Life expectancy with Multiple Sclerosis

Life expectancy with Multiple Sclerosis

I was reading an article yesterday about the life expectancy of people with autoimmune diseases. Of course there was a section dedicated to multiple sclerosis. This said on average life expectancy of someone with MS is 7 years less than the average person without the disease. I’ve heard this number before but it doesn’t make me very happy. My thought is why? Why would MS shorten our life span? Other than complications from the more serious symptoms of MS like respiratory issues, swallowing issues or infection from lowered immune system why is life expectancy lowered?

The answers aren’t fully clear. A study was done in 2015 that showed that people with MS died an average of 7 years younger.

May 27, 2015

A study has confirmed previous findings that life expectancy for people with MS has increased over time. However, the investigators also reported that people with MS lived on average seven years less than the general population. The reasons for this difference are not clear. They also found that people with MS along with other medical conditions (“comorbidities”) were more likely to die younger, compared to people with MS alone. The investigators, led by Ruth Ann Marrie, MD, PhD (University of Manitoba), suggest that addressing comorbidities experienced by people with MS may increase life expectancy. The study, published in the May 27, 2015 online issue of Neurology, was funded in part by the MS Society of Canada.

There are so many advancements in disease modifying treatments that maybe this will change over time. As of now most articles and publications stick to this 7 year mark of life expectancy.

Various factors can affect a person’s life expectancy when they have MS. These include:

• the type of MS they have

• their age when symptoms begin

• the severity of their symptoms

• how quickly the symptoms progress

• the length of time between flares

• what treatment they receive

• complications that develop

• the person’s quality of life

I realized like everything else with multiple sclerosis this too is different for everyone and still not fully known. I can’t worry about my end game. I can only work on doing the best I can do each day.

  • Eat healthy
  • Exercise
  • Take a disease modifying drug that works for me
  • Sleep well
  • Reduce stress
  • Meditate
  • Smile and laugh often
  • Love the people around me
  • Live my best life and be present

That is my goal each day and I can only focus on a day at a time. Have a wonderful weekend.

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