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What increases my risk for multiple sclerosis (MS)?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, more than 2.1 million people have multiple sclerosis (MS) around the world. The average person (someone who does not have a family history of MS or other risk factors) has about a 1 in 750 chance of developing MS; however, it affects around twice as many women as men. There is currently no cure.

This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com

Although no one is considered immune, factors such as gender, geography, ethnicity, family history and age can all affect your likelihood of developing multiple sclerosis (MS). Here is a list of risk factors associated with MS:

  • Caucasians of northern European decent are more likely to develop the disease than other ethnicities.
  • Men are less likely to have MS than women.
  • Warmer climates have less recorded instances of MS than cooler ones.
  • While MS is not passed directly down through families, you are more likely to develop it if a relative has it.
  • The common window for development and diagnosis is between the ages of 20 and 40.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.