As people with MS live longer, they’re now also faced with the consequences of normal aging. It can be difficult, though, to know if the cause of worsening symptoms in older MS patients are due to conditions commonly brought on by aging such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, an intensified degenerative/inflammatory process directly related to MS progression, or a combination of these factors. Here are some of the more common complications of age and MS.
Difficulties with mobility
As people age, mobility becomes more of a concern. Last year it was reported that from 2004 and 2012, the number of American adults over the age of 65 who used canes and other mobility devices increased from 16 to 24 percent.
Although MS patients of any age may require mobility aids, statistics have shown that the aging process itself may further contribute to the growing need for them. For instance, a study of 2156 people with MS, found that older persons over the age of 65 with MS had a significantly higher rate of disability compared to their younger counterparts. It also found that a higher percentage of older adults required a cane and other types of bilateral support to walk 25 feet. A higher percentage also needed a wheelchair, scooter, or were bedridden.
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Disease Comorbidity and Age-Related Changes in MS