I first heard (and posted) this information for the <a href="http://www.nationalmssociety.org/index.aspx">National Multiple Sclerosis Society</a> as a part of my coverage of the European Congress on Multiple Sclerosis Research and Treatment (ECTRIMS) in October 2012. I can't stop thinking about this data and I thought I'd run a summary and link to the full blog, in case you missed it the first time.
The bottom line is that researchers in Lebanon, Turkey and the US found that our age impacts our chances of developing progressive MS. SPMS is typically diagnosed at an average age of 45 years, plus or minus 10 years, regardless of when people are diagnosed with RRMS. Interestingly, primary-progressive MS also tends to be diagnosed at the same age.
What does the "age effect" of the risk of progressive MS mean in terms of risk of developing SPMS?
- Although it seems logical that the longer you live with RRMS, the closer you may be getting to converting to SPMS. Once you are older than 45, this does not seem to be the case. In fact, the opposite is true.
- Once a person with RRMS is older than 45, their risk of converting to SPMS drops to 35%.
- A person older than 50 only has a 20% risk of developing SPMS.
- After age 60, the risk of SPMS conversion drops to 7%.
- After 75 years of age, if a person with RRMS has not developed SPMS, it is extremely unlikely (less than 1% chance) that they will develop SPMS.
- Based on the data, researchers estimate that between 43-38% of people with RRMS will never develop SPMS, even if they are followed until they are 75 years old.
I find this data fascinating and encouraging. I'd love to hear your thoughts on these findings in the comments section below.
Here's a link to the full blog: Will we all develop secondary progressive MS?