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Risks of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

By Editorial Team (Y)
March 16, 2022

There are several multiple sclerosis risks that are associated with MS:

  • Age. The onset of MS usually occurs between 20 and 40 years.
  • Sex. Women are more likely to have relapsing-remitting MS.
  • Family history. If one of your parents or siblings has had MS, you are at higher risk of developing the disease.
  • Certain infections. Epstein-Barr and other viruses have been linked to MS.
  • Race. White people, particularly those of Northern European descent, are at the highest risk of developing MS.
  • Climate. MS is more common in countries with temperate climates, including Canada, the northern United States, New Zealand, southeastern Australia, and Europe.
  • Vitamin D. MS is associated with low vitamin D levels and minimum exposure to sunlight.
  • Certain autoimmune diseases. Thyroid disease, pernicious anemia, psoriasis, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and other autoimmune diseases have been linked to MS.
  • Smoking. Smokers are more likely to develop a second event that confirms relapsing-remitting MS than nonsmokers.

MS complications that may also develop:

  • muscle stiffness or spasms;
  • paralysis, typically in the legs;
  • issues with bladder, bowel, or sexual function;
  • mental changes, such as forgetfulness or mood swings;
  • depression;
  • epilepsy.

MS symptoms

Movement issues:

  • numbness or weakness in one or more limbs that typically occurs on one side of the body at a time;
  • electric-shock sensations that occur with certain neck movements, especially bending the neck forward (Lhermitte sign);
  • tremor, lack of coordination, or unsteady gait.

Vision problems:

  • partial or complete loss of vision, usually in one eye at a time, often with pain during eye movement;
  • prolonged double vision;
  • blurry vision.

Multiple sclerosis symptoms may also include:

  • slurred speech;
  • fatigue;
  • dizziness;
  • tingling or pain in parts of the body.

Click here to read more about treatment of the nervous system.

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