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How Do You Get MS? (Theories)

Research into the causes and contributory factors of MS is on-going. There is evidence that the following factors may have some influence.

  • Genetic It is generally accepted that the risk of developing MS increases by 20–40-times if a first-degree relative (parent or sibling) has the disease. 

  • Geographic The further away from the equator you live, the greater the risk. This is likely due to decreased vitamin D levels, related to sunlight exposure.

  • Viral The Epstein-Barr virus, which can cause glandular fever and occurs in 80-90% of the general population, is currently strongly implicated in MS.

  • Smoking - There is strong evidence to suggest that smoking can worsen your MS. NICE guidelines suggest that healthcare professionals should advise their patients to stop smoking as there is a risk of quicker progression of MS. 

  • Birth Month In the northern hemisphere, the risk of developing MS peaks for those born in May, according to widely-cited research published in the BMJ. This has again been linked to decreased levels of vitamin D during pregnancy over the winter months.

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