How and Why Does Multiple Sclerosis Appear Differently in African Americans?
Nearly 2.3 million people suffer from multiple sclerosis worldwide, and nearly half a million cases are in the United States alone. The disease is fairly wide reaching, and when present in a patient, the symptoms can become debilitating. From general muscular-skeletal pain to more severe cognitive issues, MS may affect a patient’s body and daily life in a multitude of ways. While considerable research has been and is continuing to be devoted both to studying the nature of the disease as well as possible treatment options, very little information is known regarding how the disease affects different demographics. Some scientists and physicians are working to change this reality by devoting more research to the specific ways in which multiple sclerosis affects the African American community specifically.
There are nearly two million people around the globe who suffer from multiple sclerosis, and half of this population is from America alone. In various ways, this disease is known to affect the body of the patient along with their daily routine. There has been a considerable number of studies going on about the nature of this condition, and the possible treatment options are also being explored. Still, though, there is not a great deal of data available in terms of how this medical condition affects various demographics in different ways. For a long time, the medical field was of the opinion that the disease only affected individuals of Caucasian origin, but over the years, it has become evident that this medical condition does not solely affect those of European descent. There are still questions about how MS affects those from various ethnic groups. In one study, it was confirmed that MS affected around 46 percent of African Americans more than individuals of non-Hispanic/white ethnicity. In the year 2013, there was another study which observed that around 47 percent of African-American people were at risk of getting this condition compared to individuals from the Caucasian group. Also, among the African-American group, the female population was at a greater risk of developing MS than their male counterparts. Scientists and researchers are very curious as to why there has been such a prevalence of MS among the African-American community and why it had gone undetected for so long. The answers for these questions are not easy to express, but it is thought that there may be a host of reasons that could have contributed to the myth that this community was not affected by MS. There are certain systematic barriers in the case of general healthcare on how this community receives treatment. Researchers are trying to study and reexamine the symptoms present in both of these communities. They are also beginning to identify certain important differences in how the disease presents itself. It has been reported that multiple sclerosis can impact the walking ability of African-American patients, and it can also cause an impact on their vision in certain capacities. Studies also mentioned that the symptoms tend to flare up and grow aggressively more in the African-American group. The optic nerve of these individuals can be affected, causing visual problems. Some of the patients may experience partial loss of vision, whereas others may experience a complete loss of vision. It is important to be aware of the symptoms experienced by the individual so that early detection can occur and allow for timely treatment to be started.
There is still research going on about multiple sclerosis and it has evolved in many ways. But, from time to time, there may be no light shed on the research being carried out. With the help of new diagnostic methods and therapies to treat the symptoms, technology has also played an important role in the fight against MS.