Smoking Increases Your Risk of Multiple Sclerosis

Smoking may increase the risk of multiple sclerosis in people who have other risk factors for the neurological disorder.

The findings suggest that smokers who have high levels of a protein that protects against the Epstein-Barr virus, a common herpes virus, were twice as likely as nonsmokers to get multiple sclerosis (MS). Previous studies have suggested that smoking and the virus-fighting protein were independent risk factors, and this research looked at how they may be associated with each other.

MS is an incurable condition that affects more than 1 million people worldwide. The disease can cause mild symptoms in some people and permanent disability in others. Symptoms may include numbness or weakness in one or more limbs, partial or complete loss of vision, tingling or pain, electric-shock sensation with certain head movements, tremors and an unsteady gait.

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