The ability to walk is affected in an increasing proportion of untreated MS patients over time. However, the rate of progression varies from patient to patient. Frequent attacks with incomplete recovery are indicators of a poorer outlook. Importantly, the likelihood of disability is diminished by (early) therapeutic intervention.
The studies of the natural history of MS in patients in southern Ontario documented that half of those who had three attacks within their first year required the use of wheelchairs within 5 years of onset. In reality, those (untreated) patients will often be wheelchair bound within 2 years. This kind of progression warrants an aggressive approach to MS management.
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