Age and MS

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Age and MS

Postby wilson » Thu Jul 08, 2004 7:54 am

Does anyone know the relationship of a person's age and MS? Is it true that on average if you are diagnosed at a older age, your symptons may not be as severe?

Does MS ever go into remission as you grow older?
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Postby Felly » Thu Jul 08, 2004 9:52 am

On the whole most neurologists believe the opposite to be true -that onset before the age of 25 is more likely to mean a better prognosis. BUT it is very hard to make any sweeping statements about the natural progression of MS from one person to another.

Factors apart from a younger age that may indicate a less severe course are initial symptoms that are sensory (or mix of sensory with motor) or of optic neuritis, low number of affected neurological systems after the first 5 yrs, low EDSS after first 5 years and that you are a woman etc etc..

While the opposite is indicative of a more severe course. Such as onset after the age of 40, less than one year interval between the first two relapses, motor symptoms at onset, male, pyramidal and cerebellar involvement at onset.

When you say does MS ever going to remission as you get older, I think you need clarify what you mean by this. With RRMS it's when you stop having relapses but still have disease progression that you really have to worry. RRMS disease course is a mix of relapses and remissions, sometimes remissions can last for years, for example in my case I had my first attack at 23 and while I had a few symptoms in between the next real relapse wasn't for another 14 years. On the other hand PPMS is a completely different pattern.

Some neurologist believe MS- MIGHT -eventually burn itself out, however, by that stage the damage has more often than not been done and while the relapses might stop the disease continues. So I am not sure you call that MS burning out or any kind of permanent remission!

I know a woman in her late 70s with MS who is still having relapses. Just as there are men with MS who have had a very benign disease course, despite the statistics. So again the answer to your questions are 'How long is a piece of string.'

Sorry, if this is not what you would want to hear, it may be a good idea to speak to your Doc or MS nurse to clarify these questions further.

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Re: Age and MS

Postby HarryZ » Thu Jul 08, 2004 6:43 pm


MS patients that are finally diagnosed after the age of 40 quite often have had the disease for many years but didn't know it. By carefully looking at the person's history, one can usually see some MS symptoms that appeared much earlier in their life. But it is SO difficult to paint everyone with the same brush when it comes to MS.

My wife had her first MS attack at age 20. Then for the next 20 years, she lead a relatively normal life with all kinds of physical activity. Finally, some 25 years later, her MS turned to SPMS. I had an uncle who also had his first attack early in life, and some 10 years later, had another bad attack and then a remission with nerve damage. As he got older, the MS stabilized and when he was in his early 60's he died from leukemia.

One never knows what to expect from this disease and you can only hope that whatever level of MS you have, it doesn't become very serious.

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Postby OddDuck » Fri Jul 09, 2004 3:58 am

I stand behind the comments posted here, also.

And certainly not to make light of the seriousness of this (because I've struggled with MS my whole life, also); when I was younger, I used to say "I'm too darn young to have to deal with this", and NOW I say "I'm too darn OLD to have to deal with this"! :wink:

And deal with it we do!! No matter what the age.

On another thread that I post to, I have a couple of tag lines after my name. One is "Expect the unexpected", and the other one is "The only thing certain in life is change".

Hang in there, Wilson. All the best to you!!

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Postby CCmom » Mon Jul 19, 2004 11:56 am

I am on the fence regarding the idea that earlier diagnosis has it's advantages. Medically and logically, I can see that. We have access to drugs and therapies early on, maybe before irreparable damage is done. And there's always hope on the horizon, Antegren being the first to come to mind.

But then I look at people who have the isolated flare up of ON or symptoms mild enough that a diagnosis is not reached, and many years pass and they don't have this cloud of MS hanging over their heads. This happened to 2 friends of mine over the past 20 years, both had severe attacks of ON, never received a diagnosis, were treated only initially with steroids, told it could be MS later on down the line, and they have gone on without any other incident. Some days I am jealous of those people. If they have MS, they don't know it.

I have spent the past 3 years in search of teens diagnosed with MS. My 16 year old son was diagnosed 3 years ago. To date, I have been in contact with 6 parents of teens who have been diagnosed with MS. Out of these 6 teens, my son and one other seem to be holding their own against this disease. The other 4 are progressing very quickly, using chemo, in wheelchairs, etc. I must say that it has really frightened me, after being told by all the neuros that it was to our advantage to find out early. It scared me when I reached out to find other parents and found that some of the teens were so progressive, despite treatment. I am scared alot these days, though.

Would I be more frightened without the diagnosis? I don't think so. I don't think it's possible to be any more frightened than I have been for the last 3 years for my son, either way. Would it help if his diagnosis were confirmed and not based on lesion appearance alone? Yes, it would. At least I would stop searching and driving his doctors insane! :roll:

Just my thoughts...And we all know what they're worth! Take care and have a great day!

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