How Do You Know if You Are at Risk for Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disease, wherein the immune system mistakenly attacks the body cells, and damage the myelin sheath, which is a protective layer around the nerve fiber. The myelin sheath helps transmit the electric impulses from and to the brain. Damaging the myelin sheath would cause these impulses to slow down or halt altogether.

There are two types of risk factors that indicate one’s possibility of getting Multiple Sclerosis. The first one is the genetic factor, and the second is the environmental factor, which can be sometimes controlled.

Risk Factors for Multiple Sclerosis:

Genetic Factor:

Although MS is not a hereditary illness, having a first-degree relative with MS increases the risk of getting the disease.

Environmental Factors:

Some of the following factors indicate the possibility of getting MS:

  • Gender:

    Females are more susceptible to Multiple Sclerosis than males. Wherein for unknown reasons, the number of women with MS is twice or triple the number of men with MS.

  • Age:

    People of all ages can get MS, but it mostly occurs for people of ages between 20-50 years old.

  • Smoking:

    The risk of getting MS increases for smokers or former smokers, compared to non-smokers. Hence the more one smokes, the more the risk of getting MS inscreases.

  • Getting the Ebstein-Barr Virus (EBV) that causes Infectious Mononucleosis (MONO):

    There is no direct link between this virus and MS. However, 95% of people with MS have had this virus at one point, even if they did not have any symptoms.

  • Autoimmune Diseases:

    If you have other autoimmune diseases, the risk of getting MS increases. Autoimmune diseases are accumulative, meaning that having one autoimmune disease may indicate the possibility of getting another.

  • Vitamin D:

    Vitamin D deficiency causes many illnesses; therefore, it is considered a medical condition.
    There is a significant link between vitamin D levels in the body and the frequency of exacerbation. Exacerbations are mainly linked with vitamin D deficiency in the body.

Risk factors multiple sclerosis

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