My MS Odds

Factors for developing MS include: Ethnic background, Geography, Age and Genetics.

Content provided by: Tammy Mahan of Healthline

Who Gets MS
There are almost two and a half million people worldwide estimated to be affected by MS. MS (multiple sclerosis) is not contagious, or inherited although there are a number of factors that determine a person’s risk for the disease. Factors for developing MS include:
•Ethnic background
•Geography
•Age
•Genetics
•Gender

What is MS?
MS (multiple sclerosis) is a disease affecting the spinal cord and brain that leads to a loss of balance, vision, muscle control, and sensation. A person’s own immune system causes damage to the nerves of the spinal cord and brain, which make up the central nervous system, when MS is present. It is an autoimmune disease meaning that it mistakenly attacks normal tissues in the body.

MS Patterns
There are two to three times more women with MS than men, leading to research about the hormone association to MS. Genetics has a role in who develops the disease but it is not inherited directly. There is a one in seven hundred and fifty chance of the general population developing MS; anyone with a close relative suffering from the disease has an increased risk of one in forty. The risk could increase in people that have a number of people in the family diagnosed with MS. The risk of identical twins developing MS is only one fourth, despite the fact they have the same genetic makeup, which means there are a few genetic factors involved.

When does MS appear?
•The ages of twenty to fifty are when most people get the diagnosis of MS.
•MS can be present in teens and young children.
•Scientists are trying to determine why those that are diagnosed with MS after the age of fifty progress faster with the ability to walk being affected.
•MS is less common close to the equator that it is at northern latitudes farther from the equator. There is research being conducted into whether vitamin D provides protection against the disease.
•MS is more common in Caucasians of northern European descent, although it occurs in most of the ethnic groups.
•There are variations occurring in geographic areas that have the same climate, which indicates a complex interaction among the factors such as ethnicity and geography.

Is MS increasing?
There is no evidence being found by epidemiologists to suggest that MS instances are increasing even though the number of people being diagnosed is higher than it was in the past. Improved medical care, increases awareness of MS and being able to more effectively diagnose the disease are the likely explanations for increased diagnosis of MS. The likelihood that physicians will communicate the diagnosis of MS to patients has increased as treatments that are more effective have become available.

Understanding MS Clusters
The perception that there have been a large number of MS cases occurring in a specific area or over a set amount of time is what defines a MS cluster. Areas where the clusters of MS (and other diseases) occur could provide clues to the genetic or environmental risk factors that might be triggers or causes for the disease. There has not been clear evidence produced for triggering factors, causes or MS factors from various cluster studies that have been performed.

Content provided by: Tammy Mahan of Healthline

Author: Healthline

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22 thoughts on “My MS Odds”

  1. Hi Nicole,

    Thank you for sharing your posts on our Facebook Page (MS Society of Canada, South & Central Vancouver Island). Here’s a website you might be interested in sharing with your fans: http://digestingscience.co.uk/

    It’s an interactive website illustrating how MS works. Try it out.

  2. Good day

    we are a South African based MS organisation. I would like to put at your attention an other interesting aspect. In SA there are an estimated 5500 people affected by MS. Interesting enough over the 90% are white. African origin people seams to be pretty immune to MS. This can also be miss leading as MS diagnosis is not only complicated but also very expansive. Maybe be mistaken for others medical conditions and if you do not have access to good medical care most likely you will not be diagnosed. However if you consider the Caucasian population only than you will find that the percentage of people affected is the same as in Europe. It is given that the southern hemisphere suffer less but it is a poverty factor where diagnosis is not accurate or is an environmental factor?

  3. Also, People who have served in the military get MS at about a 20% higher rate than the normal population. Maybe it has something to do with the less common vaccines we receive, or exposure to toxins when deployed.

  4. Well lived: I don’t think you’ll find any “like patients” anywhere. You’ll find those with similar issues (my new addition to the Health Care team, my urologist, says that everyone with MS eventually comes to see people like him, for sadly all-too-similar reasons).

    My herbalist says that way too many problems of all sorts are traceable to auto-immune issues. The immune system cross-reacts to something in the environment and attacks your nervous system, they’ll tell you you have MS; if it cross-reacts and attacks your joints, they’ll tell you you have arthritis. The latter of which I have seen myself, I know someone who started following my zero-dairy-for-any-reason diet and poof! all the incipient joint-achey issues went away and only come back when she breaks her diet. And according to my herbalist, except for things like dairy that screw up everyone, pretty much everybody has their own auto-immune issues, the world is a very chemically complex one which we as a species haven’t adapted to as fast as the world keeps changing.

    As T’Pau said on Star Trek TOS, “The air is the air. What can be done.”

  5. I still want to know why MS is thought of as one disease. It is diagnosed by exclusions, meaning it’s not an STD, it’s not Lymes disease, it’s not…therefore it is MS.

    We lump patients with different symptoms, different progression of symptoms, and different reactions to medications as all suffering from MS. “If it isn’t A and it isn’t B then it is C” represents some weak logic to me. This study found 110 genetic variants associated with MS:

    http://multiple-sclerosis-research.blogspot.com/2013/10/how-genetics-can-help-our-understanding.html

    I think we are more likely to find causes and cures when we break down the groups we are looking at into “like patients” with similar symptoms, causes and hopefully genetic variants of the disease. If Vegas were to bet on how many diseases MS really are, I’m thinking the over under could probably be set at 20. Of course that is just a number designed to get enough people to bet on both sides, and I have no idea the real number. I just find “1” hard to believe.

  6. Thanks for this. I have read all this info before but I don’t think all in one place like this. As a SHG leader I will share this with new members! thanks

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