is one of the most difficult conditions to forecast. The sense of uncertainty
- simply not knowing how things will be in the future - is often a serious additional
problem for people with MS and their families. MS varies a great deal from individual
to individual but, in time, people will often get to know their own MS.
Even then, it can still surprise them.
Factors that suggest that a person with MS will be less disabled in the longer term include:
- Female gender
- Young age of onset; the onset of the first symptoms before the age of 40
- A low rate of relapses in the first two years
- Complete recovery from first relapse
- A long interval between first and second relapse
- Optic neuritis
or sensory symptoms (things like numbness or tingling) as the first attack
- Low disability 5 years from the onset of the condition
- A small number of MS lesions
on an MRI brain scan at diagnosis
As many as a third of people with MS have no or only
minor problems after 15 years. But it is impossible to say with any certainty
how each person's MS will develop.