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This article provides new information about multiple sclerosis (MS) using the 2010/2011 Neurological Conditions Prevalence File, the 2011/2012 Survey of Neurological Conditions in Institutions in Canada, and the 2011 Survey on Living with Neurological Conditions in Canada. An estimated 93,500 Canadians living in private households and 3,800 residents of long-term care institutions had been diagnosed with MS. Prevalence estimates were 159 and 418 cases per 100,000 population for men and women, respectively; 2.6 women reported MS for every man with the condition. Among the household population, MS was generally diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 49 (82%). For the majority (68%), MS was their only neurological condition. The impact of MS included pain that prevented activities, impairments in mobility, cognition or sleep, and limitations in social functioning. Almost two-thirds (64%) stated that MS affected their lives at least moderately.

Keywords

Cognition, mortality, myelitis, neurological disease

Findings

Estimates from individual provinces suggest that the prevalence of multiple sclerosis (MS) among Canadians may be one of the highest in the world. MS is a progressive, potentially disabling disease of the central nervous system that damages myelin, the protective layer surrounding nerves. This disrupts communication to and from the brain, producing symptoms such as vision impairment, loss of coordination and balance, extreme fatigue, pain, bladder dysfunction, cognitive impairment, numbness, weakness, and mood changes. The nature and severity of symptoms vary and may be characterized by periods of relapse and remission. [Full Text]

Authors

Heather Gilmour (Heather.Gilmour@canada.ca) and Pamela L. Ramage-Morin are with the Health Analysis Division at Statistics Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. Suzy L. Wong is with the Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.

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