I have a question that I cannot find the answer to. Both my parents have been diagnosed with MS within the last ten years. I know mt chances are the same as anyone else to get it but what about my kids?
I'm not an expert, but I found an answer to a similar question and shared it recently. I found a study that claims that there is about a 1 in 100 chance that a child of someone with MS will develop the disease. There's about a 1 in 750 chance that someone with no known relatives with MS will develop the disease. I couldn't find any figures for grandchildren of those with MS, or what the odds might be with two parents/grandparents having the disease.
There seem to be gender, ethnic, and geographic factors that play a role in all this too. Women display symptoms of MS much more than men, people of Northern European ancestry are more prone to it, and the further people live from the equator the more likely they are to have it. In North America MS is more prevalent in Canada and the states of North Dakota, Montana, and Minnesota.
No one really knows what causes MS, and these statistics may just be coincidences, so I would say try not too worry about it too much. It might be interesting to take a poll on this site to see if there's any kind of pattern as far as heredity, race/ethnicity, gender, or geography within our group.
The question of increased risk in siblings, children, or grandchildren of those who have MS is one which comes up regularly. The following is part of an answer I gave to someone who was concerned about a grandchild's risk......
The direct cause of MS is unknown and there are many theories involving viral exposure, environmental factors, and hereditary markers.
Just two years ago, the NMSS stated that the average person in the US has a 1 in 750 chance of developing MS. If the same person has a parent with MS, the risk increases to about 1 in 40. It was not stated what the risk was for a person with a grandparent with MS.
I remember reading that about 5% of people with MS have a brother or sister who is affected and about 15% have a close relative who is affected. So it does seem that heredity plays a role, but it also means that 85% of people with MS have no close relatives who are similarly affected.
There is important research ongoing which seeks to identify genes and genetic markers which help to regulate the immune system. Just one year ago, researchers part of the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium announced that they had uncovered new genetic variations associated with MS.
However, even the lead researcher pointed out that "in MS, each gene contributes only a small amount of risk. The big question is, how do they interact with each other, and are they in common pathways?"
I find this research very interesting for a similar reason for your question. I have one first-degree relative with an autoimmune disease (not MS) and she has three siblings who have developed other autoimmune diseases. I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis and am told that two of my great-grandmothers had RA.
Personally, I do believe there must be a genetic factor which contributes to the susceptibility of developing an autoimmune disease. But as heredity is not the only factor, it is hard to predict with accuracy what anyone's risk is.
I do wish you the best. I hope this helps.
My mother had MS shebattled for19 years also my ex husband's mother also has MS and she has had it for even longer. we have three beautiful girls and I am trying to figure out if we just gave them a double dose of the genes? It scares me and I would like to prepare myself if possible
Sounds like both you and your exhusband have been touched by MS in a very personal way. It is difficult to watch parents live with a progressive disease such as MS and not wonder if it might happen to you or your children.
The exact cause of MS is still unclear. There is research which points to some specific genetic factors. However, genetics is not the only contributing factor. The best thing you could probably do for your children is to teach them how to live a healthy life. Eat good nutritional food, stay active, don't smoke, maintain a healthy body weight and stay strong.
Let them know that if they do experience strange symptoms (such as vision problems or numbness/tingling) that they should let you know. If symptoms do occur, be sure to inform the neurologist of the family connection to MS.
MS is one of those things which must be dealt with when it happens, but not something to worry about until it does. Also, be sure to take care of yourself and report any unusual symptoms you may experience as well. Your risk of developing MS may be greater than your children's (but I don't know that for certain as a layperson).
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