There’s a reason you should never think you, or your child, is too young to develop multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that can cause severe disability and a host of symptoms.

“There is no age that is considered ‘too young’ for MS,” says Mitzi J. Williams, MD, clinical neurologist with Morehouse School of Medicine and clinical advisor for the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.

This is not one of those so-called “diseases of the aging.”

Dr. Williams explains, “It is more difficult to diagnose small children since their brains are still developing, which could make it more difficult to see ‘abnormalities’ on MRI that are typical for MS.

“Also in children, it is important to check for brain changes or neurologic problems that could be ‘congenital’ or present since birth.

“Children can be diagnosed as young as four or five years old, but more typically are diagnosed in their preteen or teenage years.”

Pictorial of MS. BruceBlaus, CC BY-SA 4.0/ Commons

Mild symptoms in very young children can be misdiagnosed as other more common conditions or be just below the radar of the parent’s observations.

Mitzi Williams, MD

Dr. Williams is author of “MS Made Simple: The Essential Guide to Understanding Your Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis.” She is a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


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