Syracuse (WSYR-TV/ABC) – Multiple sclerosis is a disease that continues to baffle medical experts.
What sets off the process is unknown, but it’s thought to be combination of genes and environment.
There are also some surprising risk factors that could increase your chances of developing the auto-immune disease.
Gender is among those factors. Millions of men have MS, but it disproportionately strikes women.
Even though women are more likely to develop MS, the disease tends to be more severe in men.
Where you live may also impact your chances. The farther you are from the equator, the bigger your risk. Doctors think the culprit is likely a lack of Vitamin D.
Your mother’s Vitamin D levels during pregnancy may also play a role. Researchers found spring babies that are at a 9 percent risk for MS, while those born in November had an 11 percent lower risk.
Finally, there’s a growing body of evidence that the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes Mono, could trigger MS.
A journal of the American Medical Association found higher levels of EBV antibodies in people with MS.
While no cause and effect has been established, researchers do believe a relationship between the two is present.