Understanding Multiple Sclerosis: Types and Symptoms
January 05, 2021 | Farah Jassawalla

Understanding Multiple Sclerosis: Types and Symptoms

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Multiple Sclerosis disease attacks the brain and central nervous system and can be disabling in extreme cases. MS disrupts the flow of information to and from the brain, often leading to permanent damage.

In Multiple Sclerosis, the body's immune system attacks the myelin sheath covering the nerves. This sheath ensures that electrical impulses can travel through the nerves efficiently. When the sheath gets damaged, the communication between the brain and the rest of the body is disrupted.

Experts are unsure about what exactly causes MS; many factors come into play, such as hereditary and environmental ones. Scientists think that people who live further away from the equator are more likely to be diagnosed, as vitamin D is thought to reduce a diagnosis's chances. 

You can not inherit the disease from your parents, but having a parent with Multiple Sclerosis increases the child's risk. Before we get to the symptoms and complications caused by the virus, let us discuss its types first.


Types of Multiple Sclerosis

The three main types of MS present themselves in different ways. Let us discuss them in detail:

1. Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS)

The most common form of the disorder, Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, characterizes easily distinguishable attacks on the nervous system, each coming with its own types of symptoms on the body. 

After these attacks, the body goes into "remission" – a state where the symptoms partially or completely go away. Most people start out with an initial diagnosis of RRMS, which then progresses to Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. 

2. Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS)

This disorder typically occurs after 10-20 years of Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. In this type of MS, the neurological symptoms progressively worsen without distinguishable attacks. There are no rest stages in SPMS where the symptoms improve. 

3. Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS)

This MS type is different from the other two because it is prevalent in older people (around 40), whereas the other two MS can happen to anyone. The symptoms in Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis progressively worsen without remission. Also, it causes disability in patients sooner than the other two. 


Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis causes a lot of serious symptoms. During the initial stages of the disease, patients are likely to experience the following: 



Abnormal bowel movements and bladder function

Body aches and mobility issues

Problems with vision

Depression and Anxiety

These symptoms can progress into more serious health conditions that can be very debilitating for the people diagnosed.


Complications of Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis can lead to several complications such as Cognitive Impairment, Sensory Impairment, and Venous Thromboembolism. 

Cognitive Impairment

In Cognitive Impairment, an individual's brain function is disrupted. The disruption affects the memory and information processing functions of the brain. Other functions that may be affected include attention and information processing. 

Sensory Impairment

Most patients with MS witness sensory impairment in the form of numbness and itching throughout the body. These patients may either experience these symptoms temporarily or in some cases, long enough for them to interfere in daily functions. 

Venous thromboembolism

Patients with MS are at a higher risk of forming clots in their deep veins (mostly legs).

If you are going through any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is best to get a health care professional involved. Shifa4U allows you to consult professionals online from the comfort of your homes. Visit Shifa4U today to begin the journey of accessible healthcare for all. Join Shifa4U today!

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Farah Jassawalla

Farah Jassawalla is a graduate of the Lahore School of Economics. She is also a writer, and healthcare enthusiast, having closely observed case studies while working with Lahore's thriving general physicians at their clinics.