Random Health Fact:

Natural Remedies: Multiple Sclerosis

What is it?

Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which an overzealous immune system turns against itself and eats away or creates (lesions) in the Myelin sheath that protects the brain and spinal cord. It is a degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system, the brain, the optic nerve and the spinal cord. The name Multiple Sclerosis literally means multiple lesions, and it is these lesions that prevent signals from the body from getting to the brain the lesions are caused by the disintegration of the myelin and the lesion that forms around the area. These lesions distort or stop the messages from reaching the brain, causing balance problems, eye problems, bladder problems, and may produce slurred speech or a loss in vision and or loss of the ability to walk. The disease can either be chronic progressive or relapsing remitting; relapsing remitting is exactly what it sounds like, symptoms appear and disappear. The period of remission can last for years before another exacerbation occurs. Sometimes people are in wheelchairs within a year of diagnosis, (usually due to progressive disease), or a slow decline can occur over several decades. Stress and heat are two of the known factors that can bring about an attack, so it is best that a person with MS try to stay calm and cool, perhaps even finding a psychologist who can help them accept the disease path and learn how to manage their disease and symptoms.

No one understands exactly what causes MS. It used to be thought that this did not happen to young people. We know that MS usually DOES strike between the ages of 25-40. Some of the previous theories have been that MS is caused by rubella that mutates in the body, or perhaps from Mercury poisoning from the fillings that were used in the 1950's as they bind to DNA cells and cell membranes. MS patients have been found to have higher levels of Mercury than those who do not have MS. Some other theories include diet as MS is fairly common in the united States and Europe, but is almost unheard of in Japan, Korea, and China. The diets of Westerners (alcohol, saturated fats and cholesterol) all lead to the production of prostaglandin2 which increases the inflammatory response and makes MS worse. People in Asian countries also tend to consume much more Omega-3 fish oil and seeds and fruits, all of which have an inhibitory effect on the inflammatory response of the body. Another key clue is that many MS patients tend to report a decrease in symptoms, and overall a general better feeling during pregnancy, a time when a woman's immune system is naturally turned down by the body in order to carry and nurture the foreign fetus in it's body for 9 months. Another curious fact is that MS tends to strike people much more often who live along the 37th parallel that exists all across the Untied States from East to West coast.

Diagnosis is very tricky as the symptoms can also indicate many other problems. One sure way is to do and MRI study of the spine and brain to look for the telltale lesions that go along with the disease.

Is there a Cure?

Perhaps one day with the advent of embryonic stem cell research, but for now it is about maintaining the health you do have and avoiding setting off any exacerbations. Diet is thought to help some and it .is best to eat all organic foods with no chemicals as the true trigger of MS is not yet known. Eat plenty of dark leafy vegetables for the vitamin K.

Coenzyme Q10 helps to support the immune system. Valerian root will help to prevent insomnia, regular visits to your urologist can help prevent bladder and kidney trouble. Eat plenty of pickles, alfalfa sprouts. Stay away from chocolate, alcohol, coffee, barley, meat, wheat or processed foods. Take a fiber supplement to avoid constipation that often happens to MS patients, as well as saturated fats, oils that have been subjected to heat. Lastly have yourself checked for food allergies who some believe are responsible for the development and progression of MS. Last but not least AVOID STRESS and ANXIETY or exposure to heat or hot baths or showers. Be sure to get regular massages to keep you muscles pliable and working and exercise regularly. IF you feel an attack coming on take 2 days of complete bed rest in an attempt to ward off a full blown attack, it often works. If all else fails there is medicine such as beta and alpha interferon, and copaxone, but they have some side effects such as depression or flu like symptoms. Last but not least corticosteroids or anti-rejection drugs can be used to stop a severe episode, but they too have side effects.

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