Comorbidities May Significantly Up Mortality Risk in MS Patients

Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) may have twice the mortality risk compared to those without MS, despite research indicating that MS survival may be improving over time. The results from this study were published in the journal Neurology.

Ruth Ann Marrie, MD, PhD, of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, and colleagues reviewed patient information from the Canadian health system database of 5,797 individuals diagnosed with MS and 28,807 healthy people of the same sex who were born in the same year and from the same areas of the province. Overall patients with MS lived a median of 76 years vs. 83 years for those without MS. A total of 44% of MS patients were reported to have died from MS and complications related to the disease; the next most common causes of death were circulatory system disease, cancer, and respiratory disease. While having comorbid conditions did not appear to increase the mortality risk in patients with MS compared to those without MS but with comorbid conditions, patients with MS and comorbid conditions were more likely to have a shorter lifespan compared to those with MS and without comorbid conditions.

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Because of the increased risk of premature mortality in MS patients with comorbid conditions compared to MS patients without these conditions, treating these comorbid conditions like depression, diabetes, and epilepsy could help to improve survival in MS patients, added Dr. Marrie.

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