Background and purpose: The objective of this paper was to present an epidemiological analysis of multiple sclerosis (MS) in Lublin, identify MS prevalence as well as characterize the population of MS patients.
Material and methods: Information about the patients was gathered and they were examined from 1996 to the end of 2000, that is within a 5-year period. The patients' data were obtained from the neurological departments in Lublin, most often neurological (but also general and ophthalmic) clinics, as well as from the Lublin MS Society. The remaining patients' data were obtained from the doctors, family members, the Lublin MS Society members, as well as from the hospital and clinic files. The patients were interviewed in detail using a prepared questionnaire. The diagnosis and its degree of certainty were determined in accordance with the Poser's criteria. The control group included 111 healthy people who were Lublin residents on the day of examination. The obtained results were analyzed in epidemiological and statistical terms.
Results: On the prevalence day (31 December 1997) there were 204 MS cases in Lublin, including 141 women (69%) and 63 men (31%). The calculated incidence ratio was 57.3/105. The average age of MS onset was estimated to be 30.1 years. On 31 December 1997 the average duration of the illness was 15.4 years. The average age for the examined cases was 45.5 years. The average DSS (Disability Status Scale) score was 3.5. Most often the disease began with a single symptom, in 155 cases (75.9%), whereas several symptoms occurred in 37 patients (18.1%). The most common symptoms at the illness onset were sensory impairments (52 patients), optic neuritis (42 people) and pyramidal symptoms (34 patients). The most common form of the illness was a disseminated form, which was diagnosed in 131 patients (64.2%). In the examined patient population four types of MS were recognized. The relapsing-remitting MS (RR-MS) was observed in 62 patients (30.3%), the secondary progressive MS (SP-MS) in 83 patients (40.6%), and the primary progressive MS (PP-MS) was characteristic of 40 people (19.6%), while 19 patients (9.3%) experienced a benign course of MS.
Conclusions: Our results are typical for the region of high incidence of MS. They are similar to the data achieved in other populations of that region.