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Is multiple sclerosis (MS) a hereditary disorder?

Q: I am a 26 years old female. Whenever I sit for a while, especially cross-legged, I limp for a few minutes when I stand up and try to walk. I do not have any pain at all. My legs just do not support me. I am not over-weight but do have a family history of multiple sclerosis (MS), which I have been told is not hereditary. Is it true? I though perhaps it may be due to poor blood circulation. Please put some light on my problem.

A:If you have difficulty in standing and walking without pain, you definitely need to be seen by a Neurologist. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can present very insidiously or can present dramatically. There is no clarity on the exact cause of MS but there are clustering patterns and also there is some genetic susceptibility. First, second and third degree relatives of MS patients have a higher risk for the disease. The lifetime risk is reportedly 2-5% among brothers and sisters. Circulatory problems are always associated with pain. Neurological problems on the other hand may not have any associated pain. Some muscle diseases also present like this. It is therefore important to do a careful neuromuscular evaluation before any diagnosis can be made. From the brief history that you have given me it is difficult for me to arrive at a diagnosis. I would recommend you to get yourself examine by a neurologist as early as possible.

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