Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and multiple sclerosis (MS) are similar in that they are both neurodegenerative disorders which impact the brain and central nervous system. Neither condition has a known cure, and both affect the muscles and nerves. Yet, the conditions have distinct differences, particularly in terms of their symptoms. Here, we explore the ways in which these conditions are similar and then examine their distinctive qualities.
Muscle Weakness: Weakness in the muscles of the arms and legs are common in both ALS and MS, as are difficulty walking and involuntary muscle spasms.
Speech Challenges: Slurred speech, while less common in MS, can be experienced by patients with both conditions. In ALS, this symptom worsens progressively, but it can be intermittent in people with MS.
Swallowing Problems: Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, is a symptom shared by both conditions. However, while it becomes progressively worse in patients with ALS, individuals with MS experience it to a lesser degree and intermittently.
Breathing Issues: ALS is characterized by the breaking down of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, which control the muscles in your body. Thus, as muscles begin to atrophy, breathing complications become more pronounced. In people with MS, lung function is lower than normal, but shortness of breath is typically only noticed upon exertion, if at all.
Both ALS and MS scar the covering of the nerve fibers, but this happens differently in each condition. In MS, the myelin sheaths, coverings which protect the body’s nerve cells, are compromised. This impedes the brain’s ability to send signals to other parts of the body, which affects both voluntary and involuntary muscle movement. The symptoms of ALS, on the other hand, all involve nerves that control voluntary muscle movement.
The early stages of ALS and MS bear similarities to one another, like fatigue, trouble walking, muscle stiffness, and twitching are common in both. Yet, physicians are able to distinguish among the two fairly quickly, due to the following distinct symptoms.
Vision Impairment: While ALS sufferers may notice challenges with voluntary muscle movement, they often do not lose the ability to see. For MS patients, however, the optic nerve can become swollen, resulting in vision problems. In fact, up to 80% of all MS patients experience vision-related symptoms.
Bladder/Bowel Issues: Issues with involuntary muscles can present bladder challenges, including incontinence, in at least 80% of people with MS. Diarrhea is also common for MS sufferers. People with ALS may not experience either condition, but constipation is common in both illnesses.
Tingling/Pain: A select population of ALS patients experience tingling, but it is often temporary. For people with MS, however, sensory symptoms are common and pronounced. Numbness, tingling, and pain are reported by MS patients.
While the symptoms described above are commonly associated with ALS, MS, or both, having one or more of these symptoms does not mean a patient is afflicted with either condition. With that being said, it is always a good idea to have a physician weigh in on any new or unfamiliar symptoms to receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Foot drop, also commonly referred to as drop foot, is a condition in which the muscles that lift the foot become weak or paralyzed. As a result, the foot may drag while walking. Foot drop isn’t a disease in itself; instead, it can develop as a result of preexisting medical conditions. Learn more about what causes the symptom and how it can be treated below.
What Are the Characteristics of Foot Drop?
Because foot drop causes the front toes to drag, it often leads individuals with the condition to overcorrect their gait to avoid tripping or discomfort. They may either swing the leg outward in an arc or lift the knee higher. This coping mechanism is what’s known as “steppage gait.”
Who Might Be Affected by Foot Drop?
Foot drop can be caused by certain neurological disorders, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and muscular dystrophy. These and other neurological conditions lead to weakening and deterioration of the muscles, which can cause foot drop. Cerebral palsy and stroke may also bring on foot drop.
In addition to individuals with neurological conditions, foot drop can also occur in people who have sustained nerve damage, or neuropathy. Specifically, the peroneal nerve, which extends from the sciatic nerve and wraps from behind the knee to the shin, is compromised in drop foot. There are a number of possible causes of this form of nerve damage, including diabetes, sports injuries, hip or knee replacements or time spent in a cast, long durations spent cross-legged or squatting, and childbirth.
How is it Treated?
Physicians make treatment recommendations based on the severity of the condition, as well as its root cause. While it is not always fully curable, some treatments can make noticeable improvements in gait. Leg braces may be worn to provide ample support. Patients may also benefit from attending physical therapy to perform leg and foot strengthening exercises. Certain movements can also be completed at home, including gentle stretches and chair exercises.
Sometimes, functional electrical stimulation is also used to enhance nerve functionality, which can spur muscle contraction to lift the foot. Doctors may also recommend nerve surgery if it is deemed to be a feasible solution. For individuals who would not benefit from surgery, implementing lifestyle changes such as eliminating floor clutter and ensuring homes are well-lit may be helpful.
Colostrum is the milk produced by the mammary glands during pregnancy prior to giving birth. It is rich in antibodies that help prevent the newborn from various conditions. Colostrum as compared to normal milk contains a high amount of nutrients and fat, making it highly beneficial.
The most important thing to know about colostrum is that it is not a medication. It is a naturally designed food that maintains the health and prevents conditions. Colostrum is effective for shutting down the onset of conditions and infections, which helps the body to repair itself and allows the individual to enjoy a healthy and radiant life.
Colostrum is the Key to Gut Health
Colostrum is the source of everything that is required to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract. It is known that most of our conditions take birth in the gut and proper absorption of nutrients is the key to great health. It is one of the primary function of colostrum to maintain a healthy gut, which is the basis of the overall healthy body.
When the beneficial bacteria present in our intestine is outnumbered by the harmful bacteria then our gut is said to be out of balance. This imbalance has many consequences, one of which is the leaky gut syndrome.
Leaky gut syndrome is a condition due to which various pathogens and toxins pass through the lining of the gut and move freely in the body, this leads to various conditions. Leaky gut syndrome, if not treated can be a life-threatening condition.
