Monday, September 11, 2006

Who Gets Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is typically diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 50. Approximately two–thirds or more of people diagnosed with MS are women, though the precise reason for that has yet to be determined.

Some research has indicated that there may be genetic factors that cause one individual to be more susceptible to MS than other individuals. Research studies have yet to support the theory that MS is an inherited disease, however. MS is not contagious nor is it considered fatal. On average, people with MS can be expected to lead 93 percent the lifespan of a non–MS individual. That’s supposed to sound like good news but the reality is that life insurance companies will charge double or more for insurance if you have MS. Seems like that seven percent is very profitable for some businesses.
While MS can occur in anyone, MS seems to occur more frequently in people of northern European ancestry. Also, as previously mentioned, the rate of MS among populations seems to increase the further north or south you get from the Equator, again for reasons as yet unknown.

Depending on the source, anywhere from 400,000 to half a million or more people in the United States have MS. It is said that a new case is diagnosed every hour, 200 a week. In the United States alone, it is estimated that MS costs more than $9 billion annually.