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Monday, March 21, 2016

People with MS, Especially Men, Likely to Have Other Chronic Health Conditions

March 15, 2016
People newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) tend to also suffer from other chronic health problems, particularly depression, according to a Canadian study, that also emphasizes the importance of investigating whether the safety of MS treatments differs for these patients.
“These findings are interesting for several reasons,” the study’s author, Ruth Ann Marrie, a member of the American Academy of Neurology, said in a press release. “It raises the question of whether there are shared risk factors for both MS and these other diseases, and if so, whether we could eventually find ways to reduce the risk of both MS and the other diseases. Also, studies have shown that MS may progress faster for people who also have other chronic health conditions, so it’s important for people and their doctors to be aware of this and try to manage these conditions.”
The research team from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, examined the health records of 23,382 individuals with MS (71.9 percent female) at the time of diagnosis, and 116,638 MS-free individuals of the same age and sex. Researchers registered the rates of several chronic conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, fibromyalgia, chronic lung disease, inflammatory bowel disease, epilepsy, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression.
Findings, published in the journal Neurology, showed that people with MS had higher rates of all the investigated co-morbidities, except for high cholesterol. Particularly, mental disorders were common in MS patients.
Depression was the most frequent condition — 19 percent of the MS study group had depression compared to only 9 percent in non-MS individuals. Since depression can severely impact the quality of life and increase the risk for hospitalization in MS patients, Dr. Marrie argued that mental health conditions need to be closely monitored.

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