Is multiple sclerosis hereditary?

Is multiple sclerosis hereditary?

When you find out you have the condition, you may wonder – is multiple sclerosis hereditary? You may already have children and worry if they too will develop MS. Or perhaps you are planning children in the future.

For multiple sclerosis (MS) to be hereditary, it would have to be passed down through the generations in the way other inherited diseases are, and this is not the case.

It’s a complicated subject because there is a genetic component to multiple sclerosis, and this may mean it’s a combination of certain genes that make people more susceptible. This means that family members of someone diagnosed with MS have slightly greater risk of developing MS themselves.

Is MS genetic?

Although MS isn’t hereditary, in children of people with MS, it is thought there is a genetic susceptibility towards developing MS in the future. But many factors can affect whether they get MS, including known environmental triggers such as the Epstein-Barr virus or smoking cigarettes.

For a child of a person with MS, the chance of that child developing MS in the future is 1 in 48, or less than two per cent over that child’s lifetime.