5 years ago
The Hereditary Factor

Hi all!

So I’ve heard statistics about parent-child and sibling-sibling (especially twins) MS frequencies but does anyone have any personal experience with a more distant relation to MS?

I recently found out my aunt has had MS since the ’70s. We look identical, though obviously are not. She’s gone all these years with only 3 flares (just optic neuritis & numbness) and no treatment at all. I’m hoping my MS goes something like that (though I’ll probably take meds)! I wonder if there is any current research into how far the MS hereditary link reaches?

Add categories

Browse categories and add by clicking on them

You can remove current categories below by clicking the ‘x’.

There is research in this and they say auto-immune diseases can definitely be passed down and there is also about 50 or so common genes that are found in people with MS. My experience is that I have MS, my mother has lupus and other auto-immune diseases, my good friend in California has MS and his mother also has lupus. There is a definite corolation in genetics and auto-immune diseases but more research is ongoing about genetic factors in MS. They are also looking into looking at your genetic markers to try to determine which course of treatment will work best for you in hopes people don’t have to waste time on taking a drug that has less of a chance for working for them than other treatments. It’s still in early stages but advancements are rapidly evolving.

This is the part of this disease that scares me the most. I’m fine handling it, but the idea that I have increased the chance my kids will have it makes me crazy. I think about it often :/


I just read a study where they tracked people with MS and those with ALS trying to identify if those with relatives who had MS were more likely to develop ALS and vice versa and they found a definite correlation, with a large percentage of people with one or the other disease having had a relative with the opposite which, as already noted, indicates a definite link between diseases and genetic predisposition. Another interesting, possibly relevant theory has to do with blood groups. Apparently, those who are in the B blood group show a higher incidence of autoimmune disease whereas people in the A blood group are more likely to develop certain cancers etc. If this is true, then it would be interesting to find out if those relatives that had an autoimmune disease were of the same blood group as the relatives that also developed an autoimmune disease…


My grandmother had MS. I heard a lot about her and the fact that she had MS but never any real details. She died before I was born. I know that she was diagnosed very young (late teens) and that she probably had it a bit before that too. I also found out that she died at the age of 38 – so I am guessing that she had a very progressive form of the disease. She was also wheelchair bound for years before she died.
My mother has shown a few very minor symptoms over the years (no flare ups) and has one lesion in her lower back but was told she did NOT have MS.

My sister has psoriasis which is an autoimmune disease.
And my other grandma supposedly has Lupus – although we aren’t sure about that because the woman is a little…umm…off and we can’t ever really know whats real and what isn’t with her.

From what I have read there is a definite connection between genetics and autoimmune diseases. And they believe that if you have MS in your family that it may increase your chance of having it…but they know that it ISNT hereditary (meaning that it isn’t passed down from parent to child consistently).

@maggie It is interesting what you said about the blood groups and one being more likely to develop cancer and the other more likely to develop autoimmune diseases because I read that people with MS have a much lower risk of developing cancer…………interesting

No one in my family has ms or other autoimmune diseases. Actually, my grandpa on my mom’s side had Type 1 Diabetes (I heard that’s autoimmune, right?) He died of complications before I was born. So, I’m not sure where my genetic link comes from. I grew up mostly in Washington State, which has a high MS rate.

My aunt on my dads side had MS, she unfortunatly died the same year I was diagnosed, my mum and sister both have rhematoid arthritis, I love my gene pool.

I am really interested in this as well, I managed to contact professor George Eberts about this. If you google him there is plenty of research he has done on the subject. It’s really complicated way to complicated for my pea of a brain. I think though it does come down to genetics far more than previously thought. Vit D also plays a real important part. I try and get my children out in the sun as much as possible, which isn’t much with our abysmal summer here in England. They’ve also started taking a small amount of vitamin d tablets. I hope it will stop any horribleness happening to them.

Best wishes


What about alzheimers? I may be a bit naive suggesting it but it’s the only link in my family that I know of. My dad has it.

I have 6 cousins with MS (5 of them are sisters). I don’t know much about Alzheimer’s but my mom was just found out she has beginning stages of it

Hmm interesting topic. When I told my Dad he said “well no one in our family has MS. And I explained to him it wasn’t solely hereditary. Yet MY children now have a higher chance of getting it. :-(. But hmm some above comments make me wonder. My Dad has diabetes. And his Mom has Alzheimer’s. Yet my half sister, whom we have the same MOM and different Dad.. Is starting to show symptoms of MS which would lead me to believe if she does get diagnosed with MS that our link would be our mother. And nobody on my mothers side had anything health wise. Hmmmmm interesting

This is really interesting stuff! @Gav- I know how you feel! My dad’s sister has MS (has never been treated for it though) and that side of the family is prone to alcoholism and cancer. My mum’s side is alcoholism and heart disease. Joooooooy. 😛 All well! Hand me a drink, will you? 😛

I think it’s hard for some people to track MS in the family too because it’s such a bizarre disease. My grandparents, and their preceding generations, all believed you had to suck it up and deal with it because doctors and medical attention was so expensive (it hasn’t really changed TOO much there, has it?). Even though it’s been described as a medical condition for over a hundred years, I’m sure some in my family have had it before and just lacked a diagnosis or treatment.


