What does benign MS mean?
Benign MS is a term used to describe the mildest form of MS — If someone with MS has remained mostly functional for 15 years, they are generally considered to have benign MS.
Benign MS is a variation of relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) where relapses are very mild, where there are very long periods between relapses and/or only a few relapses ever occur. It is thought that 5-20% of people with MS have benign MS.
The first attack often affects vision or another sense, but the person remains active. Usually, subtle damage is occurring despite the lack of relapses.
Progression of symptoms in benign MS
Benign MS doesn’t mean you won’t experience any symptoms. All types of MS are unpredictable, and so one person with benign MS might have different symptoms with varying progression and severity.
Common symptoms include:
People with benign MS may experience these symptoms but an MRI scan may not show their progression. Some people with benign MS have mild symptoms which take decades to progress while others have a quicker progression.
The problem with the term ‘benign MS’ is that it describes past experiences, not considering relapses in the future (not so benign), and that there is currently no way of accurately predicting a benign MS course. It also fails to take account of the fact that up to 50% of people with benign MS suffers cognitive symptoms, that can often be invisible but extremely debilitating.
It is therefore vital that you adopt a healthy lifestyle so that you can live as well as you possibly can.