Multiple sclerosis can be defined as a disease which is known for affecting the central nervous system. There are many different types of multiple sclerosis and it never affects people in the same exact way because everyone’s body is different. There are four main types of multiple sclerosis that are known, but there are many other subtypes which can be used to categorize the specific type of multiple sclerosis that the individual is suffering from. The four main types of multiple sclerosis are known as progressive relapsing, primary progressive, relapsing/remitting, and secondary progressive.
Over 80% of individuals who have multiple sclerosis are considered to have relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis. In a relapse, the affected individual may have symptoms that they have never had before or may have previous symptoms begin to worsen in ways that they would not expect. Sometimes symptoms will not be present at all, which makes them harder to deal with when they arrive again during another episode. In a remission phase, the symptoms are less likely to appear and the individual may feel as if they are recovering. Some people do not experience any more issues with movements or feeling disabled during this period of time. Sometimes the remission will last for a few days, other times it may last for months or years. There is no way of knowing the length of a remission.
Individuals who have relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis will usually progress to having secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. This is common for 90% of those who are affected. Every remission means that the disease is worsening and that means that the relapses are more difficult to deal with than they were previously. After some point, the multiple sclerosis begins to worsen to the point that the central nervous system is affected entirely. This may take a process of several years, meaning that people who have multiple sclerosis of this type can still live active and normal lives due to lack of progression.
It is estimated that only 5% of people who have multiple sclerosis have progressive relapsing multiple sclerosis. These are very difficult and severe attacks which provide very little room for recovery over the relapse period. 10% of people with multiple sclerosis have primary progressive multiple sclerosis, which offers less severe attacks but eventually does disable the individual. Usually, it is harder for doctors to diagnose this type of multiple sclerosis because there is a lack of attacks to the body.