You or a loved one may have recently been diagnosed, or based on the cascade of symptoms that you or they are struggling with, you’re wondering if these are positive signs and symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
So, what is MS and how do you get it?
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable autoimmune disease of the central nervous system which has the potential to disrupt the flow of information within the brain, and the body. There is no known specific cause for MS. There are currently four subgroups within MS – Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS), Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS), Primary Progressive MS (PPMS) and Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS). Sometimes it may take years of living with a variety of symptoms before a clinical diagnosis is made.
According to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, “researchers have studied a variety of possible causes for multiple sclerosis (MS), and a combination of factors appears to be involved. A popular theory looks at commonly known slow-acting viruses (one that could remain dormant for many years), such as measles, herpes, human T-cell lymphoma, and Epstein-Barr. After being exposed to one of these viruses, some researchers theorize that MS may develop in genetically susceptible people. Nutritional factors, including fat intake, as well as deficiencies in fish oil and vitamin D, may be contributing factors. The idea that a diet rich in saturated fat may increase one’s risk of getting MS, as well as worsen his or her disease course, has been a popular theory for several decades.”
Studies have also shown that the cerebral spinal fluid is abnormal in 55% of persons with an MS diagnosis.
Another study has suggested that environmental toxins may have triggered antibody reactions that cross-react with myelin.
Currently the standard criteria for diagnosis used by a medical provider is to use several strategies to determine if you meet the MS diagnostic criteria. In order to make a diagnosis of MS, the physician must:
- Find evidence of damage in at least two separate areas of the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves AND
- Find evidence that the damage occurred at different points in time AND
- Rule out all other possible diagnoses.
- These often require using MRI Diagnostic Tests
The number of people living with MS grows each year, but the total number of cases is only an estimate because there is no registry available to track new cases.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, white people of European descent are the most likely to be diagnosed with MS. However, more recent data has shown that Black women have a higher risk of developing MS than researchers originally thought.
If you have been diagnosed with MS, although there is no cure, it’s time to start exploring treatment options. You can live well with this disease. A big part of that is working with your integrative healthcare provider to find the treatment regimen that’s customized, and best for you.
An Integrative Approach to your wellness care
In addition to medication — to prevent flares, manage symptoms, and help you feel more in control of this unpredictable disease, there are several treatment options to support leading a life of vitality and joy. Dr Scarlett is focused on prevention and treatment through nutrition, diet, and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques
Conventional / Western (Allopathic) medicine is only focused on treating symptoms, not on getting to the root cause of the disease.
First we review your daily habits and routines to see if they helping or hurting your MS? Do you lead a MS-friendly lifestyle? If no, we help you to identify the areas where you can make changes to help improve MS control.
A comprehensive test may help to determine areas of concern, especially nutrient deficiencies. Of note are Vitamin D levels, Vitamins B6, 9, and 12, Glutathione, thyroid hormone levels.
Doctors of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine have for centuries been providing care for persons with MS. In Chinese Medicine, MS is in the categories of Wei Zheng, wilting condition, Ma Mu, numbness and tingling, Fa Li, lack of strength, Zhi Juan, fatigued limbs, and Ban Shen Bu Sui, hemiplegia, to name a few.
The approach is a holistic approach to care and support – we treat the person, not the disease. Lifestyle, food/nutrition, sleep, botanical formulas, and exercise, are tailored for each patient. Although two patients may have the same diagnosis of MS, the root cause, and therefore the treatment regimen may be quite different.
First we review your daily habits and routines to see if they are helping or hurting your MS? Do you lead a MS-friendly lifestyle? If no, we help you to identify areas where you can make changes to help improve MS control.
1. Sleep: The number one priority is to get adequate, restful sleep. Inadequate sleep, can have a severe negative impact on mental, physical, and emotional health. Talk with Integrative medicine provider about resources to address insomnia or interrupted, unrestful sleep.
2. Exercise: A personalized routine may help to reduce pain and other symptoms that are affecting your activities of daily living (ADL), and your quality of life (QOL). If your goal is to be stronger, have more energy, and live a healthier life of vitality, we’d love to meet with you to see how we can work together to achieve that goal.
One such exercise is the Stimulate Vagal Tone.
A significant part of managing your disease if by being mindful of food choices. We are here to help you learn what foods and nutrients will help to heal the body, and fight inflammation. Eating healthy, nutritious food is an important part of feeling well and managing symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Your diet is a very important tool when it comes to living well with these symptoms. Dr. Scarlett is known for her exceptional cooking abilities and can guide you on a customized plan. She incorporates Chinese Medicine protocols for using Food as Medicine.
Additionally, check out The Wahl’s Protocol Cookbook, by Dr. Terry Wahl, MD, who used an integrative medicine approach to reverse her MS diagnosis after Western Medicine standard of care didn’t help.
Some individuals may benefit from including Pre, Pro, and Post biotics as part of a daily nutritional regimen. Based on your nutrient profile, it may be recommended to increase certain foods, remove others, and incorporate neutraceutical supplementation to correct deficiencies, in an effort to support a robust immune and digestive system.
If you still have questions or need more information, give us a call at (760) 637- 5069 or email us and we’ll be happy to have a conversation around how we may help.