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MS Factoids

General Information about Multiple Sclerosis from the MC Fox.com

  • First Diagnosed in 1849
  • The earliest known description of a person with possible Multiple Sclerosis dates from 14th century Holland
  • Multiple Sclerosis is the most common progressive and disabling neurological condition in young adults
  • Approx 2.5 million people worldwide, have Multiple Sclerosis
  • Around 400,000 people in the United States have Multiple Sclerosis
  • In the UK, approx 70,000 people have the disease
  • Approx 50,000 people in Canada have Multiple Sclerosis
  • Scotland has the highest incidence of Multiple Sclerosis per head of population in the world also have the lowest levels of vitamin D in the world
    In Scotland, over 10,500 people have Multiple Sclerosis
  • No virus has ever been isolated as the cause of Multiple Sclerosis
  • Average age of clinical onset is 30 – 33 years of age
  • The average age of diagnosis is 37 years of age
  • The average time between clinical onset of MS and diagnosis by physicians is 4 - 5 years
  • 10% of cases are diagnosed after the age of fifty
  • In 1936, only 8% of patients were reported to survive beyond 20 years after onset of illness
  • In 1961, over 80% of Multiple Sclerosis patients were reported surviving to 20 years after onset of illness
  • 2002 – A patient with Multiple Sclerosis can expect to live to average population life-expectancy minus seven years (mean life expectancy - 7 years)
  • Multiple Sclerosis is five times more prevalent in temperate climates than in tropical climates well known latitude/UVB
  • Multiple Sclerosis affects women much more frequently than men. Approx. 1.7 – 2:1 in the US and approx 3:2 in the UK women have lower vitamin D levels than men
  • The ratio of white to non-white is approx 2:1
  • Gypsies and Inuit's do get Multiple Sclerosis although the incidence rate is much lower than other populations at approx 19 per 100,000
  • Native Indians of North and South America, the Japanese and other Asian peoples have a very low incidence rate of Multiple Sclerosis
  • In identical twins where one twin develops the disease, the likelihood of the second twin developing Multiple Sclerosis is approx 30%
  • The incidence rate for non-identical twins, where one contracts Multiple Sclerosis, is approx 4%
  • The risk of contracting Multiple Sclerosis if a first-degree relative (father, mother, sibling) has the disease, is approx 1% - 3% overall
  • The risk of contracting Multiple Sclerosis if your father has the disease is approx 1 in 100
  • The risk of contracting Multiple Sclerosis if your mother has the disease is approx 1 in 50
  • The risk among the general population of contracting Multiple Sclerosis is approx 1 in 800

Multiple Sclerosis symptoms from same group

  • The symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis may be mild or severe, chronic (long-term) or of short duration; may be transient (appear and disappear very quickly)
  • Symptoms and signs may disappear or may fluctuate in character and intensity
  • The sometimes bizarre and transient nature of symptoms may be mistaken for a psychiatric condition
  • Approx. 40% of Multiple Sclerosis patients have Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS)
  • Approx. 20% of Multiple Sclerosis patients will initially be diagnosed as having Benign Multiple Sclerosis
    Less than 5% - 10% of patients actually have benign Multiple Sclerosis
  • 55% of patients with Multiple Sclerosis will develop optic neuritis at some time or other during their lifetime. 45% of patients do not
  • Approximately 5% - 10% of Multiple Sclerosis patients experience trigeminal neuralgia (tic delaroux) at some stage during the course of the disease
  • Only 15% of patients with Multiple Sclerosis will have optic neuritis as a first symptom. 85% will present to their physician with a different symptom
  • Between 20% - 40% of women with Multiple Sclerosis have a relapse within the 3 months post partum (after giving birth) vitamin D levels are lowest after birth
  • Complete or partial remission of symptoms will occur in approx 70% of patients, particularly during the early stages of the disease
  • Males have a higher tendency to develop Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS)
  • Females tend to experience more relapses than men
  • 5% of Multiple Sclerosis patients exhibit an inappropriate euphoria
  • Approx 50% of patients with Multiple Sclerosis experience cognitive impairment such as difficulty with concentration, attention, memory and poor judgment Low cognition is associated with low vitamin D
  • Approx 50% of Multiple Sclerosis patients will suffer some form of mental disturbance such as depression, mild dementia or organic psychosis
  • 2/3 of patients with Multiple Sclerosis will develop disturbance of sphincter control at some stage during the course of the disease
  • The major bowel complaint is constipation although fecal incontinence may occur occasionally in some patients
  • Depression is common and unrelated to cognitive impairment although it may worsen existing cognitive difficulties SAD is associated with low level of vitamin D
  • Approx 10% of patients with Multiple Sclerosis will suffer severe psychotic disorders such as Manic Depression (Bipolar Disorder) and paranoia
  • In approx 80% of Multiple Sclerosis sufferers, heat will cause a temporary worsening of symptoms (Uhthoff's Phenomenon).
    The heat source may be externally produced, for example, a hot bath; or the result of physical exertion.
    Removal of the heat source / cooling normally, though not always, eliminates the problem, although this can take from a few minutes to several hours.
  • 60% of neurological signs experienced during hyperthermia (i.e. Uhthoff's phenomenon) are new to the patient.
  • Some heat sensitive patients find a cool bath or swimming temporarily relieves some symptoms
  • Relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis patients develop, on average, 20 new lesions per year and will have between 1 – 2 exacerbations per year
  • For every 8 – 10 new lesions shown by MRI, only 1 clinical manifestation (measurable exacerbation) will occur
  • Patients with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis have a higher incidence of spinal cord lesion and exhibit much more rapid development of disability than those with other forms of the disease
  • 1 in every 4, or 25%, of exacerbations are associated with a viral infection
  • Approx 75% - 85% of patients with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) will go on to develop Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS)
  • Approx 80% of patients with Multiple Sclerosis experience fatigue Vitamin D deficiency is strongly associated with Fatigue
  • Spasticity will occur in approx 60% of patients with a progressive form of the disease
  • 80% - 90% of men and 45% - 70% of women will report some form of sexual dysfunction
  • Patients with Multiple Sclerosis have a greater risk of seizure than in the general population Seizures are associated with low level of vitamin D
  • Lesions may occur in the Corpus Callosum, an area of the brain thought to be involved in seizures
  • Exercises or physical therapy designed to stretch the muscles, particularly those of the leg, can help prevent contractures, an irreversible shortening of muscles.

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MS Factoids        
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