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Multiple sclerosis - What will happen to me?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

It's hard to say how multiple sclerosis (MS) will affect you. It affects people in different ways.

ms-woman_default.jpgA lot depends on which type of MS you have. (To learn more about the different kinds of MS, see Types of multiple sclerosis.)

  • If you have the most common type, relapsing-remitting MS, your symptoms may come and go for many years.

  • If you have primary or secondary progressive MS, your symptoms won't go away and will probably continue to worsen.

In most people, the relapsing-remitting type of MS turns into the secondary progressive type as time goes by.[16] If your relapsing-remitting MS was diagnosed 10 years ago, your chances of having secondary progressive MS are about 5 in 10 (50 percent).[17]

Here are some more things we know about how MS may affect you.

  • The longer you have MS, the more symptoms you're likely to have. You may gradually need more help getting around.

  • But some people with MS have very little disability even after 15 to 20 years.

  • Don't assume you'll need a wheelchair. Many people with MS can walk unaided. Others can walk short distances but need walking aids and perhaps a motorised chair or scooter to help them with longer trips.

  • More and more people with MS are now taking drugs to reduce relapses (flare-ups) and slow the disease. These drugs haven't been around long enough for doctors to see their effects over many years.

  • MS doesn't change how long you live by much. You'll probably live almost as long with MS as you would if you didn't have the disease.[18]

It's hard for doctors to say what will happen to you, but certain things about your MS can help your doctors roughly predict what might happen. (For more, see What your MS can tell you about your future.)


For references related to Multiple sclerosis click here.
Last Updated: March 25, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.
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