Here is My Question:
I had an MRI on my brain and was told that I have active spots of inflammation and spots of previous inflammation. Because I do not have previous MRIs, there is no way to tell how severe/ how long ago those episodes were. How can I find out how far along I am in the disease or how severe my case of MS is? Is there a way to tell how close/ the likelihood of paralysis or severe disability?
The gauge of disability for MS is the EDSS scale that ranges from no disability (0) to essentially bedridden (9.5). Your score on this scale is primarily based on your neurological examination performed by your neurologist. MS is unpredictable and can be very different between patients, even those in the same family. The question that should be considered is what is the most appropriate disease modifying therapy for me? All of these therapies are preventative rather than reparative or restorative. When there are signs of active disease (as in your case) a serious conversation with your neurologist should focus on answering that question. Preventing disability requires appropriate and timely treatment to mitigate problems in years to come. While it would be interesting to know exactly how far along an individual’s disease course is or when it exactly started, those answers won’t change the “what can I do about this?” Simply put, if you are in the inflammatory stage of MS, you should strongly consider treating it before the window to do so closes.
A.Scott Nielsen MD MMSc
Neurologist and MS Specialist at Kaiser Permanente
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