Crazy stuff. My sis has RA and the research she’s done for family history suggests there has been more than one person with an autoimmune disease in the ancestry file. They had various names for what was happening to them, but the descriptions are spot-on. I also have one cousin with lupus and another cousin with MS-like symptoms, but she would rather not know.

Funny coming across this topic today!!! I was actually jumping on to ask the same question. I was diagnosed last year with ms after being in limbo for three years. I have not really had any problems-only attack was optic neuritis which brought the ms to light. But…last saturday, my mum came down with a terrible headache, vomiting etc. The following day her eyes seemed off-she just couldnt focus. This developed into double vision, and looking at her, her left eye was off centre. We got her to the doctors, which was a terrifying two days as there was talk of stroke. A CT was done, which showed there was no stroke, tumour etc. So, her and I are sitting in the doctors office getting the results. He said “so, we need to do an MRI to check for a possible demyelinating disease”. My ears pricked!!! He said, we are going to test you for MS!!! Mum and I burst out in laughter, because her an I had been joking about it previously that day. “Wouldn’t you die if they told me I had MS too” she said. SO, the doctor asked, “is there any history of MS…do yuor parents have MS”. He asked my Mum…ah no but i do i said!!! (This explained the laughter he was unsure about. Going to the doctors today for a check up as they prescribed her prednisolone. Awaiting MRI…to be continued!!!!

Wow @jessie! That is funny! I’d love to hear what the outcome is.

Well, eye specialist booked for next Tuesday…he will put a hurry up on the MRI (as they said they couldnt do it for two months!) As we all know, a diagnosis of MS can take years…but will certainly let you know the outcome of the MRI…

@artisus my dad and alcohol seem to be best friends, and not in the good way. I just put it down to him being from Scotland and being in the army for 30 years.

my aunt had ms and no one else in my family.

There are two other members of my family (not immediate)with MS and there are several other auto immune disorders. Now the drs think one of my daughters may have MS. The Drs and literature state that MS is not hereditary but also that they do not know what causes it. Common sense says that those two statements do not go together.

My family (we suspect with some of the issues we all have!!) are somewhat prone to auto-immune problems though I’m the only MSer. My mum has lost vision in 1 eye (can’t remember what the name of it is).

My concern is my children. In my mind I want to push my diet on them because I’m scared of what I’ve given them.

My father was diagnosed in 1984 with MS and I was diagnosed six months before he died in October of 2006. I have always wondered about the connection with genetics. It has been part of my decision to not have children. I feel like the information being put out to the public is that MS is not genetic, yet I can’t help but see so many examples of people who have MS in their family tree. @Gav, you are not alone, if I listed the negatives of my gene pool (and not just medical) it would take up a few pages…

When I got diagnosed my Dad said “but noone in our family has MS” so back then I did research. MS is not solely a hereditary disease. But with me having MS, it now can be hereditary as in my children have a higher chance of getting it. So as usual MS is so unknown

@hairstylist73 – my understanding is that your children would only have a 1-5% of having MS if you do.

There seems a hereditary component but….it’s a part of a big mix

I actually read its higher than that. But that was over 5 years ago when I read a lot. Now I am having so many cognitive issues I can’t even “read” like I used too. So I can’t say for sure what I read. Lol

@hairstylist73 – I’m going off of http://www.healthcentral.com/multiple-sclerosis/educationcenter/top-ten-myths-busted.html?ic=506011

“Multiple sclerosis is not classified as a hereditary disease, which means that you will not automatically pass it on to a child. There are studies, however, suggesting that children who have parents with MS may be more likely to develop the disease. Those who worry that their children will develop MS should know that the risk is actually very small: somewhere between 1% to 5%.”

So take that for what you think it’s worth 🙂

Gotta suck to have your brain tricks on you though… 🙁

Ty @ lightningduck 🙂 that has somewhat changed since last I read. But the MS news is always changing!!LOL and it also mentions the question I just posted about hormones and that they are exploring a hormone medication. :-).
On another irrelevant note I can tell you have spellcheck because my username is hairstylst without the “i”. But spell check spells it the right way. 😉

Oops on the spelling, @hairstylst73 🙂

Happy to help on the rest

No one in my family had ms but me, however my dad died from Parkinson’s in a short time he only had it for five years


Hey @lloyd, you might find what I researched and posted on my blog of interest given that your dad had Parkinson’s and your having MS… I can’t help but continue to wonder just how related these diseases are. http://primaryprogressivems.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/a-finger-in-every-pie.html

Good reading thank you Maggie.

I’m quite scared because I have it & my mum has it. We look the same whereas my sister looks like dad sand there is no history of it on his side so makes sense. My husbands mum & cousin had/have it so its on his side too. Neither my husband or his brother have it so, as my daughter looks like him, i’m hoping she won’t get it. It’s one of my biggest fears though. I wish there was a test.

I was diagnosed 6 years ago and my sister was 20 years ago. We have different dads so!!!!

My dad had MS, I lost him when he was only in his 40s. It terrifies me as I’m approaching the big 40 now with it too. I know things are completely different now but only natural I keep thinking about what went on in my childhood. I also had an uncle who had MS and a cousin who now has Parkinsons (all on my dads side of the family).

After much contemplating and research etc, I also now have 2 daughters. As much as the majority of the evidence assures me there is only a slight increased risk, I do sometimes feel selfish for having them when I think about the future (when I’m having a down day that is!).


Post Comment

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.