Multiple sclerosis or MS is an autoimmune disease characterized by damage of the protective layer (myelin sheath) of the nerve fibers of the brain and spinal cord. This results in symptoms like numbness, tingling, burning sensation, weakness and many more depending upon the affected area. In some people, these symptoms are mild in nature and do not show any significant progress of the disease, such cases are called mild MS. If mild MS remains as same without disease progression for several years more than 15 years, then this condition is called benign MS. It is seen in 5-10% in the patients of MS.

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Is There A Mild Case Of MS?

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by the affections of the central nervous system. It is marked by demyelination of the nerve tissues. Myelin sheath is the covering of the nerve tissues that protects the nerves from damage and shock. In this condition, the immune system of the body considers healthy nerve tissues as foreign intruders and destroys them. It involves the brain, spinal cord and other nerve fibers of the body. This results in improper or faulty flow of impulses or signals from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. This causes problems related to vision, hearing, body balance, muscle control, and other normal functions.

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There are some mild cases of MS. After the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, there are certain cases, where symptoms do not progress and are not severe. These symptoms remain quite or very mild. Mild MS is represented by the fact that the affected person does not develop a severe disability in several years. When these symptoms remain mild for 15 years and do not progress further, then such condition is known as benign multiple sclerosis. After 15 years of diagnosis of MS, the mild case is diagnosed as benign MS. It will take 15 years to know it is benign MS. About 5-10% of patients of MS have benign MS.

Symptoms Of Mild MS

The symptoms of Mild MS have a slow onset and mild symptoms. The progression to the severity of the symptoms varies from person to person. As the symptoms are not so severe, it does not cause noticeable disabilities. However, there is a risk that symptoms may become worse with time. In mild or benign MS, the symptoms are-

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  • Numbness in the affected part
  • Visual problems like double vision
  • Problems related to balance and coordination of limbs while moving them

Diagnostic Criteria For Mild MS

The physical impairment caused by benign MS can be assessed by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) designed for the use of neurologists. According to this scale, the diagnostic criteria of benign or mild MS are following-

  • No acceleration of disease activity
  • No indication of worsening symptoms even by diagnostic tests such as MRI scan

Treatment Of MS

There is no cure for any form of MS. The treatment of MS is focused on the management of the symptoms and modification of disease to control the progress of the disease. The medicines are prescribed to reduce the symptoms and avoid any disability. The patient even with mild MS needs long-term follow up. According to studies done by National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, if the patients with mild MS or benign MS do not continue long-term follow up or do not take regular medicines, then there are chances that the patient may get disabilities in course of time. Thus, proper and long-term management of the mild cases of MS can prevent irreversible damages.

Conclusion

Mild MS is a form of multiple sclerosis whose symptoms are mild from the beginning. Mild MS does not show any progressive activity of the disease for years more than 5 years. When mild symptoms remain for 15 years or more without any marked disability in the body, then the condition is known as benign MS.

References

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Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

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Last Modified On: April 3, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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