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Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

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Who is affected by multiple sclerosis

The prevalence of MS varies with:1

  • Geographic location. The number of people who have MS increases with distance from the equator. The incidence of MS increases from less than 1 in 100,000 in areas near the equator to 30 to 80 in 100,000 in northern Europe and northern North America. In the southern hemisphere, the increase when moving away from the equator is less dramatic.
  • Family history. About 15 out of 100 people who have MS have a relative with MS, most often a brother or sister.
  • Age and sex. MS occurs most often in women, although men also develop this condition. Symptoms rarely first appear at ages younger than 10 or older than 60; most people with MS notice their first symptoms when they are between 20 and 30 years old.

Citations

  1. Ropper AH, Samuels MA (2009). Multiple sclerosis and allied demyelinative diseases. In Adams and Victor's Principles of Neurology, 9th ed., pp. 874-903. New York: McGraw-Hill.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Colin Chalk, MD, CM, FRCPC - Neurology
Last Revised February 18, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 18, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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