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Health status and health care utilization of multiple sclerosis in Canada

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By SL Pohar, et al. • • August 13, 2007

Background: Persons with multiple sclerosis (MS) represent a small segment of the population, but given the progression of the disease, they experience substantial physical, psychosocial and economic burdens.

Objective: The primary aim was to compare demographic characteristics, health status, health behaviours, health care resource utilization and access to health care of the community dwelling populations with and without MS.

Methods: Cross-sectional survey using data from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS 1.1). Adjusted analyses were performed to assess differences between persons with MS and the general population, after controlling for age and sex. Normalized sampling weights and bootstrap variance estimates were used.

Results: Respondents with MS were 7.6 times (95% CI: 5.4, 10.7) more likely to have health-related quality of life scores that reflected severe impairment than respondents without MS. Respondents with MS were 12.2 times (95% CI: 8.6, 17.2) to rate their health as 'poor' or 'fair' than the general population. Urinary incontinence and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome were 18.7 times (95% CI: 12.5, 28.2) and 21.9 times (95% CI: 11.9, 40.3), more likely to be reported by respondents with MS than those without. Differences between the two populations also existed in terms of health care resource utilization and access and health behaviors.

Conclusion: Large discrepancies in health status and health care utilization existed between persons with MS who reside in the community and the general population according to all indicators used. Health care needs of persons with MS were also not met.

Source: Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences. 2007 May;34(2):167-74. PMID: 17598593, by Pohar SL, Jones CA, Warren S, Turpin KV, Warren K. Institute of Health Economics, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

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