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Can Multiple Sclerosis Kill You?

In the United States, there are more than 400,000 people suffering from multiple sclerosis on an average of 200 people are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis each week.

The exact causes for multiple sclerosis are not known, but certain conditions predisposes the individuals at risk of multiple sclerosis such as smoking, family history, infections, obesity, environmental factors, Autoimmune diseases and deficiency of vitamin D. According to National MS society, people who are suffering from MS have shorter life when compared to those who do not it is estimated that the life of people suffering from MS will be decreased by seven years.

Can Multiple Sclerosis Kill You?

Can Multiple Sclerosis Kill You?

Multiple sclerosis or MS itself does not cause death but the complications associated with it can result in death. Here we present you the complications of MS which can kill you:

Pneumonia. The most common complications associated with multiple sclerosis is pneumonia, people find it difficult to swallow resulting in decreased intake of food and water and also all the eatables gets deposited in the lungs it is a serious problem.

Infections. Multiple sclerosis is a movement disorder where an individual finds it difficult to walk or even stand they will be bedridden which can lead to the formation of bed sores. It requires regular cleaning if left an attended it can cause infections. The immune system is already compromised so the risk of infection increases. Urinary tract infections are also common in people due to immobility

Falls. People with multiple sclerosis will not have control over their movements they will not be able to maintain balance which increases the risk of falls. Numbness and weakness in the legs are common. There will be lots of spasms in the muscles due to impaired functioning of the nerves causing imbalance.

Depression. This is one of the major causes of suicide in patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. According to National multiple sclerosis society, the prevalence of depression in multiple sclerosis patients is high and are 7.5 Times at greater risk of committing suicide. Depression should be promptly treated and any psychological counseling if required should be performed.

The other complications associated with MS are due to sedentary lifestyle and immobility. Due to lack of activity the overall body functioning decreases which has an adverse impact on overall health. The cardiovascular system and the endocrine system is worst affected. All the complications associated with unhealthy lifestyle develop in such patients the death in multiple sclerosis occurs when the expanded disability status scale (EDSS) 10 is attended. The death will be due to brain stem involvement or respiratory failure. Terminal pneumonia, sepsis, cardiovascular failure, and other diseases can deteriorate health and cause death.

Thankfully, there are medications which have been introduced which can slow the progression of the disease and prevent recurrent attacks. There are medicines which can be useful in symptomatic treatment. Remember multiple sclerosis itself does not cause death, but it predisposes conditions which can cause death. Multiple sclerosis not necessarily causes you to be paralyzed or bedridden, but you may need support to walk and prevent fall.

The aim of MS treatment is the reduction in the rate of disease progression and increased disability, stabilization of the condition where the disease neither progresses nor slow down, improves the overall health status. Even if you suffer from MS maintain a healthy lifestyle with physical activity, which can actually help you in alleviating the MS symptoms. The drugs prescribed for MS are immune modulating drugs, and immune reconstruction therapy, neuroprotective and repairing or replacing damaged nerve cells. Physical therapy, muscle relaxants, depression, pain, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, and bladder or bowel disorders.


Multiple sclerosis itself is not the cause of death, but the complications of MS can cause death. In multiple sclerosis patient’s death can be due to respiratory failure, sepsis, and other co-morbid conditions. The treatment of MS is aimed at decreasing the disability and help to restore normal function. There is a decrease in life expectancy in MS patients.


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Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 3, 2019

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