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.