Healthy Living

How and Why Does Multiple Sclerosis Appear Differently in African Americans?

Treatment implications

The recent information indicating that African Americans are affected by MS, and at a rate similar to Caucasian populations, has some direct implications for treatment of the disease. First, and perhaps most obviously, these findings indicate that the disease should not be ignored in this or any population. Awareness about the signs and symptoms of the disease as well as early detection methods are just as important for the African American population as for the Caucasian population. Additionally, because studies suggest that the symptoms of the disease affect the African American population more severely, the disease is likely to be diagnosed more quickly. Especially because disturbances with vision and walking are so difficult to ignore, and especially because their severity tends to compound more rapidly, African Americans may be more likely to receive a diagnosis within a shorter time from their first treatment than Caucasians. While the severity of symptoms may make it easier for medical professionals to spot the disease, because it moves more rapidly awareness and prevention still remain equally important for this population.