develop cognitive difficulties.

Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

Secondary Progressive MS: characterised by a steady progression of clinical neurological damage with or without superimposed relapses and minor remissions and plateaux. Individuals who develop Secondary progressive MS will have previously experienced a period of Relapsing/Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS).

Malignant Multiple Sclerosis

Malignant MS: (Marburg’s Variant or Acute Multiple Sclerosis).  The disease progresses very rapidly from onset leading to severe disability within a relatively short period of time. This form of MS is extremely rare.

Transitional/Progressive MS: Another form of the disease which is sometimes referred to but not widely used, is Transitional/Progressive (TPMS). This is characterised by a progressive course beginning many years after an isolated bout.

Devic’s Disease: (Neuromyelitis Optica). A related condition of multiple sclerosis characterised by affecting the optic nerve. Optic Neuritis occurs in both eyes followed by severe inflammation of the spinal cord (Transverse Myelopathy).

Balo’s concentric sclerosis: Rare disease that resembles multiple sclerosis. Clinically, difficult to distinguish from MS. MRI scans show the lesions in Balo’s to be concentric rings of intact myelin and demyelinated zones. It is more common in Chinese and Philippino populations.

What is Multiple Sclerosis. 2008. Retrieved July 9, 2010 from http://www.mult-sclerosis.org/whatisms.html


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