5 Traits Linked to a Higher Risk of Multiple Sclerosis

Mystery surrounds the development of Multiple Sclerosis.

Even experts are stumped by multiple sclerosis (MS), the tricky autoimmune disease that affects women two to three times more often than men. There's no diagnostic test for the disease to add to the confusion. Also, one patient can experience wildly different symptoms from another depending on the part of the central nervous system that is under attack from the disease.

What experts do know is that MS occurs when the body starts to attack its own central nervous system, and certain factors can raise one's risk of developing the disease.

Watch the video to learn about the five traits that might raise your risk of MS.

Don't have time to watch? Read the full transcript:

MS Risk Factors

Smoking:

Smokers and ex-smokers are more likely to get multiple sclerosis than people who never smoked. The more cigarettes you've had in your lifetime, the greater your chances of a diagnosis.

Age:

You can be diagnosed with MS at almost any time and at any age. However, it's most likely to strike between the ages of 20 to 50.

Low vitamin D:

Our bodies produce vitamin D in response to sunlight. So, people who live closer to the earth's poles or seldom go outdoors are more likely to get MS than those who live closer to the equator or spend time soaking in some sunlight.

Other Autoimmune Conditions:

Autoimmune diseases tend to cluster together. So, if you have one autoimmune disease, you are at a greater risk of developing others.

Gender:

The disease is much more common in women, research shows.

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