Multiple Sclerosis Statistics
Multiple sclerosis or MS is one of the most debilitating of autoimmune diseases and affects the central nervous system. It is caused by damage to the coating around nerve fibres and can give rise to a number of different symptoms. A sufferer can go through periods of regression and relapse, the condition can be progressive, and there is no known cure. Symptoms can be managed though and there are various therapies available.
Multiple sclerosis can include symptoms such as blurred vision, periods of fatigue, muscle spasms and numbness and tingling, all of which are often mistaken for other conditions. MS can also lead to periods of depression and anxiety that also complicate matters as the condition develops.
Treatment can include medication as well as changes to diet and exercise regimes. A lot depends on your symptoms and whether you have relapses or a generally progressive MS without relapses. Drug therapies are being developed all the time but currently the treatment for MS largely involves managing the condition rather than curing it. While some people who suffer from MS become disabled, many do not and are able to live a relatively healthy livse with the right support and treatment.
- You can develop MS at any age but it seems to be often diagnosed between the age of 20 and 40.
- Around 2.5 million people suffer from multiple sclerosis globally.
- There seem to be more cases of multiple sclerosis the further you are from the equator.
- In the US, the prevalence is 57-78 cases per 100,000 people below the 38th Parallel and 110-140 cases per 100,000 above.
- In Sweden and Norway, which are further north, the incidence is between 160 and 189 cases per 100,000.
- Twice as many women are at risk of developing MS than men.
- The majority of people (85%) are diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS, 10% with primary progressive MS and 5% with progressive-relapsing MS.
- Between 10 and 20% of people diagnosed with MS have a benign form that has only mild symptoms and does not involve a progressive worsening.
In the USA:
- 200 cases of MS are diagnosed each week. It costs the US between $8,528 and $54,244 per person depending on the symptoms involved.
- Though reporting has been poor for MS, it’s thought that 400,000 people in the US are affected.
- MS can be difficult to diagnose which can compound problems with gathering data.
In the UK:
- Just over 100,000 people are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
- Each year 5,000 people are newly diagnosed with the condition.
- Recent research shows that there are 77,790 women diagnosed with MS compared to 29,960 men.
- The average life expectancy for those suffering from multiple sclerosis is thought to be about ten to fifteen years less than the average, though with better treatments this gap is beginning to reduce.
Around the rest of the world, MS is often dogged by poor reporting which means we can’t get an accurate picture of how developing countries fit in. Combined with the difficulty of diagnosis, especially in less severe cases, this means that strong statistics relating to the prevalence of the disease are hard to come by.
Multiple Sclerosis by the Numbers: Facts, Statistics, and You
MS in the UK
National Multiple Sclerosis Society