Multiple sclerosis epidemiology refers to the study of this disease’s patterns. MS epidemiology takes into account the differences in demographics, geography, socioeconomic status, infectious and genetic causes. Scientists known as epidemiologists make significant contributions to the knowledge about this difficult disease as they can study relationships between these factors as well as different patterns of migration. They do this in order to understand why MS is experienced by some people and not others and why some areas have high rates while others do not.
There are certain diseases that are considered to be ‘borderline MS’ and can be the cause of some forms of MS in patients. Some of these borderline diseases are chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), and balo concentric sclerosis. Other illnesses that could possibly play a part in causing MS are chicken pox, mono, and the hepatitis vaccine.
Genetics is also considered as a cause of Multiple Sclerosis. While genetics is not officially proven, it is important to note that having a family member with a positive diagnosis, means that the percentage of risk is higher that the person in question will also be diagnosed with MS, however the increase in percentage is only between 2 and 5 percent.
Another cause of Multiple sclerosis could possibly be related to environmental factors. It was discovered that in areas where the sun doesn’t shine as often there are significantly higher percentages of MS patients. Researchers also believe consumption of high doses of vitamin D can greatly reduce the risk of MS. Studies are still being performed on each of these causes of MS, in order to figure out what the exact cause is.
Reasons Specific Symptoms Arise in MS Patients
The main cause of Multiple Sclerosis is a type of a lack of communication between the brain and the body. When it comes to MS symptoms, it is the location of lesions which dictates what symptoms are displayed. What happens is that the myelin sheath of nerve cells is damaged leaving the brain and the body unable to properly communicate with one another. This disease is considered an autoimmune disease, meaning that it is the immune system that is attacking the body and causing the damage. In some cases, the myelin sheath can actually repair itself if the damage done is minimal. This crucial outer covering is how nerve cells can transmit signals between the body and the brain, and once these types of signals can’t be received any more a number of bodily functions stop working.
Multiple Sclerosis epidemiology was the reason why MRI scans were determined to be the best way to locate this damage to nerve cells. In some cases, MS epidemiology can show that the illness can be present for a long time before these lesions can be apparent on the cells. The number of these lesions or scarring causes worse symptoms. Some of the symptoms these scarred cells can cause are: cognitive difficulties, slurred speech, a loss of balance, changes in vision, headaches, neck pain, changes in mood, and memory loss. Lesions on the spinal cord affect the lower extremities. These lesions cause symptoms that affect muscles, and cause difficulty walking, muscle spasms, paralysis below the waist, erectile dysfunction, or the inability to maintain bladder and bowel control.