OK, you’ve been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. What happens now?  Multiple Sclerosis prognosis is fairly predictable. If you are going to seek some type of treatment, that is the good news. The first thing you should do is begin planning your treatment. To ignore the diagnosis would be naïve. MS is definitely a progressive disease. It is rare for patients with MS not to progress consistently to disability over time if they do nothing. The progression rate used to be a source of much controversy and debate, but recent studies over the last decade all come to the same general consensus: a relapsing course of MS will be followed by a chronic progression in at least 80% of patients in 20 years or less. And while the speed at which this happens varies in individual patients, the ultimate certainty of it doesn’t. And in most cases the disease follows a fairly consistent progression process that is degenerative in its nature.


What are some of the Multiple Sclerosis prognosis statistics?


To understand the disease progression you should understand the Kurtzke EDSS Scale. It is a way to measure disability and most of the MS studies use it to measure and determine whether a patient is improving or not. A summary follows here:

Kurtzke’s EDSS scores 8 functional systems from 0 for normal to 5 or 6 for maximum impairment. Based on these scores and the person’s ability to walk, the EDSS is determined. The EDSS goes in half point increments from 0.0 for normal to 10.0 for dead from MS. From 0.0-4.0, people can walk without assistance, and the EDSS is obtained from the functional system scores. From 4.0-7.5, the EDSS score comes primarily from how far the person can walk and with what assistance. 6 on the scale represents walking with a cane.  This point is used often as an endpoint in studies looking at the progression of disability. From 7.5-10.0, the main determinant of EDSS is the patient’s ability to transfer from wheelchair to bed and to self-care.

Primary progressive multiple sclerosis is the worst. About 25% will reach a score of 6 in 7.3 years after diagnosis. In all MS forms, the median time from diagnosis to a score of 3 is 17 years and 24 years to a score of 6. In secondary progressive patients, the median time to a score of 6 is 10 years. Primary progressive patients median time is 3 years. Once a score of 3 is reached, the progression is more likely and rapid.

The best available evidence shows Multiple Sclerosis prognosis to be altered little by regular medication. On the other hand, those who alter their lifestyle to include diet change, exercise, meditation, and sunlight, among other things, Multiple Sclerosis prognosis improve significantly. Of course, the choice is yours but it seems fairly obvious.