Facts and Stats about MS
In this blog, we look at some of the most common misconceptions about multiple sclerosis and some of the top facts about living with the condition. There is still relatively little known about MS and how it can potentially be cured in the future with global medical research taking place constantly.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition that affects the brain and the spinal cord. People with MS have damage to the coating that protects their nerves (myelin) which causes various symptoms, including issues with mobility and blurred vision.
There is a substance in the body called myelin which protects the fibers that make up our nerves in our central nervous system. Myelin helps messages to travel through our bodies quickly between our brain and our body and limbs.
In someone with multiple sclerosis, their immune system (the body’s way of fighting infections), mistakes Myelin as a foreign body, attacking it. That can causes damage to the Myelin, stripping some or all of it off the nerves, sometimes leaving scarring, known as lesions or plaques.
The effect that this process can have on the body causes disruptions to the messages traveling through our central nervous system. These messages can either be slowed considerably, distorted, or even blocked completely.
What are the different types of Multiple Sclerosis?
There are three well known and more commonly referred to types of multiple sclerosis which are:
- Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS): is where people will have intermittent periods of symptoms, known as a relapse which can vary dramatically from one person to another. Roughly 85% of people diagnosed with MS have relapsing-remitting, which is often treatable with a disease-modifying therapy (DMT).
- Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS): is very often the next stage of the condition beyond relapsing-remitting. In this type of MS, the person will often experience progressively worsening symptoms and disabilities. The main difference between this and relapsing MS is that you would no longer have periods of no symptoms or relapses.
- Primary Progressive MS (PPMS): is known to affect approximately 10-15% of people diagnosed with MS. The name primary comes from the simple fact that from the very first symptoms, they get progressively worse.
How many people does Multiple Sclerosis effect in the UK?
There are an estimated more than 130,000 people in the UK living with multiple sclerosis and nearly 7,000 people are newly diagnosed each year. Roughly 1 in 500 people living in the UK have MS, and there are 130 new people diagnosed each week.
These statistics and estimates are provided by MS Society which works in partnership with Public Health England:
- MS affects more than double the number of females as it does males (per 100,000 people in the UK = 272 females / 106 males)
- Females between 50 – 59 are three times more likely to get diagnosed with MS
- People (both male and female) are most likely to have MS between 60 – 69
- MS is more likely to appear in ex-smokers than in the general population
Statistics are from Public Health England.
Can I get Life Insurance with Multiple Sclerosis?
Life insurance is essential for anyone who has either financial dependents (e.g. children, partner, or family members) or to cover debts such as mortgages, loans, and businesses. Some people with medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis feel discouraged in applying for life cover, which is incredibly concerning for us. It is often far easier to get life insurance for people with MS than you might think, and we can help.
The main questions that insurance providers will ask someone with multiple sclerosis are:
- When were you diagnosed with MS?
- Which type of multiple sclerosis do you have?
- What type of treatment or therapies are you receiving or have you received in the past?
- Do you have any issues eating, or swallowing, or do you need to spend most of your time in bed?
- Do you use walking aids (e.g. wheelchair, scooter, walking stick, or crutches)?
- Are you working, or are you able to work?
Your answers to these questions, in addition to general health and lifestyle-related facts, will be taken into consideration. It is even possible to get life insurance accepted without additional medical evidence from your GP, which is a significant step forwards.
For more information check out MS LIFE INSURANCE
List of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness Events
Many national and international awareness events have been running for some years to help raise awareness and fundraise for MS:
- MS Awareness Week: is a UK event that is run by UK-based MS charities and often run towards the end of April.
- World MS Day is held on the 30th of May every year.
- MS Awareness Month: is held in the United States by the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.
Multiple Sclerosis Charities and Online Resources
There are several major MS charities and non-profit organisations in the UK that help people with MS to manage on a day-to-day basis, as well as provide vital support. As well as the major charities, there are some local MS support facilities that provide treatment for people with MS. Some of the main MS charities and online resources relating to MS in the UK include:
Address: Unsworth House, Hythe Quay, Essex, CO2 8JF. Telephone: 0800 783 0518.
Address: Spirella Building, Bridge Road, Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, SG6 4ET. Telephone: 0800 032 3839.
Address: 372 Edgeware Road, London, NW2 6ND. Telephone: 0800 800 8000.
NHS Choices website contains a lot of useful information relating to Multiple Sclerosis