Who is affected most by multiple sclerosis?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is not that common in the United States, although it is more common here than in other countries closer to the equator. In the United States, roughly 400,000 people have been diagnosed with MS. It is most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 40, and more women than men have the disease. Worldwide, roughly 2.1 million people have MS.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects approximately one in 750 people in the United States, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. MS affects three to four times as many women as men.

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There are 400,000 people who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in the United States; worldwide, 1.25-1.50 million people suffer from MS.

It is more common in women and in people between the ages of 20-45.

Dr. Charles R. Smith, MD

In the U.S., one out of every thousand people have multiple sclerosis, says neurologist Charles Smith, MD. In this video, he discusses why the MS prevalence goes up as you move from the equator.

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

No one knows exactly how many people have multiple sclerosis (MS). It is believed that, currently, there are approximately 250,000 to 350,000 people in the United States diagnosed with MS by a physician. This estimate suggests that approximately 200 new cases are diagnosed each week.

Although the cause of multiple sclerosis is unknown, the disease tends to strike adults 18 to 40 years of age. It can affect any part of the central nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord and the nerves leading to the eyes. Multiple sclerosis can cause a wide range of disabilities, from mobility problems to cognitive deficits. The disease can exact a heavy emotional toll on those with multiple sclerosis and their loved ones.

According to the Atlas of multiple sclerosis (MS), a comprehensive MS database based on information from the World Health Organization and the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation:

  • The mean average of MS prevalence is 33 per 100,000.
  • The total estimated people diagnosed with MS is 2.3 million.

It is important to remember that MS is a global disease, and is not limited to just the northern or western regions of the world. No country is totally free of MS.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.