Study Shows MS Patients Are Living Longer Lives But Still 7.5 Years Shorter Than Others


People suffering from multiple sclerosis or MS may be living longer than before, but when compared to those who do not suffer from the ailment, their life expectancy is shorter.

According to a new study, individuals with multiple sclerosis live nearly 7.5 years less when compared to those without the neurological ailment.

The research also reveals that those suffering from multiple sclerosis are two times more at risk of dying soon vis-à-vis individuals who do not suffer from the disease. Moreover, people suffering from multiple sclerosis who are less than 59 years have three times more chances of dying early.

"Despite studies that show MS survival may be improving over time, the more than 2.3 million people affected worldwide by this disabling disease still face a risk of dying earlier, specifically those who are diagnosed younger," reveals Ruth Ann Marrie, co-author of the study and a member of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).

For the purpose of the study, the researchers observed the death records and the billing data from the health system of 5,797 people suffering from multiple sclerosis in a specific province in Canada from 1984 to 2011.

The research team also studied the health system records of 28,807 individuals who did not have multiple sclerosis and were of the same gender, stayed in the same region and were of the same age.

Those suffering from the neurological disorder lived for 76 years (median) vis-à-vis individuals who did not suffer from multiple sclerosis.

The researchers discovered that 44 percent people who suffered from multiple sclerosis passed away due to the ailment and resulting complications. The common causes which resulted in death were cancer, circulatory system and respiratory diseases.

The team also took note of other medical conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes or depression in the subjects, which possibly played a role in shortening their life expectancy. However, they discovered that alternate conditions only affected the life expectancy in people with multiple sclerosis just as they would for people without the ailment.

That said, people suffering from multiple sclerosis and other ailments like diabetes, had a shorter life expectancy when compared to individuals with multiple sclerosis who did not have other issues.

The study has been published in the AAN's medical journal Neurology on May 27, 2015.

Photo: Allan Ajifo | Flickr 

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