Monitoring disease activity

Why keeping track of your MS symptoms can help

Monitoring your disease activity is one of the most important parts of managing your relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) over time. It will not only help you better understand your condition, but it will also help keep your healthcare provider informed. Monitoring your MS can also help your healthcare provider decide on a treatment that’s right for you.

MS could be causing damage even if you aren’t having symptoms

You may be experiencing some MS symptoms on a daily basis. And even if you’re not, there could be underlying MS activity that can damage your central nervous system. So even during the times when you're feeling okay, your MS may still be active.

Certain MS treatments, like disease modifying therapies, aim to:

  • Slow the development of new or growing brain lesions*
  • Reduce the number of relapses
  • Delay physical disability progression

Although there is no cure for MS, finding a treatment that’s right for you is one way to help.

*The link between brain lesions and the progression of relapsing MS has not been confirmed.

Is a Biogen relapsing MS treatment right for you?

Learn about the different types of Biogen relapsing MS treatments. Your healthcare provider is your best source of information, especially when choosing treatment.

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Know your options

Biogen offers five approved treatments for relapsing MS. Learn more about each option to help you make an informed decision.

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Measuring physical disability

Your healthcare team may use the Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), which is often used in clinical trials. This scale measures your body’s function and how well you can move.

A trained neurologist will do an examination and provide your healthcare team with information about what stage your disease is at. Always work with your healthcare team to find your EDSS number.

The scale ranges from 0 to 10 and will help determine your physical disability. As the scale goes up, physical disability increases. For example, a score of 1 typically means a person living with MS has no physical disability. At the other end of the scale, a score of 9 typically means someone is confined to bed.

Your healthcare provider may also work with you to understand your baseline. Together, you and your healthcare provider may set a goal of maintaining your baseline and slowing physical disability progression. Be sure to talk to your healthcare team to set up a plan and ask any questions. 

Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale

This scale may be used by your healthcare provider to help track your physical ability.
Hover over each number on the scale for more information.

  • 1.0
  • 2.0
  • 3.0
  • 4.0
  • 5.0
  • 6.0
  • 7.0
  • 8.0
  • 9.0

Scan of a brain lesion

Monitoring brain lesions

Lesions are areas where nerve tissue is damaged from MS. Your
healthcare team uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to
monitor your brain. MRI scans can:

  • Detect any new or changing brain lesions
  • Determine types of lesions
  • Help with treatment decisions

Hover over the image to learn more.

Can lesions cause symptoms?

Some brain lesions may not be connected to the symptoms you’re experiencing. Other brain lesions may be associated with symptoms like vision issues or problems with balance. Remember, disease modifying therapies (DMTs) don't treat lesions. However, they may help slow the development of new or newly enlarging lesions.*

Your healthcare team will recommend when you should get an MRI. Talk to your healthcare team about scheduling regular MRIs. Understanding how MRIs work can help you have more productive conversations with your healthcare team.  

*The link between brain lesions and the progression of relapsing MS has not been confirmed.