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Increase Risk of Disability Progression in MS Due to High Blood Pressure

June 29, 2016

While a study finds that the rate disability progresses in multiple sclerosis might be slower in those without high blood pressure, new research states that it may actually be linked to greater overall disability in patients. Most studies that investigate disability progression risk factors in MS do result in a variety of different conclusions. With hypertension for example, some studies report that high blood pressure in MS patients is developed at the same rate as other people while other studies find that high blood pressure in those with MS is unusual.

Scientists at Chaim Sheba Medical Center and Tel Aviv University examined the medical records of 2,396 MS patients in order to identify potential links between heart and metabolic disease and MS. Their study used the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) in order to measure disability, an EDSS score of 4 includes unaided walking and normal activities, 6 needs assistance with walking and those with a score of 8 are bedridden but still have the use of their arms. It was explored whether patients had high blood pressure or a family history of hypertension, heart disease or diabetes and data was also collected about their smoking habits. 

Patients with high blood pressure resulted in taking longer to progress between levels than those that had normal blood pressure. “On average, people with hypertension and MS took 51.6, 38.9 and 62.7 months longer to move to EDSS levels 4,6 or 8, respectively, than those without elevated blood pressure who reached the same EDSS scores.”

The research team concluded that the disability progression was found to be more prevalent in hypertensive MS patients, although they did experience longer time intervals between the stages of disability progression.