Originally published by 2 Minute Medicine® (view original article). Reused on AccessMedicine with permission.

1. Compared to healthy matched controls, individuals with multiple sclerosis demonstrated significantly increased risk of cerebrovascular disease, acute coronary syndrome, cardiovascular disease-related mortality, and all-cause mortality.

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease characterized by the demyelination of nerve fibers in the central nervous system, resulting in severe pain, decreased mobility, fatigue, and vision loss. MS is also associated with cardiovascular disease and mortality. However, population-based studies on this relationship are limited. This population-based, retrospective matched cohort study among participants in England investigated the risk of major cardiovascular events and mortality in MS and healthy matched controls. A total of 12,251 participants with MS (M [SD] age = 44.9 [13.3] years, 66.9% female) and without MS (mean [SD] age = 44.9 [13.3] years, 69.8% female) were included in analyses. MS participants demonstrated increased risk of cerebrovascular disease (HR 1.59, 95% CI 1.32 to 1.92), acute coronary syndrome (HR 1.28, 95% CI 1.09 to 1.51), any major vascular disease (HR 1.32, 95% CI 1.15 to 1.52), all-cause mortality (HR 3.46, 95% CI 3.28 to 3.65), and cardiovascular disease-related mortality (HR 1.47, 95% CI 1.27 to 1.71). Mortality risk and occurrence of major vascular events were higher among women. Regarding treatment, lipid-reducing medications such as statins were associated with lower rates of mortality among individuals with MS. Overall, this study illustrates the risk factor MS poses for affected individuals and points toward future directions of research on MS.

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