Maybe you also know the motto of Multiple Sclerosis prevalence: location, location, location.
MS is more prevalent in some areas of the world. We can use this information and plan how we want to approach our own MS—using the strength of location, finessing the challenges.
What about Geography and MS?
A Web-md article says this about MS and geography: The number of people who have multiple sclerosis (MS) increases the farther away they are from the equator.
In areas near the equator, MS occurs in fewer than 1 out of 100,000 people. In areas farther from the equator-such as northern Europe and northern North America-MS occurs in around 30 to 80 out of 100,000 people. When moving south of the equator, the number of people with MS is less dramatic, but the same trend is seen.
Despite this geographical picture, the prevalency MS cannot be explained by any individual environmental or genetic factor. For instance, population studies have also been performed that demonstrate difference in susceptibility to MS. When the racial differences are correlated, White populations are at greater risk than Asian or African populations (http://library.med.utah.edu/kw/ms/epidemiology.html). Diet is also a factor (See below for the effect of fish in the diet).
When a location has loads of sun, we can enjoy the Vitamin D that is soaking into our bodies via walks outside. Vitamin D is now shown to play a role in both preventing and treating MS.
How do we finesse the liabilities of a location?
Here is one way. Diet. According to the MS World Map Japan and Scandinavia should have high MS prevalency, but they have a low incidence of MS. Why? One thing that is common in these places is a diet high in Omega 3—fish.
What else can we do? Studies support these things: lower stress, eat a diet with lots of colorful vegetables, stay away from the kind of oil that comes in potato chips, exercise 30 minutes a day 4 times a week.
These are things that are suggested for good health for all people, and for us, it becomes even more important. We often see changes in our MS symptoms, huge and dramatic changes, when we do these things.
I’m visiting a low-incidence country this week, Australia. I am taking notes to see what, besides sun, is conducive to low MS rates here. Our disease is like a whodunit novel, there are hints, but the answer, the solution, is still puzzling the experts. We are part of the solution, we with MS who try new things, learn more ways to live the lives we want! Geography, location, are not the final word. We are.