There are key MS stages which differentiate different forms of MS. These Multiple Sclerosis stages govern the cycles of remission and relapse as well how fast the disease progresses. Relapsing-remitting MS has very regular cycles of relapse and remission. The patient usually has time to recover fully during the episodes of remission as the symptoms of the disease completely disappear for the duration of the remission. This particular form of MS takes a long time to progress and can even go for 40 years before it evolves into another stage. On average, 85 percent of patients who have MS have this particular form of it.
Only 10 percent of the population diagnosed by MS has Primary-Progressive MS. Individuals with this devastating form of disease will get progressively worse as time goes on and very few and temporary improvements, if any improvements at all, will be encountered. Secondary-Progressive MS is usually what RRMS will evolve into. The change of RRMS into SPMS can happen in as quick as 5 years or as long as 40 years.
When it comes to the stages of MS, the Progressive-Relapsing MS is very rare. This form of MS progresses rapidly. Only 5 percent of the individuals diagnosed with MS have this form, but these people will become severely disabled within a short amount of time and there will be no remissions.
Diagnosing Various Stages of Multiple Sclerosis
It is hard to diagnose MS and there is no single test to determine each form of Multiple Sclerosis. There is a variety of different testing techniques that are used to eliminate other diseases and prove the existence of MS in a single patient. For example, viruses can be ruled out by a blood test, as well as inflammatory diseases, infectious illnesses can be very similar to MS when it comes to symptoms or signs.
Another procedure that is used to determine whether or not a viral infection is at fault for the increase of white blood cells that is a symptom of MS is a lumbar puncture. This test, also called a spinal tap, is done by collecting a sample of cerebrospinal fluid from the lower portion of the spine. The amount of white blood cells can increase and cause neurological symptoms which can appear as MS.
When it comes to MS stages the most effective diagnostic tool is a MRI. This magnetic resonance imaging scan is done by injecting the patient with a colorless dye called gadolinium. This dye highlights any extant lesions on the brain or the spinal cord of the patient. Multiple Sclerosis stages cause active lesions appear and the brightness of these areas via the use of the dye make it easy for the doctor to spot them. Some other diseases that can cause lesions are Lyme disease or lupus.