Autoimmune disorders

Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources

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What Is Multiple Sclerosis?

The Four Courses of MS

The Four Courses of MS

Over 80 percent of people with MS are diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). People with RRMS have acute attacks of symptoms (termed “relapses”), followed by symptom-free recovery periods (termed “remission”). Relapses and remission can last anywhere from days to months.

Some people with RRMS eventually develop secondary-progressive MS (SPMS). People with SPMS still have relapses and remission, but they are not symptom-free during their recovery periods. Disability during remission gets worse with each relapse; eventually, progressively worsening disability replaces the cycles of relapse and remission.

15 percent of people with MS have primary-progressive MS (PPMS), meaning they have symptoms that get worse at a slow but steady rate, and do not experience relapses.

By Jen Matz. Published March 26, 2013. Jenilee Matz is a medical writer, health educator, and triathlete based in Charlotte, NC.