One of the frustrations for newly diagnosed patients is the uncertainty of living with a potentially debilitating disease. In the first few years of multiple sclerosis
), there is no way to confidently identify individuals who may have a benign course of the disease and those who will have a more active course.
Therefore, it is difficult to predict the average life expectancy for someone diagnosed with MS -- the prognosis depends on several different factors.
Prognosis for MS Regarding Life Expectancy
The average life expectancy for someone with MS is 35 years after the symptoms begin. This represents a life expectancy of 95 percent of someone who does not have multiple sclerosis.
Most people with the disease can function effectively; however, a rare form of acute MS can be fatal within weeks.
Multiple Sclerosis Prognosis Regarding Disease Progression
There are a few clues that might indicate the speed at which multiple sclerosis will progress.
The disease might progress more slowly if:
- Fewer attacks occur in the first several years after being diagnosed
- Longer intervals occur between episodes
- Complete recovery occurs from episodes
- Episodes are sensory in nature and cause symptoms like numbness and tingling.
MS might progress more quickly if the following occur:
- More attacks happen during the first several years
- Attacks occur more frequently
- Incomplete recovery from episodes
- Motor symptoms like tremors, coordination problems, and difficulty walking are present
- More lesions are seen on magnetic resonance (MR) images early on.