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What Is The Life Expectancy Of Someone With MS?

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that causes life long disabilities. The main pathology of the disease is that the myelin sheath that covers and protects the nerves in the body is damaged due to an autoimmune response. There is demyelination of the nerves and this leads to injury to the nerves and resulting in symptoms like weakness, lethargy, pain, spasms, inability to move a joint or limb, tingling and numbness in specific parts of body.

The disease gets worse with time. Eventually the patient can’t carry out daily activities due to disabilities. There are various treatment options available but there is no cure for this disease.

What Is The Life Expectancy Of Someone With MS?

What Is The Life Expectancy Of Someone With MS?

There is no exact answer for this query because the life expectancy of people who suffer with MS depend on various factors like stage of disease, type of MS, age of the patient at which MS was diagnosed, severity of the disease, response to the treatment and the speed at which the disease progresses.

Various surveys have been conducted to find out the average life expectancy of patients with MS.

In the year 2013, study about the mortality among the patients with MS was published in the Neurology journal. In this study data from various cohort studies was included. According to this study, it was found that on an average the patients with MS live around seven to fourteen years less than the normal population. Even in this study it was mentioned about the other factors that affects the life expectancy. The factors are described above.

In the year 2014, one more study was conducted in the U.S. and in this study the life expectancy of people with MS and people without MS was compared. The sample size was 30,400 samples who had MS and 89,800 samples who didn’t have MS. And it was found that on an average, the life expectancy of people with MS was shortened by six years as compared to the general population.

In the year 2015, the MS society of Canada also conducted a study in which comparison was made between people with MS and ones without MS. According to this study it was established that, the life of people with MS is reduced by seven years.

The main reason of death in people with MS is not the disease itself but the comorbidities related to the disease. Comorbidities are the other diseases that the patient may suffer from along with the main disease.

Factors That May Affect The Life Expectancy Of People With MS

Good Treatment Options. Along the course of time the treatment options for MS have been improved. There are disease-modifying drugs available that slow down the progress of disease. Taking these medications regularly and on time may lead to better life expectancy.

Lifestyle Changes. This includes proper physiotherapy, eating healthy and nutritious food, regular exercise, stopping smoking, reduction of alcohol intake. Making these changes in life leads to proper bladder and bowel functioning. The chances of fatigue also decrease by adopting perfect lifestyle.

Frequency Of Relapses. If the patient undergoes relapses more frequently, the disease progresses quickly leading to reduction in life expectancy.

Lesions In The Brain. To look for the lesions in brain, MRI scan is done. If this scan shows more lesions in the brain, it implies more severe disease. The more the lesions in brain the lesser is the life expectancy.

Type Of MS The Patient Has. People who have relapsing and remitting type of MS show better prognosis than the ones who suffer with progressive type of MS.

Age Of Onset. If the age of onset is less, the life expectancy is improved. If the age of onset is more, the severity of disease is more and hence reduced life expectancy.


According to the various studies conducted by different organizations, it was found that, on an average the life expectancy of people with multiple sclerosis is reduced by around seven to fourteen years. But this is not true for all the patients. Some people with MS might live for more years if proper treatment is taken and the severity of disease is less. On the other hand the life expectancy may be reduced drastically for the ones who do not seek medical help immediately and the disease progresses at a great speed.


  1. https.//www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1069023/

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 3, 2019

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