A to Z of MS
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A to Z of MS Life expectancy
MS is not a terminal condition and long-term studies suggest that multiple sclerosis only has a small impact on life expectancy.
A study in Canada examined this area in terms of level of disability and found that life expectancy for those people whose experience of MS ranged from no symptoms to full time use of a manual wheelchair (less than or equal to 7.0 on the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS)) was only slightly reduced.
The research found that people with more complex disability (EDSS greater than or equal to 7.5) were more at risk of potentially life threatening complications - such as respiratory or cardiovascular problems - that can result from reduced mobility, and this affected the overall life expectancy figures. With this group included, overall life expectancy for people with MS was only about six to seven years less than that for the general population.
Looking at all the various studies as a whole, a five to ten year reduction in life expectancy is estimated, compared with the general population. It is likely that this difference may be reduced further as additional advances are made in medical management.
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