Taking action

Monitoring your disease activity is an important part of managing your disease long-term.

  • Keeping track of your symptoms may help you better understand your disease
  • Monitoring your disease can help you communicate effectively with your healthcare team



Understanding your baseline

Healthcare providers can also keep track of your MS by measuring increases in physical disability.

Some healthcare providers may use the Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) to measure your body’s function and how well you can move. A trained neurologist conducts a standard examination that gives your healthcare team an indication of what stage your disease is at. This scale is used in many clinical trials. Remember, this is not meant as a way to diagnose yourself. Always work with your healthcare team to find your EDSS number. Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS)


Each number corresponds with a certain level of physical disability. As the scale goes up, physical disability increases. For example, a score of 1 typically means a person living with MS is active, healthy, and has no physical disability. At the other end of the scale, a score of 9 typically means someone is inactive.


Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale

  • 1.0: No physical disability
  • 2.0: Minimal physical disability
  • 3.0: Moderate physical disability
  • 4.0: Relatively severe physical disability
  • 5.0: Physical disability affects daily routine
  • 6.0: Assistance required to walk
  • 7.0: Restricted to wheelchair
  • 8.0: Restricted to bed or wheelchair
  • 9.0: Confined to bed

Your healthcare provider may work with you to understand your baseline. He or she may also work with you to help slow the progression of your disability and your movement further along the EDSS scale. Be sure to talk to your healthcare team to set up a plan and ask any questions.



MRIs can monitor brain lesions and help with treatment decisions.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a way to monitor your brain. It can help doctors monitor your MS and detect any new or changing brain lesions, determine types of lesions, and help with treatment decisions.

Select a question on the MRI scan for more information.
Can lesions cause symptoms?

A lesion is a reflection of nerve damage and may not have any obvious symptoms. Brain lesions may be associated with weakness, numbness, or issues with balance and coordination. Remember, disease modifying therapies (DMTs) don't treat lesions. However, they may help prevent you from developing more lesions.

What should you be doing?

Talk to your healthcare team about scheduling regular MRIs. Understanding how MRIs work can help you have a more meaningful conversation with your healthcare team.

This is for illustrative purposes only. All lesions are different. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any symptoms you may be experiencing.