What EDSS score and relapse rate mean for people with MS

Your neurologist uses a variety of different markers to see whether your MS is progressing and whether your treatment is working. Key markers are your physical disability level (measured by EDSS score; see below), relapse rate, brain lesions, and changes.

Disability level (measured by EDSS score)
EDSS, which stands for Expanded Disability Status Scale, measures your overall level of disability on a scale of 0 to 10:  

Score What it means
0 No disability, normal neurological exam
1 No disability, minor changes on neurological exam
2 Minimal disability
3 Moderate disability
4 Relatively severe disability but still able to be up and about for up to 12 hours a day and walk without an aid (e.g., a cane)
5 Disability severe enough to affect daily routine
6 Needs a cane to walk
7 Restricted to wheelchair
8 Restricted to bed or wheelchair
9 Confined to bed
10 Death due to MS

Relapse rate
Early in MS, you may find that you recover completely or almost completely from relapses. However, people with a higher relapse rate in the first 2 years of the disease have a higher risk of faster progression.

Brain lesions and changes
Your neurologist may recommend MRI scans to monitor how your disease is being controlled. Based on these physical observations of your brain, your neurologist can work with you to find a treatment that can best address your condition.

What can I do?
Early treatment with disease-modifying medications can help reduce the frequency and severity of relapses and slow the progression of disability. These medications can be given in a variety of different ways. Some are taken by mouth, some are given as an injection, and others are given as an infusion.

Effective treatment during early disease has the greatest possible impact on slowing down the progression of MS.
  • Talk to your neurologist to make sure you are on optimal treatment so that you don't miss this window of opportunity. Use the MS Treatment Satisfaction Questionnaire to help you decide if it's time to see your neurologist about your treatment.
  • Use the MS Doctor Discussion Guide to help guide the discussion with your doctor.
  • Learn more about your MS treatment options.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Measuring-MS-Disease-Markers