Multiple Sclerosis (MS) (cont.)

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What are the signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis?

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis are dependent on the area of demyelination. Patients may experience visual changes, including loss of vision, if their optic nerve has been impacted. Other patients might describe numbness, tingling, or weakness. The weakness may be mild or severe enough to cause paralysis of one side of the body. Vertigo has been described. In some cases, patients may develop incontinence or even an inability to empty their bladder. As multiple sclerosis progresses, some patients are left with muscle spasticity, or an involuntary painful contraction of certain muscles.

What are the different types of multiple sclerosis?

There are four types of multiple sclerosis which are described. Of these, the most common form of multiple sclerosis at onset is called relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Patients with this form of multiple sclerosis develop symptoms which respond to treatment and then resolve. The development of symptoms is often referred to as an exacerbation of the disease. Episodes of remission may last for weeks to years.

Secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) is diagnosed when the problems caused by an exacerbation don't fully resolve during a remission. This often occurs in patients who were initially diagnosed with RRMS. Over time, patients are identified with progressive debility.

Primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) progresses over time, without episodes of remission or improvement of symptoms.

Progressive-relapsing multiple sclerosis (PRMS) is identified when patients experience escalating symptoms over time, as well as intermittent episodes of remission.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/11/2013

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