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Read on to learn about the importance of catching symptom changes early

Multiple sclerosis (MS) doesn’t look the same for everyone. That isn’t just because of the types of symptoms that can appear, but because there are different types of MS, and everyone is at a different stage of progression. It’s important to keep an eye on how your MS is behaving and try to catch changes as early as possible.

Your MS story

Your MS story

Identifying progression

Changes to multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms can be subtle and over a long period of time, so they may go unnoticed if you aren’t specifically looking out for them. Your symptoms may become more challenging and, while it might seem strange, you may even experience fewer relapses—not more. Experiencing fewer relapses can be a sign that your MS is changing and potentially transitioning to another phase of the disease.


Spotting changes in symptoms

It’s important to look out for changes in symptoms to be aware of your MS. By monitoring changes and communicating anything unusual to your doctor or nurse, you can stay aware of MS progression, working with them to find the right plan. These changes can be hard to deal with, but you and your doctor can work to make a plan appropriate for you.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can be thought of as a continuum that people often move along through their life. Around 15% of people living with MS will be diagnosed with Primary Progressive MS (PPMS), the form of the condition characterized by worsening neurologic function (accumulation of disability) from the onset of symptoms, without early relapses or remissions. 85% of people with MS are initially diagnosed with the Relapse-Remitting form (RRMS), where symptoms flare up (relapse) but then quieten down. This pattern of symptoms may change as time goes on and this may signify a move to the next phase of MS. Most people who are diagnosed with RRMS will eventually transition to secondary progressive MS (SPMS) in which there is a progressive worsening of neurologic function (accumulation of disability) over time.

85% of people with MS are initially diagnosed with RRMS
Most people with RRMS will eventually transition to SPMS

Talk to your doctor to stay on top of whether your MS is progressing.

Recognizing the signs of SPMS

In SPMS, relapses become less frequent, but symptoms gradually worsen outside of relapses. MS is an autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack the protective layer around your nerves and can cause nerve damage as well. This may mean increased disability, including difficulty walking or increased fatigue. Another symptom that can be associated with SPMS is increased cognitive problems such as issues with memory or thinking. Changes are usually gradual but it’s important to spot the signs so that you can flag them to your doctor early. Monitoring changes and communicating these to a healthcare professional can be important to your care.


Be sure to discuss anything you notice with your doctor.

Common signs your RRMS may be progressing to SPMS

Symptoms that are getting worse

Symptoms that are
getting worse

New physical or cognitive symptoms

New physical or
cognitive symptoms

Less frequent relapses

Less frequent

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