Why Do I Have MS? Understanding Multiple Sclerosis Risk Factors

By Beth W. Orenstein
Reviewed by Dana Cooper, M.D.
October 07, 2022

If you’ve been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), you might be wondering, “Why me?” The answer isn’t simple, but experts agree you’re not to blame.

That’s because there isn’t a single known cause of multiple sclerosis, though an increased risk of developing MS has been associated with several factors. “MS seems to arrive due to a confluence of circumstances—a perfect storm, if you will,” says Meghan Beier, Ph.D., a board-certified rehabilitation neuropsychologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine, in Baltimore.

And while some environmental and lifestyle factors can contribute to your overall risk for MS, rest assured it’s not something you brought on yourself with your behavior, Beier says.