Dietitians and Multiple Sclerosis
June 26, 2012
Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.) is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord (PubMed Health, 2012). Approximately 250,000 to 350,000 people have been diagnosed with M.S. in the United States (Schoenstadt, 2006). Every week, 200 new people are diagnosed with M.S. in our country (National MS Society, n.d.). M.S. can affect each person differently. Damage to the myelin in the Central Nervous System and nerve fibers disturb the signals sent between the brain and spinal cord to other parts of the body causing the primary symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (National MS Society, n.d.)Symptoms can come and go without any warning. An idea on how to help people suffering from M.S. is to have a dietitian either come to an M.S. housing building or support group, and introduce a healthy, nutritious diet that will help decrease the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. There are many diets out there that can help reduce symptoms and weight. Using a dietitian to introduce a healthy diet to those with M.S. can be very beneficial because it can decrease their pain and exacerbations, and improve the quality of their lives.
There are four different types of M.S. that people can have. They are relapsing- remitting (RRMS), secondary progressive (SPMS), primary progressive (PPMS) and progressive-relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (PRMS) (National MS Society, n.d.). RRMS is when patients have relapses followed by periods of recovery (Mayo Clinic, 2012). SPMS occurs when there are relapses and partial recoveries, but the disability progressively gets worse until a steady progression of disability replaces cycles of exacerbations (Mayo Clinic, 2012). PPMS is when the disease progresses slowly and steadily from start with no periods of remissions (Mayo Clinic, 2012). Finally, PRMS is a rare type of M.S. where people experience both steadily worsening symptoms and attacks during times of remission (Mayo Clinic, 2012). To people who have Multiple Sclerosis, being diagnosed with any one of these types can be depressing. People with Multiple Sclerosis often suffer with extreme pain. My Mom has been living with M.S. for over 15 years now and she struggles with severe back pain every day. She is currently seeing a pain management doctor to help relieve some of her pain. M.S. patients can have pain in two different areas, which are neuropathic and musculoskeletal. Neuropathic pain is caused by the disruption in how the nerves carry messages within the brain and spinal cord (Multiple Sclerosis Trust, 2012).Musculoskeletal pain is from damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissue (Multiple Sclerosis Trust, 2012).Even with the use of pain medication, the pain associated with M.S. can be very hard to deal with. There are certain foods that can reduce inflammation and pain in people who have M.S. Anything that can lessen or stop the use of pain medication would be valuable to patients.
Multiple Sclerosis affects a person’s brain and spinal cord causing a variety of troubling symptoms. The most common symptoms of M.S. are pain, fatigue, numbness, poor motor skills and vision problems. There are also many other symptoms that can trouble those who suffer from M.S. Other common symptoms are trouble walking, bladder, bowel dysfunction, dizziness, depression, and spasticity. Through diet and exercise, people with M.S. can improve some of those problems and lead a healthier, more productive life. A dietitian can help them focus on the foods and exercises that will eliminate or reduce the symptoms that bother them the most. M.S. patients struggle their whole lives dealing with exacerbations. They never know when one will come and how long it will last for. During an exacerbation, a lot of different problems can occur. An exacerbation is a relapse or flare up of Multiple Sclerosis symptoms. It can bring on new symptoms or...
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