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Friday, March 11, 2016

MS Diagnoses Linked to Other Health Problems

by Sydney Lupkin 
Reporter, VICE News/MedPage Today

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) were more likely to have a physical and psychological comorbidities at the time of MS diagnosis compared with people without it, according to a population-based study, prompting questions about the role of lifestyle factors in the disease

Health records from the Canadian provinces of Quebec, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, and British Columbia indicated that those with MS were, at diagnosis, more likely to have every comorbidity examined except for hyperlipidemia, Ruth Ann Marrie, MD, PhD, of the University of Manitoba, and colleagues, reported in Neurology.

But the most common comorbidities among MS patients were fibromyalgia and depression, they found.

"The burden of psychiatric comorbidity for both sexes even at MS diagnosis was striking," the authors wrote. "While depression and anxiety are recognized to be common in established MS, our findings and those of prior studies collectively indicate that these conditions are the most or nearly the most common preexisting comorbidities at diagnosis, particularly among those aged 20-44 years."

Researchers looked at 23,382 MS cases and 116,638 age-, location-, and sex-matched controls, and found that people with MS were more likely to have the following, expressed as relative risks (all P<0.0001):

Hypertension: 1.17
Diabetes:        1.17
Ischemic heart disease: 1.30
Fibromyalgia:  2.87
Inflammatory bowel disease: 1.68
Epilepsy:     2.18
Depression: 2.04
Anxiety: 1.61
Bipolar disorder: 1.86
Schizophrenia:  1.32

For many of these conditions, dividing patients by gender produced even more pronounced results. For instance, women with MS had a 16% higher incidence of hypertension than women without MS. But men with MS had a 48% higher incidence of hypertension than those without MS. The researchers found similar results for several other comorbidities as well.

Although women with MS were expected to have higher rates of fibromyalgia and depression, the study authors did not anticipate that women with MS would have a 39% higher prevalence of chronic lung disease at MS diagnosis compared with non-MS women, or that men with MS would have only a 21% higher prevalence of chronic lung disease.


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