Multiple sclerosis is a potentially disabling condition of the brain and spinal cord, wherein the immune system attacks the protective sheath that covers the nerve fibers. This issue causes communication problems between the brain and other body parts, leading to permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves. Signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis differ from one person to another over the course of the disease and the location of the affected nerve fibers.
There are quite a few common signs of multiple sclerosis, some of them include
- Numbness or weakness in the limbs
- Shocking sensations with certain neck movements
- Tremors and unsteady gait
- Partial or complete loss of vision
- Prolonged double vision
- Blurry vision
- Slurred speech
- Tingling or pain in some parts of the body
The following factors are known to have quite a major role as far as the development of multiple sclerosis is concerned:
Such a condition can occur at any age, but the onset usually begins between the ages of 20 and 40.
Women are more likely to develop relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis compared to men.
- Family history
Those with an immediate relative who has such a condition have a much higher chance of being diagnosed too.
Infections caused by the Epstein-Barr virus have been linked to the development of multiple sclerosis.
Caucasians, particularly those of European descent, are most likely to develop multiple sclerosis compared to other races. Those of Asian, African, or Native American descent are known to have the lowest likelihood.
As far as geographical regions are concerned, the climates in countries like Canada, the northern United States, New Zealand, southeastern Australia, and parts of Europe play a big role in increasing one’s risk of this condition.
- Vitamin D
Low exposure to sunlight is associated with higher susceptibility to developing multiple sclerosis.
- Autoimmune diseases
People with autoimmune disorders like thyroid disease, pernicious anemia, psoriasis, type-1 diabetes, or inflammatory bowel disease have a higher risk.
Foods to avoid
Managing multiple sclerosis can be quite a tiresome ordeal. While there aren’t clear guidelines outlined for dealing with this condition, Here are four foods to avoid for better management:
- Saturated fats
Saturated fats have been linked to inflammation and are known to increase bad cholesterol levels. High cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis, which raises a person’s risk of cardiac issues. Studies have shown that conditions like hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases can worsen multiple sclerosis, so it is best to avoid saturated fats. This compound is commonly found in palm and coconut oils, red meat, and full-fat dairy.
- Trans fats
These fats increase the inflammation inside the blood vessels, which could lead to cardiovascular diseases. Trans fats can be found in commercially baked cookies, crackers, pies, and other packaged products. Look for the ingredients “partially hydrogenated oil” and “shortening” on nutrition labels to stay clear of trans fats.
Sodium, in excess, can increase blood pressure and the risk of hypertension, which is known to detrimentally affect those with multiple sclerosis. The American Heart Association suggests limiting daily sodium intake to 2300 mg for heart-healthy people or 1500 mg for people with heart concerns.
- Refined carbs
White rice and bread and cold breakfast cereals can elevate blood sugar levels and harm heart health. Instead, switch to healthier options like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Even though there are no clear guidelines for people with multiple sclerosis regarding their food and nutrition, experts recommend preparing and eating wholesome meals at home and Incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables. When picking grains, choose whole grains over their refined counterparts. Furthermore, limit processed foods and added sugars as much as possible.
Those with multiple sclerosis can also benefit from foods like turmeric, ginger, insoluble fibers like prunes, green tea, dairy alternatives like almond or soy milk & milk products, fatty fish like herring, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and salmon, and lean proteins like skinless chicken, beans, and lentils.