People commonly ask doctors; is MS hereditary? This is a popular question coming from individuals who have had family members diagnosed with MS. In short, the answer to ‘Is Multiple Sclerosis hereditary’ is; no. Research has shown genetics to be a small factor in the causation of this autoimmune disease, but it isn’t the only factor involved. Just because a parent or sibling has MS, this doesn’t make MS hereditary and it doesn’t mean you will end up being diagnosed with the disease as well.
Even though MS isn’t considered to be a hereditary disease, a few genetic variations could be at fault for raising the chances of someone developing MS. Additional factors thought to cause MS include those created by the environment and childhood illnesses. Environmental factors such as a lack of vitamin D, severe stress, smoking, and possibly even low levels of uric acid. The link between a lack of vitamin D and MS has been the subject of numerous studies. In fact, countries further from the equator statistically have more cases of MS than those closer to the equator.
Childhood illnesses, such as mono don’t necessarily cause Multiple Sclerosis, but past reports show a large number of individuals with MS all tested positive for the mono antibodies. This doesn’t mean that getting mono in your youth sets you up for developing MS later on. Researchers feel the correlation between the two needs more data gathered, but on the whole the presence of mono antibodies can increase the risk of MS.
Multiple Sclerosis Hereditary Factors
Passing down MS to your children isn’t something that should be of any concern, since the Multiple Sclerosis hereditary link has already been discussed. The percentages attached to the possibility of family members developing MS are very low. For example, siblings have a 5 percent chance of being diagnosed with MS after one sibling tests positive for the disease. In the case of half-siblings, the percentage drops below the 5 percent mark. But, in twins, the Multiple Sclerosis hereditary risk percentage raises to 35 percent.
Multiple Sclerosis seems to be linked to ethnic groups more so than family members. Individuals who can trace back their heritage to family members who were considered ‘Vikings’ might notice a larger number of members with signs of MS than those whose family members are associated with the Lapps of northern Scandinavia. So, is MS hereditary? Researchers say it isn’t. Is Multiple Sclerosis hereditary concern still an issue? It most likely will be until researchers are able to find the exact cause of MS.