Another study, from 2014, compared the lifespan of more than 30,400 people with MS to 89,800 people without MS using a U.S. commercial health insurance database. Although with some limitations (the study did not consider type or severity of MS, or information on other medical conditions), the study found that the average life expectancy of MS patients in the U.S. is shortened by six years compared to those without MS.
Another study, co-funded by the MS Society of Canada, and titled “Effect of comorbidity on mortality in multiple sclerosis,” also looked at this issue in 2015, comparing an MS population (almost 6,000 people) with a non-MS group matched by age and gender (almost 89,000). Researchers here evaluated the impact of other medical conditions (comorbidities) like diabetes, heart or lung diseases, or depression on life expectancy in both groups. They also concluded that life expectancy with MS is reduced by seven years, although has increased over the past 25 years. Study results, importantly, highlight the importance of treating comorbidities in MS patients, and of adopting a healthier lifestyle as ways of improving life expectancy.
Factors that affect life expectancy
As mentioned, life expectancy in MS is getting better, for reasons that range better treatments, to improved healthcare and lifestyle adaptations.