Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Is Multiple Sclerosis Genetic?

Multiple sclerosis has always shown to have a significant heritable component. However, evidence has been unable to prove that MS is a hereditary condition. This means that MS is not hereditary in a strict sense. Specialists have found that having first-degree relative suffering from this condition significantly raises the risk of developing MS, too.

Some studies have shown that there is a higher incidence of certain genes in people suffering from MS. In a family in which a parent suffers from multiple sclerosis, children have a risk of 2 to 5 percent higher in being diagnosed with this disease, as well. The risk grows when in the family there is more than one person who suffers from multiple sclerosis.

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This is why some researchers claim that MS is developed by some people and not others because a person is actually born with the predisposition to react to certain factors that cause the autoimmune disease. However, environmental and external factors play an important role, as well. Smoking and exposure to viral infections are just few of the most important such factors, which have been associated to the development of MS. Current studies are trying to identify the genes involved in this process.

Despite what patients may imagine at first, multiple sclerosis is not a fatal condition. In fact, the life-expectancy for MS patients is the same as the one of healthy individuals. Still, there are also studies which indicate that life-expectancy is reduced with about 7 years for MS patients. In most cases, multiple sclerosis develops no life-threatening complications.

People suffering from MS lose the function of certain nerves as time goes by, so they may also lose their body’s ability to function normally. Most patients are diagnosed with MS in their mid 20s to late 30s. The condition is more common in women than in men. The cause of MS has not been established by doctors, who cannot know what really causes multiple sclerosis.

With the use of the right treatment plan, patients can manage multiple sclerosis easier. Treatment aims to stop the progress of this disease, but also to reduce the severity of the symptoms felt by patients.


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