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Symptoms

Does having less lesions mean less symptoms?

  1. , this is a great question! Frequently, less lesions/lesion activity can be marked by fewer symptoms. However, as you probably know, MS doesn't always stay on script. Fewer lesions *can* mean fewer symptoms, but even as lesions may lessen, the damage is done and that damage can cause lingering symptoms.


    I wish I could just give you a straight "yes" or "no" answer, but so much depends on your form of MS and your personal experience with MS. Here's some information on how medical professionals categorize MS progression -- https://mymsaa.org/publications/understanding-progression-ms/part-i-understanding-progression/.


    Thanks for starting this conversation and I do hope you get feedback from other community members!


    Best, Erin, MultipleSclerosis.net Team Member.

    1. Not necessarily, we are all different in:

      1) how well our MRIs pick up lesions, and
      2) whether our lesion load corresponds with our disabilities.

      The MRI machine magnet strengths are either 1.5T or 3T. The higher the number, the stronger the magnet. A 3T can pick up a smaller lesion than a 1.5T. Many of us don't have the option of a 3T. But a stronger magnet won't necessarily show a direct connection between lesions and specific areas of disability anyway. And the number of lesions can have little to do with our degree of disability.

      To offer myself as an example: My brain and spine MRIs have remained the same for 16 years. Yet, the same disabilities I had all those years ago have worsened. And, I have accumulated new ones along the way. So in my case, MRIs have not reflected my disease progression.

      Soon after this fact revealed itself, I decided not to have any more MRIs. My neurologist gave me her blessing, but emphasized the value of getting a fresh set if a change presents itself. This can be useful to rule out other medical conditions.

      MRIs reveal abnormalities in surrounding tissues; this has been the case for me. I always read the radiology report, because the radiologist always includes everything else they find even if the MRI wasn't ordered for it. In my case it has listed gallstones and an enlarged thyroid, with the recommendation to follow up with my medical team for further testing. I make sure I ask for a copy of the radiology report because three of my neurologists did not mention these other diagnoses to me in my follow-up appointments over the years. I can't rely on them to tell me everything in the report, so I take matters into my own hands.

      Sorry for the long response. Hope it helps. Cheers, Kim, moderator

      1. Lesser lesions, just mentions that you are slowing down the progression. But, there's no permanent fixes

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