Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition, which occurs when the body wrongly identifies healthy cells as foreign cells, causing the immune system to attack that part of the body.

In the case of MS, the myelin sheath of the brain and spinal cord is attacked. The myelin sheath is the insulating coating of nerves which facilitates the transfer of messages throughout the body. Attacks to the myelin sheath slow or block the transfer of information via nerves.

This can affect vision, motor skills like walking, physical sensation, balance, memory and thinking.

MS is a lifelong condition and can vary from mild to serious. It can shorten your lifespan by around 7 years, but is rarely fatal.

There are some factors which can aggravate symptoms, or cause a relapse. If you have MS, it’s important to get tested for these risk factors, which otherwise may affect your condition.

Fatigue is a major symptom of MS.

Motor problems like difficulty walking, twitching, muscle stiffness, spasms, tingling and numbness in the body. Balance and co-ordination are also often affected.

Around half of people with MS have an inflamed optic nerve at some point. This can cause blurred vision and pain when moving your eyes.

Cognitive issues are also common. Thinking, learning, planning and finding the right word (dysphasia) can be difficult.

Bladder control may be affected.

Symptoms like these may have unrelated causes. If you haven’t been diagnosed with MS, but recognise some of these symptoms, it’s important to get checked out.

There are two types of MS: relapse remitting MS and primary progressive MS.

According to the NHS, relapse remitting MS affects between 8 and 9 people out of 10 with MS. If you have this type, you will experience a phase of new or worsening symptoms, followed by a period of improvement. Relapses may occur without a clear trigger, but sometimes stress or illness will prompt a relapse.

Primary progressive MS manifests as symptoms which worsen over time, though there may be periods when the condition appears to improve.

It’s not known what causes MS, but there are risk factors which increase your risk of MS.

Women are 2-3 times more likely to develop MS. They commonly develop the condition between their 20s and 40s, but it can develop at any time.

If one of your immediate family members has MS, you’re more at risk.

Infections, particularly the Epstein-Barr virus have been linked to MS.

White people are more at risk for developing MS, as are people who live in milder climates, like the US, Canada New Zealand, and Europe.

Low vitamin D levels also contribute to risk. Having a spring birthday has been correlated to MS – it’s theorised this is because pregnant mothers don’t have enough sun exposure in the last months of pregnancy.

Smoking and obesity (particularly in childhood and adolescence) have been linked to MS.

Childhood trauma is another factor suggested to contribute.

Certain factors can worsen symptoms – deficiencies, oxidative stress, pollution and allergies. These can be tested to assess what could be causing a relapse or progression of symptoms.

Insufficient levels of certain nutrients, like vitamin B12 can manifest as symptoms of MS like difficulty walking or weakness in the muscles.

Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to worsening of MS symptoms.

When it comes to nutritional imbalances, it’s best to test, not guess. Our tests can identify imbalances, whether you have MS, or are experiencing symptoms similar to those of MS.

Our naturopaths can also test for toxin levels from pollution, allergies and food intolerances; all of which can influence a relapse or worsening of symptoms.

What’s next?

Simply call +852 2523 7121, or connect with us below, and we'll be in touch shortly.

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