5 important facts about multiple sclerosis (MS)

4. It affects more women than men

More than twice as many women develop MS as men, according to the NINDS. However, experts do not know why.

Symptoms usually appear between the ages of 20 and 40, but MS can develop at any age.

At this age, women with MS can experience complications with their sexual and reproductive health, especially during pregnancy.

Medical student Jen Finelli described working with a female who had MS and her unique struggles while preparing to get pregnant:

“We had a sweet, sweet patient on one of my rotations who had MS attacks so severe she went blind, and she was concerned when she became pregnant, because she needed her medications to prevent these horrible attacks. She told us that she’d quit her medications to protect her baby if she had to!”

“Thankfully, [that patient] didn’t have to make that sacrifice,” she added, “but because of the autoimmune nature of the disease, patients must verify their medications with their ob-gyn and their MS specialist before becoming pregnant.”

5. Vitamin D and other therapies may help

Treatment options for MS have expanded, and people now have better ways of managing their condition than ever before.

However, some people prefer to use alternative remedies and supplements, such as vitamin D supplements. People with MS often have low levels of vitamin D, and researchers have suggested that upping vitamin D levels may help.

So far, studies have shown that additional vitamin D treatment is safe for people with MS, and that it may help prevent and treat the condition.

However, the authors of a 2018 review suggest that there is not yet enough evidence to confirm that vitamin D supplementation is useful.

Other lifestyle options that may boost overall health and reduce the risk of a flare include:

  • following a healthful diet
  • staying as physically active as possible
  • trying to avoid stress
  • getting enough sleep
  • not smoking or quitting smoking

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative HealthTrusted Source suggest that yoga, tai chi, and reflexology are safe therapies that may help relieve some symptoms.

Acupuncture may also be safe and effective, as long as a qualified practitioner performs it.

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