Multiple Sclerosis Prognosis

A multiple sclerosis prognosis is one that most doctors don't want to give before seeing progression for at least five years. What is a prognosis anyway? 

prognosis: the expected outcome of an illness.

Even though it's very difficult to predict how your MS will progress, there are a few things that suggest how it may progress. Keep in mind, though, that multiple sclerosis varies widely from one person to the next.

Also, realize that MS is chronic and as of yet there is no cure. This means that it lasts a long time. And more than likely you will live a normal life span. Living 35 or more years after your diagnosis is pretty normal.

One indicator

One of the indicators of a multiple sclerosis prognosis is the age you are when you first begin noticing symptoms. A lot of times this doesn't match up with the actual diagnosis date. Cir noticed symptoms in his mid teens but he wasn't diagnosed till he was around his mid-thirties.

This isn't unusual. Most of the symptoms in the beginning are brushed off as minor annoyances or maybe attributed to other things going on in your life. If you have someone close to you who also has multiple sclerosis, you may suspect MS sooner, though.

If your first symptoms appear in your 20's or early 30's, you are more likely to have a milder form of MS. If symptoms begin in your teens or later in your 40's, then you are more likely to have a progressive form of the disease.

A good prognosis

Invisible Symptoms

I suppose the best prognosis for any disease is a good prognosis. One that is milder as opposed to more aggressive. An even better one would be a mistaken diagnosis of MS, which I have heard about before. Unfortunately that is not always the case.

And another unfortunate thing about a "mild" course of the disease, is that it almost always means you suffer from the more invisible symptoms. Fatigue, weakness, brain fog and other cognitive issues may plague you.

According to a study done at the University of Washington MS Clinic, there are several indicators that point to a good prognosis. They used patient records, 200 books and articles about MS, and the opinions of directors at other MS clinics and researchers to come up with the following list.

  • onset on or before age 34 or 40
  • only one symptom at onset
  • one symptom during the first year
  • sudden appearance of symptoms
  • initial remission within one month
  • almost complete recovery after first symptom
  • absence of ataxia or Babinski sign
  • optic neuritis or some other sensory symptom is the only symptom
  • very short exacerbation
  • your current mobility
  • a minimum of ataxia or balance problems
  • a minimum of abnormal reflexes or pyramidal signs after five years

New Hope and Practical Advice for People with MS and Their Families by Louis J. Rosner, MD

A few more indicators that you will have a mild or benign multiple sclerosis prognosis are whether or not you are female or male. Most women have a more mild case of MS. And more men end up having an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis. There are of course exceptions to this as there are with any "rule".

Cir has progressed, but not the way we thought he might and also not as quickly. We continue to have an active role in his treatment, whether it's traditional medicines or alternative treatments for multiple sclerosis.

Your multiple sclerosis prognosis

Whatever your multiple sclerosis prognosis turns out to be, there is always hope. Each year, actually almost every day, I am reading about studies that may eventually lead to a cure (or at least a reversal of symptoms or a permanent remission of relapses. 

Go from Multiple Sclerosis Prognosis back to What is MS? 

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