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The diagnosis Multiple Sclerosis is for most people concerned, first of all a big shock. However, many patients are able to live a normal life. It might take a few years, until the MS-patient finds his way of living with the disease.

The most stressing aspect of MS is the unknown course of disease. For that reason, it is very important to spend your energy into the presence and live your life in a conscious way from day to day. Be aware about the best case as well as the worst case development the disease can take. Many studies with MS patients have shown that, despite of all the limitations that MS brings, most people feel they live an active and satisfying life.

The EDSS-Scale

The EDSS (Expanded Disability Status Scale) is a clinical ability rating scale developed by J.F. Kurzke. It gives information on the degree of disability that a MS Patient is confronted with. Its range starts at 0.0 (no neurological deficiencies) through 10 (death as a result of MS). The EDSS degree (0-10) is rated on the basis of judgment of the examiner testing the patients’ functional systems (FS).

Functional Systems (FS) are:

  1.  Pyramidal (e.g. ability to walk)
  2. Cerebellar (e.g. ataxia, tremor)
  3. Brainstem (e.g. disturbance of speech and swallowing)
  4. Sensory (e.g. diminution of the touching sense)
  5. Bowel and bladder (e.g. incontinence)
  6. Visual (scotoma in the field of vision),
  7. Cerebral (e.g. change of personality, dementia)






Basic neurological examination (rate 0 for all functional systems)



No disability, minimal abnormality in one of the functional systems (rate 1)



No disability, minimal abnormality in more as one FS* (more than one rate 1)



Minimal disability in one FS (one FS rate 2, others 0 or 1)



Minimal disability in two FS (two FS rate 2, others 0 or 1)



Severe disability in one FS (one FS rate 3, others 0 or 1), or slight disability in three or four FS (three or four FS rate 2, others 0 or 1), but full ability to walk



Full ability to walk, but with severe disability in one FS (rate 3) and one or two FS rate 2; or two FS rate 3; or five FS rate 2 (others 0 or 1)



Ability to walk without support and rest for min. 500 m. Active during approx. 12 hours a day despite of relatively severe disability (one FS rate 4, rest 0 or 1)



Ability to walk and rest for min. 300 m. Able to work a complete day. Minimal limitation of activities, needs minimal support, severe disability (one FS rate 4, others 0 or 1)



Ability to walk without support and rest for min. 200 m. Severe degree of disability that limits daily activities (e.g. working all day without taking any special precautions). (one FS rate 5, others 0 or 1; other combinations lower rates but exceeding the specifications of rate 4).



Ability to walk without support and rest for approx. 100 m. Severe degree of disability that makes daily activity impossible (FS equivalent rate 5.0).



Need support to walk (intermittently or one sided constantly - crutch, cane, splint) 100 m without rest. (FS-equivalent: combination of more as two FS rate 3 plus)



Needs constant support on both sides (crutch, cane, splint), to walk approx. 20 m without rest (FS-equivalent as rate 6.0)



Unable, even with support, to walk more than 5 m. Need for a wheelchair most of the time. Move the wheelchair by his own, and transfers without help (FS-equivalent combination of more than two FS rate 4 plus, in rare case pyramidal degree 5 only)



Unable to walk even only a few steps. Tied to a wheelchair. Needs help for transfer. Moves the wheelchair by his own, but does not want to spend the whole day in it. Possibly requires a motorized wheelchair. (FS-equivalent as rate 7.0)



Tied to a bed or wheelchair most of the time; independently takes care of himself. Good use of arms (FS-equivalent combination rate 4 plus in multiple functions)



Tied to a bed most of the time, also during the day. Limited use of arms. Some own care possible (FS-equivalent as 8.0)



Helpless patient tied to a bed. Able to eat and communicate (FS-equivalent are combinations, mostly rate 4 plus)



Completely helpless patient. Unable to eat, to swallow or to communicate (FS-equivalent is a combination of 4 plus rates only)



Death as a result of MS






The MSGT relies on active help and support. This is the only way we can continue our voluntary work for people with Multiple Sclerosis. We ask you to support us with a donation and look forward to your contribution. Thank you for your solidarity with the people with MS! Bank details MSGT Multiple Sclerosis Society Tirol

Raiffeisenbank Oberland

IBAN: AT16 3635 9000 0761 1221