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Average age of MS onset and diagnosis

Find out about how the diagnosis of MS can differ with age, and read answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about age and the diagnosis process.

A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis can provide answers after what may have been a long period of uncertainty, whether your symptoms have been present for months or years. Because symptoms of MS can be difficult to spot, or similar to those of other conditions, the process can be relatively long and slow.  It can also be difficult to diagnose which form of MS you have based solely on your symptoms.

However, on being diagnosed you may feel that there are still many unanswered questions, and that moment of diagnosis can feel extremely stressful and totally overwhelming. The OMS community understands those feelings, and we are here to provide support and understanding at this point and at every stage of your journey. The stories you find on our website will demonstrate that living with MS does not have to be a barrier to a happy and healthy life.

The process of MS diagnosis is different for everyone, but the common questions are often related to age and other demographics.


What is the average age of MS diagnosis?

An MS diagnosis can come in childhood thorugh to age 50 and beyond. However MS is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40, and is approximately three times more common in women than men.

Can MS be diagnosed after the age of 50?

It is less common, but certainly not unheard of, for MS to be diagnosed after the age of 50. Research and identification of cases in recent years has shown this not to be as rare as previously thought. If MS symptoms are first identified at this stage in life, then it is known as late-onset MS.

Late-onset MS can be more difficult to diagnose than MS in other age groups, not only because it is rarer but because there is significant overlap between MS symptoms and general signs of aging, and other conditions associated with older age.  Sensory and motor symptoms are more often seen at this age, and late-onset MS can progress more quickly.

What is the average life expectancy after MS diagnosis?

There is little direct evidence to suggest that MS makes a significant difference to life expectancy.  Older studies have shown a difference of around six years between people who do not have MS and people who do, but there are a great many factors impacting this figure such as other health conditions and lifestyle.  To put in the appropriate context, a diagnosis of diabetes is thought to reduce life expectancy by around 10 years.

By making the decision to adopt the diet and lifestyle principles of the OMS 7-Step Program you can take ownership of your health and your life, and take an active and positive approach to MS. Living well with MS is not only possible, but it offers a truly fulfilling and exciting path – all you need is the right attitude and motivation to get started.