What are the causes of MS?

Although MS is not necessarily a common illness, there are quite a few ways that can cause it. There is actually no single cause of MS, and studies have consistently found highly complex interactions between genetics, environment and lifestyle factors to be responsible for the onset of MS.

How should you know what to be wary of, if this is the case? Thankfully, there are a few concrete things you should learn to be aware of to potentially minimise the development of MS. In this article, we take a look at a few causes of MS you might not be aware of.

Staying aware of these contributors

MS, or multiple sclerosis, can be caused by a wide variety of things, which makes it especially difficult to diagnose. Genetics is the first of these, and a cause that is not exactly easy to suppress. Several genes are responsible for the development of MS, but they will rarely cause MS by themselves and instead will contribute to some degree depending on environmental factors. Infections have been linked to the development of MS, including Epstein-Barr virus, and even more interestingly, the geographical location of individuals.

Studies have found that people who live further from the equator are more likely to develop MS – it is thought that this might be related to exposure to ultraviolent light, but no concrete tests have found conclusive results. Instead, studies have conclusively found that low levels of vitamin D contribute to the development of MS, and low levels of this vitamin were also found to keep impacting people already diagnosed with MS. Finally, smoking has been found to be a consistent cause, whether it be a primary or secondary exposure – cigarette smoke was found to double the likelihood of someone developing MS.

The tests used to diagnose MS

There are a few ways that MS can be detected, and which one you choose to pursue will often be based on the recommendations of a medical specialist. For starters, you may want to arrange to get a blood test, as this is highly useful in eliminating other causes of your condition and symptoms. To find out if you actually have MS, one of the best ways to do this is to get a neurological examination, which is a test designed to measure the speed at which messages travel along the nerve pathways in your central nervous system. It is also possible to get an MRI, which is useful in helping doctors find scarring (either plaques or lesions) in your brain and spinal cord that might be signs of MS. It is also possible for a lumbar puncture, which is designed to allow for testing of cerebrospinal fluid (CFS). This form of examination is often used to support MRI findings in order to further rule out other diseases.

Get tested as soon as possible

Considering the wide variety of ways that MS can develop, and the time it takes for tests to rule out or support evidence of MS, it is best to see a GP as soon as you start experiencing concerning such medical symptoms. This is highly useful in helping patients achieve the best possible outcomes for their MS, as treatment and goals can be introduced as soon as possible to better manage the long-term issues associated with MS.