Multiple Sclerosis Home > Multiple Sclerosis Statistics
Multiple sclerosis statistics show that approximately 250,000 to 350,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed with this disease. The life expectancy for people with multiple sclerosis is nearly the same as for those without MS. Because of this, multiple sclerosis statistics place the annual cost of MS in the United States in the billions of dollars.
Most people experience their first symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) between the ages of 20 and 40, but a diagnosis is often delayed. This is due to both the transitory nature of the disease and the lack of a specific test to diagnose multiple sclerosis.
Although scientists have documented cases of MS in young children and elderly adults, symptoms rarely begin before age 15 or after age 60. Whites are more than twice as likely as other races to develop MS. In general, women are affected almost twice as much as men; however, among patients who develop the symptoms of MS at a later age, the gender ratio is more balanced.
No one knows exactly how many people have MS. It is believed that there are currently about 250,000 to 350,000 people in the United States who have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. This estimate suggests that approximately 200 new cases are diagnosed each week.
MS is five times more prevalent in temperate climates -- such as those found in the northern United States, Canada, and Europe -- than in tropical regions. Furthermore, the age of 15 seems to be significant in terms of risk for developing the disease. Some studies indicate that a person moving from a high-risk (temperate) to a low-risk (tropical) area before the age of 15 tends to adopt the risk (in this case, low) of the new area and vice versa. Other studies suggest that people moving after age 15 maintain the risk of the area where they grew up.