Wednesday, 4 September 2013

What is the Life Expectancy of Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is not a fatal disease but unfortunately there currently is no cure. However, the good is that the life expectancy of people with MS is on average 30 years from onset, being only around five to ten years less than that of unaffected people.
The prognosis for longevity is good, except in cases of severe MS which is quite rare. However, those with the condition do battle with issues that will affect their quality of life. Symptoms can cause pain, discomfort inconvenience and some case severe disability. Infections and other complications are especially dangerous for the more disabled. Suicides is more common, but two-thirds of the deaths are directly related to the consequences of the disease.
Factors that influence prognosis favourably include:

  • Low rates of relapses per year
  • Complete recovery from the first attack
  • Symptoms pronominally from afferent systems like the sensory system
  • Younger age of onset
  • Low disability at 2 to 5 years from the disease onset
  • Later cerebellar involvement
  • Involvement of only the CNS system at the time of onset

Unfortunately there is unpredictability on how MS will progress in each person, mainly because patients vary widely in how they experience the severity of the disease. Around 20 percent of patients with MS will have no symptoms, or only mild symptoms after an initial clinical diagnosis and event, while around 20 percent of patients will experience their condition as progressive. Most patients will undergo a certain amount of disease progression though.

Another way in which doctors can determine the extent of MS is to evaluate the disabilities and how they may affect patients. According to eh UMMC, about 75 percent of patients diagnosed with MS are still able to walk normally two decades after their initial diagnosis. However, some patients might need a cane or crutches to remain independent. Electric scooters and wheelchairs can also be used.

The majority of people with MS have a normal life expectancy, however since the disease varies so much from one person to the next, it can be difficult for doctors to predict whether a patient’s condition will worsen or improve. Quality of life can be affected by symptoms and lifestyle changes will have to be made, but a person with MS may have the same life expectancy as one without the condition. is a popular resource that offers expert health advice from qualified professionals and experienced contributors. Find out more about MS on