Risk Factors for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop
Risk factors for MS include:
A viral infection may trigger MS. Researchers have been investigating a type of herpes virus, human herpes virus-6, and Epstein-Barr virus. Some medical experts believe that it is the way certain people respond to the virus that may trigger MS.
People who have an isolated attack of
Risk appears to be greatest between the ages of 16 and 40. This is when most people with MS are diagnosed.
At younger ages, women tend to be diagnosed with MS more frequently than men. However, the gender ratio is more equally balanced in people who develop MS later in life.
There may be a genetic component to MS, and sometimes it occurs in families. Researchers suspect more than one gene may be involved.
MS is more common in people of Northern European descent, especially people who are of Scandinavian background.
Other factors that may increase your risk of MS include:
Ebers GC. Environmental factors and MS. Lancet Neurology . 2008;7(3):268-277.
Multiple sclerosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated March 2010. Accessed March 17, 2010.
Multiple sclerosis. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus website. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/multiplesclerosis.html. Updated March 2010. Accessed March 12, 201.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Available at: http://nationalmssociety.org/.
Last reviewed March 2010 by
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