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About Multiple sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis appears to develop because of an autoimmune response where for some unknown reason the body attacks itself. This results in recurrent episodes of inflammation and destruction of the sheaths that surround and protect nerves (known as demyelination) and the formation of small plaques throughout the central nervous system. Certain genes can make an individual more susceptible to Multiple Sclerosis and possibly a viral infection.

MS is a condition of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). The central nervous system controls the body’s actions and activities, such as movement and balance.

Each nerve fibre in the central nervous system is surrounded by a substance called myelin. Myelin helps messages from the brain to travel quickly and smoothly to the rest of the body.

In MS, the myelin becomes damaged. This disrupts the transfer of these messages.

Multiple Sclerosis has a wide range of symptoms and can affect everyone differently. There are several different types of MS. Symptoms vary depending on the type of MS, but typically come and go.

One in five people have a benign form with mild attacks and no permanent disability, while another 15 percent have a progressive disease that steadily worsens.

There are three main types of MS:

  • Relapsing-remitting MS
  • Secondary progressive MS
  • Primary progressive MS

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common neurological condition in young adults in the UK, affecting around 85,000 people.

MS can occur at any age, but symptoms are mostly first seen between the ages of 20 and 40. Women are more than twice as likely to develop MS as men.

MS is a lifelong condition, but it is not terminal. Most people with MS can expect to live as long as someone without the condition. However, a minority of patients (about 20 percent) with MS have a considerably shortened life.

Possible Symptoms

The condition can affect any part of the body but usually starts with a single episode of nerve dysfunction, classically inflammation of the optic nerve in one eye.

Other common symptoms include:

  • Double or blurred vision
  • Numbness or tingling in any part of the body -Tiredness
  • Temporary blindness
  • Fatigue and dizziness
  • Distortion or loss of sense of touch
  • Limb weakness, spasticity and pain
  • Incontinence
  • Constipation
  • Cognitive impairment

Later the symptoms can include loss of co-ordination and speech difficulties, and so depression often occurs.

Western Medicine View

There is no cure for MS, as its exact cause is unknown, and it is not possible to prevent it. Treatments include medication to relieve pain and spasms, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, steroids and beta-interferon. Complementary therapies used include acupuncture, massage and yoga. Disease-modifying drugs may slow the progression of MS.

Chinese Medicine View

In Chinese medicine, multiple sclerosis is a type of Atrophy Syndrome (a part of the body to be reduced in size and therefore strength, or, more generally, to become weaker). Invasion of external Dampness is an important cause of disease in the beginning stages. External Dampness can invade the legs first and creep upwards. This can be caused by living in damp places, sitting on damp grass, failing to dry oneself after swimming, being exposed to damp weather when wearing insufficient clothes, or being exposed to foggy weather. Women are particularly prone to invasion of Dampness during their menstrual cycle and after childbirth. Dampness causes a feeling of heaviness in the legs, numbness and tingling.

According to Chinese Medicine theory acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be prescribed to help considerably alleviate symptoms and slow down the progress of multiple sclerosis. There are two basic patterns of Multiple Sclerosis according to CM theory: Damp-Phlegm with Spleen Deficiency and Liver and Kidney Deficiency. Both can be treated with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. The earlier the treatment is started, the better. If treatment begins at the very early stages the symptoms can be completely eliminated and the disease halted indefinitely.

Lifestyle Advice

You should reduce intake of greasy-fried or cold foods as this is bad for the Spleen and leads to Dampness. Reduce sexual activity, as this weakens the kidneys and liver and is particularly responsible for symptoms in the middle to late stages of multiple sclerosis such as dizziness, blurred vision, urgency or hesitancy of urination and extreme weakness of legs. Also stress and shock can cause a sudden loss of Heart Qi and Spleen Qi (the organs’ respective essential energies). The Spleen influences the muscles, so the muscles will lack energy, and the Heart controls the circulation of Blood, so stress and shock can lead to poor circulation of both Qi and Blood to the limbs. Both these factors may cause weakness of the legs, dizziness and vertigo.

For personalised advice on diet and lifestyle, please ask the doctor during your consultation.

Please be reminded that we offer free online health advice.