Multiple Sclerosis (cont.)
Fernando Dangond, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
What are the types of multiple sclerosis?
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There are different clinical manifestations of multiple sclerosis. During an attack, a person experiences a sudden deterioration in normal physical abilities that may range from mild to severe. This attack, sometimes referred to as an exacerbation of multiple sclerosis, typically lasts more than 24 hours and generally more than a few weeks (rarely more than 4 weeks).
About 65% to 80% of individuals begin with relapsing-remitting (RR) MS, the most common type. In this type, they experience a series of attacks followed by complete or partial disappearance of the symptoms (remission) until another attack occurs (relapse). It may be weeks to decades between relapses.
In primary-progressive (PP) MS, there is a continuous, gradual decline in a person's physical abilities from the outset rather than relapses. About 10% to 20% of individuals begin with PP-MS.
Those beginning with RR-MS can then enter a phase where relapses are rare but more disability accumulates, and are said to have secondary-progressive (SP) MS. About 50% of RR-MS individuals will develop SP-MS within 10 years. Over several decades, most RR-MS persons will experience progression to SP-MS. Progressive-relapsing (PR) MS is a type of multiple sclerosis characterized by a steady decline in abilities accompanied by sporadic attacks. There are cases of multiple sclerosis that are mild and can be recognized only retrospectively after many years and also rare cases of extremely rapid progression of multiple sclerosis symptoms (sometimes fatal) known as malignant or fulminant (Marburg variant) multiple sclerosis.
What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?
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Symptoms of multiple sclerosis may be single or multiple and may range from mild to severe in intensity and short to long in duration. Complete or partial remission from symptoms occurs early in about 70% of individuals with multiple sclerosis.
50% of people experience mental changes such as:
Other symptoms may include:
As the disease worsens, individuals may experience sexual dysfunction or reduced bowel and bladder control. Heat appears to intensify multiple sclerosis symptoms for about 60% of those with the disease. Pregnancy seems to reduce the number of attacks, especially during the third trimester.
Reviewed by Jay W. Marks, MD on 4/16/2013
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