Tuesday, July 31, 2012

We Need Better Language to Discuss Advanced MS

Occasionally, readers submit questions regarding “late stage” or “end stage” MS.  People want to know about “stage 4” MS, advanced MS or MS at the end of life.  These questions are often difficult to answer, not just because of the sensitive nature of the subject, but due to the use of nonstandard terminology.

What are the types of MS?

Almost two decades ago, the National MS Society asked specialists in MS patient care and research to help develop a common language to use when discussing disease categories and characteristics.  Four types of MS were defined as relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), secondary progressive MS (SPMS), primary progressive MS (PPMS), and primary relapsing MS (PRMS).

What are the stages of MS?

One way to view this question is to consider a person’s experience living with MS.  The first stage may include the recognition of unexplained symptoms which initially send a person to the doctor looking for answers, followed by the diagnosis itself.  The second stage might encompass a person’s experience in learning to live with the disease, while adapting to the challenges MS places in the road.  The next stage could be evidenced as the patient accumulates moderate disability.

Read this post in its entirety:

What is "Stage 4" MS?

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