Facts about Multiple Sclerosis

Here are some quick facts about Multiple Sclerosis (MS):

  • The disease was first named Multiple Sclerosis in 1868 by Charcot in France.
  • Literally, MS means "many scars."
  • Approximately 2.5 million people worldwide have Multiple Sclerosis. In the United States, around 400,000 people have MS. Every hour, a person in the US is diagnosed with MS. In the UK almost 70,000 people have the disease while in Canada, around 50,000 have MS.
  • Scotland is the country with the highest incidence of MS per head of population, with over 10,500 people diagnosed with the disease.
  • MS is more common among Caucasians, especially those of northern European ancestry. The occurrence of MS is also highest in temperate regions.
  • Even in high-risk areas, some racial groups are rarely stricken by MS. These include the Maori and Polynesians, Native Americans and black South Africans. There is also a lower incidence of MS among people of Asian, African, and Hispanic backgrounds.
  • Women are affected more frequently than men, constituting three quarters of those with MS. According to studies, genetic factors make some individuals more susceptible than others.
  • Usually MS strikes people between the ages of 20 and 40.
  • MS is not contagious and is also not congenital, although there are some hereditary factors involved.
  • MS is not considered a fatal disease. Most of the time, people affected with the disease still get to live a normal or near normal life span. Nonetheless, severe MS can shorten life.
  • Symptoms of MS are unpredictable, varying from person to person, appearing and disappearing time and again. Some major symptoms might completely disappear, although severe MS have symptoms on a permanent basis. This is also one of the reasons why MS is difficult to diagnose.
  • There has yet to be a cure found for MS. Nevertheless, some FDA-approved medications have been found to slow down the inherent trends of the disease. Also, therapeutic and technological advances help in managing the symptoms of MS.