Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease where the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves.
The resulting nerve damage disrupts communication between the brain and the body. In other words, it is very unpredictable. Everyone’s experience with MS is different.
The exact cause of MS is unknown. There is also no way to determine how someone’s disease will move forward. However, there are four basic MS disease courses. These are as followed:
Clinically Isolated Syndrome
First episode of disruption between the brain and body. The episode must last for at least 24 hours. Episode is typically attributed to MS. However, it does not yet meet the criteria for a diagnosis. People who experience this do not always develop MS later on.
The most common disease course. It is characterized by clearly defined attacks. These attacks are also called relapses. They are followed by periods of partial or complete recovery. These are otherwise known as remissions.
Secondary Progressive MS
SPMS occurs after an initial relapsing-remitting course. RRMS will eventually transition to SPMS overtime. There is an overall worsening of the disruption between the brain and body.
Primary Progressive MS
Typically described as the worsening disruption between the brain and body. This occurs from the initial start of symptoms. Therefore it occurs without early relapses or remissions.
There are nearly 1 million living with MS in the United States. Most diagnosis occur between the ages of 20 and 50.
There are no specific tests for MS. Instead, a diagnosis often relies on ruling out other conditions that might produce similar signs and symptoms.