Are family members at risk of MS?

Children and close family members of people living with MS are at an increased risk of developing MS themselves but there are steps that can be taken to reduce your overall risk.

There is a genetic element to MS, which means that children, siblings and other relatives of people with MS are at a greater risk of developing it too.

The general population only has about a 1 in 330 chance of developing MS, although this figure varies significantly from region to region. 

Risk of developing MS for family members

  • If you have an identical twin with MS, you 25% chance of developing it too.
  • If you have a sibling, parent or child of someone with MS, your chance of developing it is about 1 in 10.

Preventing MS: What you can do

While these figures can be frightening, it is important to remember that there are certain lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your overall risk of developing MS.

  • Quit smoking
  • Get adequate sun exposure and supplement with vitamin D  (5,000 IU per day in winter)
  • Eat a healthy diet low in saturated fat, and supplement with flaxseed oil
  • Keep your stress levels down and exercise regularly

Read more about steps to take