Are You at Risk of Developing Multiple Sclerosis? - Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

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Published on May 18, 2015

Are You at Risk of Developing Multiple Sclerosis?

The Geographic Connection

In areas near the equator, MS occurs in fewer than one out of 100,000 people. In areas farther from the equator; such as northern North America, MS occurs in around 30 to 80 out of 100,000 people. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a well-known type of autoimmune disease. The number of people who have MS increases the farther away they live from the equator, in places like Wisconsin.

Dr. Bhupendra Khatri, Medical Director of the Center for Neurological Disorders at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare – St. Francis, says that this unusual relationship between geographic location and MS suggests that an environmental factor is partly responsible for causing the disease.

The Hormonal Connection

“We know there is a hormonal connection as well," Dr. Khatri says. "Almost four times as many women during their child-bearing years are affected by MS when compared to men, but before puberty and after menopause the number of men and women affected is about the same.”

The Genetic Connection

The average person in the United States has about one chance in 750 of developing MS, but a person with a parent or sibling with the disease sees their chances increase to 1 in 40. A person with an identical twin with MS has a 1 in 4 chance of developing the disease.

The Vitamin Connection

Research is increasingly pointing to a reduced level of vitamin D in the blood as a risk factor for developing MS, and multiple studies are underway to determine if vitamin D levels influence MS disease activity. Dr. Khatri recommends anyone with MS have their vitamin D levels checked.

The Future

While autoimmune disorders like MS are on the rise, physicians are getting better at diagnosing and treating these diseases earlier than ever. Researchers are working on finding the causes and coming up with new medicines and therapies.

Dr. Khatri tells his patients, “The future looks very promising, there is hope, and light is now visible at the end of the tunnel. Meanwhile, exercise, eat healthy, and stay positive, so you’re ahead of the game when the cure is finally here.”

Learn about the comprehensive MS care available through our Center for Neurological Disorders at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - St. Francis.

Cutting Edge MS Research

Cutting Edge MS Research at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - St. Francis



Are You at Risk of Developing Multiple Sclerosis?