What Causes Multiple Sclerosis?
Factors That Could Lead To A Cause For Multiple Sclerosis
Whether you know someone that has it, you have it, or you have just heard of it, you may be wondering what causes multiple sclerosis. The exact cause of multiple sclerosis, or MS, is unknown, but doctors do believe that there are four different things could be a factor in a person developing MS. Studies are currently on-going in order to try and get to the cause. Once a cause has been determined, it could speed up the process of finding the best ways to treat it and possibly cure it.
Factors of Genetics
Heredity is not a factor in MS, but having a relative that is a parent or a sibling that has MS has shown to be a risk for developing the disease. When there is a family that has more than one person in it that has MS, some common genetic factors have been found.
Some researchers believe that there are people that are born with a certain type of gene that will react with things in the environment and cause them to develop the disease. If these people come in contact with the factors in the environment, the disease will form, but if they never come in contact with the environmental factors, they may not form the disease.
Factors of the Environment
In the research that has been completed, it has been discovered that MS happens more often in people that live further away from the equator. At this time, it is not understood why, but further research is being done on where people live, their ages, gender, ethnic background, genetics, if people have moved, and any type of infectious causes in order to try and understand it. Studies have been done that show if a person lives in an area that has a higher risk of developing MS but moves to an area that has a lower risk before they are 15, they will then have the lower risk of developing MS.
There is evidence that vitamin D may play a role in reducing the risk of developing MS, which would be why those closer to the equator are less likely to get it. People closer to the equator have greater amounts of sunshine which is where they would get the additional vitamin D.
Evidence has also shown that a smoker has an increased risk of developing MS and that the disease will more rapidly progress. Researchers are not yet sure why, but it also appears that if a smoker with the disease quits smoking, the progression will slow down.
Factors of the Immune System
MS is a disease that is caused by damage to the protective covering, or myelin coating, of the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. This damage is caused by immune cells with the person’s body attacking the nerve covering. Researchers have recently been able to determine which cells in the immune system are going to attack and some of the things that will cause these cells to attack. The continued efforts to learn more about the immune systems part in MS will help to determine the cause.
Factors of Infectious Agents or Viruses
It is well known that people become exposed to a number of viruses and bacteria starting when they are children. Researchers also know that the protective covering of the nerves can be damaged and inflammation occurs due to viruses. So there is a possibility that some type of virus could be a factor in a person developing MS. Additional studies are being done on this.