When you look at the facts, multiple sclerosis in men happens at a ratio of about 1:2, or one male to two women. In my immediate family, there are more men than women who have MS, which seems to make this fact a little out of the ordinary. My husband and two of my brothers have MS.
Also, who do we know that is famous and has MS? Montel Williams and Richard Pryor to name just a couple. I know that doesn't prove anything, but I just thought I'd throw that out there. And they aren't really in my life, but they are and were well known.
It is true, though, that when I look at all of the people I've come in contact with who have MS, the statistic holds true – there are more women than men. More often than not, women are the ones who develop other autoimmune diseases as well.
Another interesting fact is that you are more likely to develop the condition if your father has it than if your mother has MS. This may be due to the fact that more genetic factors have to be present in the male for him to develop MS. In turn, he might be more likely to pass these on to his children.
Even with that said, multiple sclerosis is not really genetic, though as we mentioned above, there is a genetic component. If you have a family member with this condition, there may be more of a chance that you or another family member may develop it or some other autoimmune disease.
Multiple sclerosis in men is more likely to cause greater disability than in women. This may be due to the fact that men are more likely to develop Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis – one of the more rare forms of the disease. PPMS effects about 10 to 15% of those who have MS. Fortunately, Cir started out with RRMS or Relapsing-Remitting MS and now has Secondary Progressive MS or SPMS.
PPMS is characterized by a continuous progression of the disease from the very beginning. In this form of MS there are usually no relapses or remissions. So, when disability occurs during an exacerbation, it stays with the person. There may be a leveling out of the disease at times, but it rarely “gets better”.
Also, most times the disease activity or lesions, in this form of MS are found in the spine rather than the brain. This may be the reason for men having more mobility, bowel, and bladder problems, as well. If you have PPMS, you may not even have very many lesions. The position of those lesions, however, may be the reason for the increased disability in those who have it.
Read more about Multiple Sclerosis in Men Part 2