Multiple Sclerosis Patients Have Fewer Vascular Comorbidities

Rates were similar, but gender and age-specific differences emerged.

INDIANAPOLIS — People with multiple sclerosis may have lower rates of vascular comorbidities, including hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia, results from a study indicate.

Elizabeth Triche, PhD, of St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Connecticut, and colleagues looked at vascular complications in a single-center cohort of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients in the general population. The results were presented in a poster session at the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers 2015 Annual Meeting.

Among 200 MS patients (mean age 45 years) with a mean disease duration of eight years and mean body mass index (BMI) of 28 kg/m2, rates of vascular comorbidities were similar to the general population, however, upon further analyses, gender and age-specific differences emerged.

In women aged 20 to 44 with MS, 4.1% had hypertension compared to 8.7% of the general population, and in women aged 45 to 64, hypertension rates were 25% compared to 39.5% in the general population. A similar trend was seen for hyperlipidemia, with 23.5% of women with MS aged 45 to 64 with hyperlipidemia compared to 42.4% of the general population.

The opposite trend was seen for diabetes in women with MS, where compared to the general population, 4.1% of women with MS aged 44 and under had diabetes compared to 1.7% of the general population. 

Among men with MS, rates of hypertension and hyperlipidemia were similar across age groups in both cohorts; however men with MS (all age groups) had lower rates of diabetes than the general population.

The mechanism of the relationship isn’t fully understood, however some have suggested that the lower rates of vascular comorbidities among people with MS is related to MS patients having greater access to healthcare. 


  1. Triche EW et al. Poster EG08. Vascular Comorbidities Among Patients with Multiple Sclerosis at a Comprehensive Care Center. Presented at: Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers Annual Meeting 2015; May 27-30, 2015; Indianapolis, IN.