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Four Distinct Paths of Progression of Multiple Sclerosis

Posted on February 17, 2016 by Disability Help Group

An estimated 250,000 to 350,000 people are living with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the United States, although the actual number may be higher. The symptoms of MS may be “invisible” which can make it difficult to diagnose. MS severity used to fall into three categories: primary, secondary, and chronic progressive MS. But the National MS Society now defines four different progressions.

  • Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), the most common type of MS affecting most MS patients. This type of MS has noticeable flare-ups with periods of partial or complete remission with no disease progression in the remission period.
  • Secondary-progressive MS (SPMS), a type of MS to which many people with RRMS transition over time. At this stage, MS progresses more steadily and may or may not have periods of remission.
  • Primary-progressive MS (PPMS), a less common form of MS believed to affect 10 percent of MS patients. In this form, neurologic function declines steadily over time.
  • Progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS), the least common and most severe form of MS. The disease progresses steadily, worsening over time with occasional relapses and no remissions.

No two MS patients have the same exact symptoms, and the severity of their conditions may vary from day to day. These are just a few reasons that MS can be extremely difficult to diagnose and many patients do not receive a diagnosis until the doctor has ruled out all other conditions, especially with symptoms such as fatigue and chronic pain. Many of the symptoms are common in other conditions, so diagnosis can take several years for some patients with less defined symptoms.

A diagnosed case of multiple sclerosis can qualify for Social Security disability benefits if symptoms make it too difficult to continue working and earn a substantial income. If you applied for disability benefits and the Social Security Administration denied your claim, Disability Help Group is here to help. Call today – 1-(800)-800-3332.