Older Onset MS?

by Anonymous
(US)

Comment First:

Thank you for your site. It's encouraging to me! I am 53 and "may" have MS. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia when I was 45. Now, symptoms are getting worse.

-Blurred/double vision
-Pain
-EXHAUSTION; etc.

My question is:
Even though I go against the average age and gender, is it POSSIBLE to develop MS later in life?

Looking back, I started feeling ILL when I was in my mid - 20s AFTER a bad bout with Mono.

Thanks for your time!

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Dec 27, 2014
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MS Averages
by: Akrista

Hi Anon,

So glad we can be of help to you. Unfortunately, the statistics show average age for onset. What that means is there are a whole bunch of people who develop MS and if you remember all those math problems about averages, you add up all their ages - some as young as 5, some as old as 60 - and then divide by the number of people you began with. The answer you get is the average age for someone to develop MS - somewhere between 20 and 30 years old.

Those statistics say that it is rare for someone younger or older than the average to develop MS, but not impossible. With that being said, yes, you may have it and like you said, you may have had it for years and only with hind site, do you realize that all those symptoms you experienced years ago, may point to MS. You may have had a very mild form of the disease back then, maybe relapsing remitting where you recovered to the point of near normality, attributing the symptoms with whatever you were experiencing at the time.

So that was the long answer. This is the short answer, yes, you can get MS at your age. And usually the older you are at onset, the more quickly the disease progresses. You on the other hand, feel like you may have had symptoms much earlier - your 20's - so even though you weren't diagnosed, you may have simply progressed at a slower rate. Some MSers progress from relapsing remitting to secondary progressive where they have more symptoms and don't bounce back after each relapse like they used to.

And don't be discouraged about not getting a diagnosis right now. Many times doctors want to rule out everything else before saddling a patient with a disease like MS, so they may want to take several tests to make sure it's not something else (that could possibly be cured). If you're not at that point yet, the best thing you can do is to try and remember every possible symptom you've felt over the past several years to help with the doctors their evaluation.

Hope this helps and I will be adding this question and answer to our site if you don't mind. I can leave your name out, also if you'd like.

Take care and have a wonderful holiday,
Akrista & Cir

Jan 31, 2015
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Later in life diagnosis and doing well at 58
by: Anonymous

I was diagnosed at age 56 and was told by my MS doctor that I likely did have MS before the official diagnosis. He was encouraging though, saying if I had the disease before and was just now experiencing a relapse, I would likely be able to manage quite well as I age, not get worse quicker as is noted in the comments above. It has been two years and I have the same symptoms, no worse or better.

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