Multiple sclerosis affects more than 2.3 million people around the world. In honor of World MS Day today, we have gathered 27 important facts about multiple sclerosis, to help our community raise awareness about MS.
We will be updating Facebook and Twitter with new facts throughout the day using the hashtag #strongerthanMS. To help spread awareness, please feel free to like, share, retweet, and/or comment on any or all of these 27 topics!
- Experts recognize 4 courses of MS: progressive-relapsing, secondary-progressive, primary-progressive, and relapsing-remitting.
- Of those diagnosed with MS, progressive-relapsing affects about 5% of people, about 10% are diagnosed with primary-progressive, about 85% are diagnosed with relapsing-remitting initially, and about 50% of people with relapsing-remitting develop secondary-progressive within 10 years of diagnosis.
- There is greater prevalence of MS in higher northern and southern latitudes.
- MS is much more common in females than males.
- MS is most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 50 years.
- The lifespan of a person with MS is just about as long as the lifespan of a person without the condition.
- While much effort and research has gone into finding out what causes MS, there are still no clear answers.
- In MS, a person’s immune system attacks the central nervous system, causing inflammation that damages myelin, the fatty coating that insulates and protects nerve fibers.
- To understand the central nervous system, it’s easiest to picture the nervous system as a tree. The CNS is the tree’s roots and truck.
- Out of the approximately 400,000 people who live with MS in the US, about 8,000 to 10,000 are children or adolescents.
- Fatigue is the most common and potentially most disabling symptom, affecting between 75% and 90% of people who have MS. Another common, yet less understood symptom of MS is pain, and this pain exists in many different forms.
- Numbness or tingling are common symptoms and the result of damage to nerves that transmit sensations from body surfaces to the brain.