MS Ireland has released statistics revealing that the quality of life of people living with Multiple Sclerosis was 32 per cent lower than for the general population and that men with MS have a 5 per cent lower quality of life than women with MS. MS Ireland and Novartis have published this information, based on findings of a nationally representative study to understand the impact of MS on the 9,000 people living with the disease in Ireland, to mark World MS Day on 31st May, 2017.
The respondents to the study rated their experiences in various areas, such as mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain and discomfort and anxiety/depression. 78 per cent of people with MS reported that they can’t complete daily activities like getting dressed, cooking or washing, 72 per cent are struggling with mobility, and 60 per cent said they had experienced anxiety and depression as a direct cause of their MS.
The research indicated that Ireland is below the EU average in terms of the number of people working; 60 per cent of those with MS living in the EU are at work compared to just 43 per cent at work in Ireland, which could be an influencing factor in the quality of life of people living with MS.
The economic burden of MS stands at €429 million per year, according to an associated MS Ireland report, and the majority of costs are outside the healthcare system. €214 million stem from indirect costs such as time-off work and carers and €81 million comes from further intangible costs. Commenting on the research findings, Professor Tim Lynch, Consultant Neurologist, Mater Hospital, Dublin said, “Quality of life is often overlooked in a person’s care, but with a disease like MS, the impact on quality of life can be staggering and can compound clinical symptoms as well. What is clear is that early diagnosis leads to earlier treatment which can help to delay progression of the disease. It is very clear that the longer we can keep people at the earlier stage of the disease, the better their quality of life will be.”