- What age groups does it affect?
- Where in the World is it most prevalent?
- How does it affect race or gender?
Multiple Sclerosis Demographics
The dictionary defines Demographics as the adjective form of Demography – the study of the statistics of births, deaths, diseases, etc. So while the demographics of multiple sclerosis doesn’t cover births and deaths it does cover the spread of the condition.
Did you know that most people first experience multiple sclerosis symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40? Although cases of MS have occurred in young children and in elderly adults, these are rare with cases seldom occurring before the age of 15 or after age 60.
Women are affected more than men, almost twice as much. Although older patients developing the condition are more evenly balanced. Whites or Caucasians are twice as likely to suffer from MS as other races.
Perhaps more surprisingly than these figures, multiple sclerosis is 5 times more likely in temperate regions, such as Europe, than in tropical regions. It appears the northern hemisphere as a whole is blighted. Canada has the highest incidence with countries like Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Scotland following closely. The age of 15, again, appears to be relevant as people moving from one region to the other prior to age 15 tend to adopt the risk of the new area. However, this does not seem to be the case for persons moving area after the age of 15.
Other studies suggest that this geographic variation may be a genetic predilection and reflect racial and ethnic susceptibility. However I read somewhere recently that while MS is more common in Caucasian people it is particularly prevalent amongst those in Scotland or those of Scottish descent. Quite how this has been quantified I am unsure and I’m not sure if it contradicts what is written above.