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Multiple Sclerosis: Symptoms, Types, Risk Factors

As a CNS disease affecting the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord, multiple sclerosis (MS) presents with a myriad of physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms of varying degrees of severity and duration depending on disease progression. Here, a look at risk factors, symptoms, and comorbidities. Back to full clinical primer on MS.

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Slide 1
Multiple Sclerosis Prevalence in Adults
By Sex1:
  • General: 309 cases per 100,000 people in the US (or 727,344 adults)
  • Women: 450 per 100,000; Men: 160 per 100,000
  • Female to Male Ratio: 2.8 (ie, women are nearly 3 times as likely to develop MS than men)
By Age:1,2
  • Average onset: age 35 in women and 37 in men; age 30 in white adults and 33 in Black adults
  • 55-64 years of age: peak age-specific MS prevalence with women at 704 per 100,000 and men at 268 per 100,000
  • 65-74 years of age: second largest prevalence by age with women at 644 per 100,000 and men at 248 per 100,000
  • Life Expectancy5: About 7 years less than the general population
*Based on 2010 estimates; numbers rounded up
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