nail 55,000 people suffer in Spain multiple sclerosisOne neurological and autoimmune disease which affects the central nervous system and has increased by 20% in the last five years. In fact, every year about 2000 new diagnoses appear in the Spanish population.
But what are its causes and risk factors? what are your symptoms? How does this disease warn mainly affects women (in the ratio of 2-3 cases for each person)?
The causes of multiple sclerosis are unknown, but what can be said is that it is a multifactorial diseaseIn which genetic factors are added to certain risk factors are important for its appearance.
For the disease to develop it is necessary that “there is a combination of genetic factors and environmental factors. Both at the same time, not just one”, confirms Sexta.com. Dr. Ana Belen Caminero, Coordinator of the Demyelinating Diseases Study Group of the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN),
In other words, in multiple sclerosis there is an important genetic predispositionIn fact, “we cannot say that it is a hereditary disease, but it is true that the chances of developing the disease are higher if there is a family history,” says the neurologist.
multiple sclerosis risk factors
Furthermore, and under this genetic basis, it is important to highlight existence of other factorsThere will be some variables that have been scientifically proven to increase the risk of disease, says Dr. Caminero. All these factors are:
- Epstein-Barr virus (causes mononucleosis)As shown in a 2022 study. This infection has occurred in 100% of patients with multiple sclerosis, but that does not mean that because we have had the infection, we will develop the disease.” this article SEN experts explain it.
- Smoking: The higher the risk of disease, the more cigarettes consumed.
- Low exposure to ultraviolet radiation and low levels of vitamin D.
- Shift work: More years in this position at higher risk.
- Obesity: In childhood and adolescence, develop it before the age of 20.
- Poor intestinal microbiota.
On the other hand, this week, a study in swedish magazine Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, in which they join Lack of sleep in teens increases risk of multiple sclerosis in adulthood. More specifically, they asserted that those who slept less and reported poorer sleep quality had a 40 times higher risk.
But studies, even well-planned and designed, have certain “limitations” to include sleep deprivation as a risk factor for this disease. Statements by various experts from the Science Media Center Spain, Much more research will be needed on all this.
“These are really well-planned epidemiological studies in which you can make an association (in this case sleepiness, which may also be related to melatonin, because it’s associated with shift work) but we can’t rule out a cause-effect.” At the moment, a lot more research is needed in this regard,” Dr. Caminero insists.
Therefore, the increase in the number of multiple sclerosis, according to this expert, is basically due to the improvement in diagnostic techniques that help in better and faster detection of the disease. but also that “life changes already increased exposure to various environmental factors to which this disease is connected”. However, and in spite of everything, “it has not yet been possible to determine what is the reason for its appearance”.
Know the symptoms for early diagnosis
Once the possible factors for (or may be behind) the development of multiple sclerosis are known, it is important to diagnose it as soon as possible if it occurs.
so that, as soon as possible, be able to start a individual treatment It improves symptoms and slows down the progression of the disease. Because there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, but there are effective drug treatments and rehabilitation treatments for these purposes.
Therefore, and in order to diagnose the disease as early as possible, it is necessary to know what are the symptoms that can warn of it: They usually appear between the ages of 20 and 40. And there is a wide variety of symptoms depending on the part of the central nervous system affected.
As SEN explains, “Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease characterized by the fact that myelin (the layer covering nerve fibers) becomes damaged or destroyed, causing communication problems between neurons.”
As explained to laSexta.com by neurologist, Dr. Luis Ramio i Torrenta, symptoms The most common ones that usually appear and that can alert us to the presence of the disease would be the following: vision problems, tingling and loss of feeling in arms and legs, loss of strength and agility; and coordination and balance problems. And these also usually appear progressively over several weeks.
Similarly, and as also pointed out by Sen, we should keep in mind that variability of symptoms “Which can cause a number of neurological symptoms, including disturbances of balance or loss of sensation or strength in the extremities, loss of vision.”
For this reason, it is essential to have an early diagnosis, because that way we can start an effective treatment as soon as possible, because yes, Thanks to research, there are increasingly effective treatments for greater control and amelioration of the disease