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While multiple sclerosis (MS) is different for each individual, four disease patterns have been identified – clinically isolated syndrome (CIS – a first event of neurologic symptoms in the central nervous system that may or may not develop into MS), relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), secondary progressive MS (SPMS), and primary progressive MS (PPMS). SPMS, which follows after RRMS for most people, is characterized by steady progression with or without relapses. Primary progressive MS is characterized by steady progression from onset, typically with few or no relapses.   

The characteristics, treatment and management of progressive MS are different from RRMS. Medication options are limited for individuals with progressive MS.  People with progressive MS and their healthcare providers are encouraged to focus on symptom management and wellness.  Improvements in wellness are known to have a positive impact on overall health and disease progression.  Modifiable health behaviors that can improve wellness may include changes to diet, smoking cessation, and an increase in physical activity and exercise, among others. 

Information about how progressive MS is diagnosed and managed and the important role of overall health and wellness is available in a variety of articles, booklets, webpages, and videos from Can Do Multiple Sclerosis and the National MS Society: