Am I at risk of getting MS?

Your chances of developing MS may be affected by any of the following factors:

  • Gender – women are three times more likely to develop MS than men.
  • Genetics – close relatives of people with MS are 30-40 times more likely to develop the disease than others.
  • Age – although MS can happen at any age, it usually develops in people’s twenties or thirties.
  • Ethnicity – Caucasians are more likely to develop multiple sclerosis than any other ethnicity.
  • Geography – multiple sclerosis is a lot more common in countries further away from the equator such as the United Kingdom, Northern Europe, the United States and Australia.
  • Viruses – numerous studies have found that people with multiple sclerosis are at least twice as likely to have had the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) as people without MS.
  • Smoking – smoking cigarettes doubles the risk of someone developing multiple sclerosis.
  • Disease – people with type one diabetes, thyroid disease or inflammatory bowel disease are more likely to develop MS than others.

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