With MS, symptoms and relapses
may be different for everyone

Multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms can vary in type and severity from one person to the next. They can even change in the same person over time. It’s also important to know that there are things you can do early on in the disease that may help delay symptoms.

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Common physical symptoms of MS:

  • Fatigue (occurs in about 80% of people with MS)
  • Trouble walking and loss of balance
  • Blurred vision, poor contrast, and trouble seeing colors
  • Numbness and tingling (face, feet, and legs)
MS cognitive changes icon

Cognitive changes caused by MS may include:

  • Worsening of memory (affecting the ability to learn and remember information)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Challenges with planning
  • Trouble thinking of the right word
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Relapses are part of MS

In MS, when a new symptom occurs, or an old symptom
returns or worsens, it’s called a “relapse.” People also refer
to relapses as:

  • Attacks
  • Flare-ups
  • An exacerbation
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The different types of MS

There are several different types of MS, mostly determined by how the disease progresses over time and how often symptoms and relapses are experienced.

  • Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) is a first episode of MS symptoms that lasts at least 24 hours. A person may experience a CIS but not go on to develop MS
  • Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) is the most common form of MS (almost 85% of people with MS are initially diagnosed with RRMS). People with this type of MS experience relapses followed by periods of partial or complete recovery
  • Secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) usually follows RRMS. With SPMS, the function of the central nervous system gradually gets worse and leads to additional disability
  • Primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). PPMS is characterized by worsening neurological function from the very onset of MS. Both relapses and remissions are rare

You can help manage MS symptoms with a healthy lifestyle

Early on in the disease, your brain can adapt to the damage that MS lesions can cause. This ability, called “neurological reserve,” doesn’t last forever: but you can help it last longer by making healthy lifestyle choices. These healthy choices are a key part of the MS MindShift initiative.

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