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How Long Does MS Take To Progress?

The advancements in science have helped to improve the symptoms associated with MS, but sadly there is no treatment for MS. National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) states that people with MS have relatively normal expectancy provided the treatment is started early. The life expectancy is reduced by 7 years. People often die of the complications associated with MS rather than MS. It is not always associated with paralysis, but the quality of life is decreased in such people where there is a pain, discomfort, and inconvenience. As there is damage to the nerves of the brain and spinal cord, these organic changes and the psychological changes affect the personality.

The personality changes affect the performance at home and office and added stress affects health. About 70% of people can still walk without any help after 20 years of diagnosis also and only 30% of people need wheelchair or crutches to assist in walking. The help reduces fatigue and prevents falls due to balance difficulties.

How Long Does MS Take To Progress?

It is difficult to judge the progression of the disease; it depends upon the severity of the disease. Most cases of MS are not severely affected. The disease will always progress from one stage to another. At the initial stage, the MS affects many parts of the body and the progression of disease will start from one of the parts. There will be personality and behavioral changes, lack of urinary and motor control. A person who has MS, the reason and time of attacks cannot be ascertained and when the symptoms flare-up. There is wide variation in the attacks even in the same individuals. Doctor’s diagnosis about the type of MS can give you an insight into the attacks, symptoms and the recovery aspects. The MS can be classified as Relapsing-remitting MS, Primary-progressive MS, Secondary-progressive MS, and Progressive-relapsing MS.

The prognosis depends on the type of MS. In Primary progressive MS (PPMS), there is a constant decline in the functioning without relapses or remissions. The progression of disease continues. Every individual is different and hence the rate of progression of the disease. In the relapsing-remitting form of MS, a number of factors predict the progression of the disease such as

  • The lesser number of attacks in the first years after diagnosis
  • The duration between each attack
  • The extent of recovery from each attack
  • Recovery of sensation such as numbness, tingling or vision loss
  • Neurological examination determines the extent of the damage

It will be difficult for the doctors to predict the progression of the disease whether the symptoms will improve with time or there will be worsening of the same. MS as such is not a fatal disease, but its complications predispose the individuals to death. The disease affects the lifestyle rather the duration of life.

According to a US study, it takes 10 years or more to reach EDSS score from 3 to 6 with relapsing-remitting MS whereas people suffering from primary progressive it took only 3 years to get a score of 6. Once the EDSS score has reached 6 then the chances of progression of the disease are higher.

According to an Australian study, the prognosis is difficult if the age of onset of MS is high, the disease is progressive if the symptoms are multiple which includes motor and balance disorder and if the first relapse has occurred in a short span. The progression of the disease can be controlled by a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, diet, sunlight, and meditation.


The progression and severity of the disease vary from one individual to another. The primary progressive form of the disease has a higher incidence of progression when compared to the relapsing-remitting form of MS. EDSS score 6 takes 3 years in primary progressive form whereas same takes 10 years in relapsing-remitting form.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 3, 2019

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