Our Nurses > Ask a Nurse > Turn worrying into learning when it comes to MS running in families
Turn worrying into learning when it comes to MS running in families
June 9, 2015
My older sister was diagnosed with relapsing MS about six months ago. Frankly, I just don't know much about MS—but I'm learning! It seems like these days I keep hearing that certain conditions run in families. So I'm worried that I'm next. Plus, I have three little ones. What about them? Is MS hereditary?
– Worried I Might Get MS
Nurse Elaine replies:
I can see that this might be scary for you. But try to not let this dominate your thinking. First of all, share this concern with your own healthcare provider. It also might make you feel better to learn more about the theories of what causes MS. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has a simple overview of the topic.
There is some evidence that MS has a genetic component, meaning it's related to your genes. Experts say that 15 percent of people with MS have a relative with MS. And while there is some indication that MS runs in families, this does not mean that you or your children will be diagnosed with MS.
I would say do your best not to live a life of worry. No one can forecast the future, and it's simply not productive. It may make you feel better to talk with your sister's neurologist. So perhaps tag along to her appointment, be her advocate, and then ask your own questions.
If you can, try to transfer the energy you're putting into worrying into being an active supporter of your sister. Your worry may actually be a feeling of helplessness regarding your sister. So maybe think of a new way to help and be as supportive as possible? Who knows, it might make you both feel more at ease.
— Nurse Elaine, MS One to One® Nurse
Helping since 2012