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Prevalence and Causes of Multiple Sclerosis

Studies show that MS is the result of a number of factors rather than a single factor. Most likely, genetics plays a role in determining a person's susceptibility to MS. The disease is not entirely genetically controlled, although first-degree relatives of individuals with MS have an increased risk of developing the disease. Exposure to environmental factors, such as a virus, UV radiation and season of birth, levels of dietary vitamin D, Epstein-Barr virus(EBV) infection, smoking and other factors may also help play a role. The specific factors have not yet been identified.8

More than 100,000 people in the UK have MS. Symptoms usually start in your 20s and 30s and it affects almost three times as many women as men. The MS Society estimates that there are approximately 107,000 people with MS in the UK, and that each year 5,000 people are newly diagnosed with the condition.This means that around one in every 600 people in the UK has MS, and that each week, 100 people are diagnosed with MS.10

MS is more common among Caucasians (particularly those of northern European ancestry) than other races. In certain populations, an antigen marker has been linked to MS. It is called human leucocyte antigen DRB1 (HLA-DRB1) and is found more frequently in people with MS than in those who do not have the disease.5,8

Please note that this information provided by BARD Medical is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a medical professional.  Information is as of 12/2014. Please check references for updated information.


  1. Neurogenic Bladder: When Nerve Damage Causes Bladder Problems – Urology Care Foundation: (2014)
  2. Multiple Sclerosis: National Institutes of Health (9/2012):
  3. National Association for Continence – Seeking Treatment (2014):
  4. Managing Progressive MS – National Multiple Sclerosis Society(10/2013):
  5. Cleveland Clinic, Diseases and Conditions – Neurogenic Bladder (11/2012),
  6. Sauerwein D. Urinary tract infections in patients with Neurogenic bladder dysfunction, Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2002 Jun; 19(6):592-7.
  7. J Kesselring, G. Combi, A Thompson, Multiple Sclerosis , Recovery of Function and Neurorehabitation, Cambridge University Press 2010
  8. O Malik, A Donnelly, M Barnett; Fast Facts: Multiple Sclerosis, Health Press, Oxford UK, 2014
  9. D Newman, M Williams,; Review Intermittent Catherization and Current Best Practices, Urologic Nursing, Jan-Feb 2011, Volume 31, Number 1