Public Health England has published the findings of a study which estimated the prevalence, incidence and demographic characteristics of patients with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) in England using a sample of anonymised primary care records.
The estimated prevalence of MS in England is 190 cases per 100,000 population, equating to approximately 105,800 individuals.
The condition is more than twice as common in females than males (272 vs 106 per 100,000 population). Females aged 50-59 years are three times more likely to have MS than males of a similar age (578 and 184 per 100,000 population, respectively).
The highest prevalence was in the 60-69 years age group for both sexes (598 females and 228 males per 100,000 population). Seventy-five per cent of males and females with MS are aged between 40 and 74 years.
The clinical advice for those with a diagnosis of MS is to cease smoking. The data also showed that a larger proportion of both males and females with MS were classed as ex-smokers compared with those without MS. Twenty-three per cent of males and 15 per cent of females with MS were still classed as smokers.
The study authors say the findings suggest there may be benefits from improving communication between specialist neurological staff who support people with MS and the providers of local smoking cessation services.