Colostrum is an optimal treatment for treating leaky gut syndrome because it has growth factors that help repair the damage of the intestine to normal. It is also rich in immunoglobulins that control the pestering of fungi and bacteria in the body. In various conducted studies colostrum has successfully increased the surface area of the lining of the intestine, thereby improving the absorption of nutrients.
Colostrum: The Perfect & Functional Food
Looking at all the immune and growth factors that are present in colostrum, it is called the best alternative to pharmaceutical drugs, from steroids and antibiotics. Colostrum is also safe for people suffering from lactose intolerance and has no allergic reactions or side effects.
A functional food is one that has potential health benefits compared to normal food and is high in nutrients. Colostrum is high in nutrients and can be combined with other food products. It is most effective when taken on an empty stomach. Available in the form of capsules, colostrum is more effective and bioavailable.
Colostrum for Autoimmune Conditions:
Autoimmune conditions are those in which the body starts producing antibodies against itself. Colostrum has shown to be highly effective to treat autoimmune conditions like Lupus, Parkinson’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. Chemokine receptors have been observed to be the cause of the development of all these conditions. Colostrum produces antagonists of these receptors and has been shown to decrease the symptoms of many common autoimmune conditions.
Colostrum Used as a Topical Application:
Colostrum, if applied externally can help heal the burns, acne, cuts and various abrasions and even surgical cuts. If applied orally, it can help deal with sensitive teeth relieve canker sores and gingivitis.
Some Overall Benefits of Colostrum are:
Below is a list of some common conditions for which colostrum can be effective:
Bone marrow transplant
Intestinal bowel syndrome
Where Can I Find Colostrum?
If you have any symptoms suggestive of gastro-intestinal dysbiosis (diarrhea, constipation, bloating, reflux, stomach discomfort or pain) then you should seek further work-up by your physician or a Functional Medicine Doctor.
In the meantime, it is recommended to start using Bovine Colostrum which can be found at Sovereign Laboratories at www.mysovlabs.com. Simply mix 2 tablespoons in 6oz of water and consume twice per day on an empty stomach. This product is full of gut healing immunoglobulins. Use for 2-3 months should result in significant improvement.
In addition, it is also recommended to take a good probiotic while using your bovine colostrum. Vitamin D levels should be optimized to levels between 80-100.
In a recent edition of JAMA, the results of a 30-year study examining the possible connection between stress and autoimmune disease were revealed. The findings don’t simply demonstrate a link; instead, they reveal that stress-related disorders are significantly associated with risks of developing the subsequent autoimmune disease. In the study of over 100,000 subjects, the correlation showed that individuals with a diagnosed stress-related disorder were 30-40% more likely to later be diagnosed with one of many possible autoimmune diseases.
What is a Stress-Related Disorder?
The type of stress study subjects encountered is not to be confused with the stressors we encounter during everyday life. Sitting in traffic or worrying about being late for a meeting, for example, are examples of acute stress. These forms of short-term stress generally come and go but fail to create the sort of long-term damage produced by chronic stress, or stress-related disorders.
Stress-related disorders are mental health conditions resulting from short- and long-term anxiety from mental, physical, or emotional stress. Examples of these include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, acute stress reaction, and adjustment disorder.
Which Types of Autoimmune Disorders Are Linked to Stress?
According to the study’s findings, individuals with stress-related disorders were more inclined to be diagnosed with one of 41 autoimmune disorders. Among the many autoimmune diseases observed by the research were psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac disease.
Interestingly, additional variables seemed to further increase – or decrease – one’s risks of developing an autoimmune disease. Being diagnosed with PTSD at a young age, for instance, increased risks, while receiving antidepressant treatment shortly after being diagnosed with PTSD lowered rates of subsequent autoimmune disease diagnosis. Thus, it could be inferred that receiving treatment for a stress-related disorder may help to treat not only the stress itself but also minimize the lasting implications caused by it, including increased risks of disease.
What Causes the Connection?
Further research must still be conducted to pinpoint the precise long-term effects stress has on the body, and more specifically, on the immune system. Experts speculate that factors such as changes in cortisol levels and pro-inflammatory cytokine levels may need to be examined. Another hypothesis set forth by researchers is that individuals living with conditions such as PTSD might be more inclined towards unhealthy behaviors such as drinking more alcohol or sleeping less.
Although further research into this connection has yet to be conducted, one important takeaway from the findings is the fact that seeking treatment for stress-related disorders should now be considered more critical than ever. By consulting mental health professionals, individuals living with these conditions can pursue a tailored treatment approach to support short- and long-term improvements in overall wellness. For those with an auto-immune condition, see how stem cell therapy may help your symptoms and improve quality of life.
Vitamin D is a naturally-occurring nutrient found in certain foods, and the body can also attain it through sun exposure. Deficiencies in this crucial nutrient can cause bone and muscle pain, and over time, may also be linked with increased risks of cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, and certain types of cancer. Additionally, vitamin D aids in calcium regulation and is therefore essential for maintaining healthy bones.
While vitamin D intake has been hailed by medical experts as a means of supporting overall wellness for years, researchers have recently begun to compile even more reason to load up on the vitamin: it could possibly aid in the prevention of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
The Link Between Vitamin D & MS
One compelling piece of research supporting a connection between MS and vitamin D is the higher concentration of individuals with the disease living in areas that receive less sunshine. Now, further research performed by the University of Oxford shows a “substantial evidence base” linking vitamin D and MS. While the average odds for a UK citizen to develop MS are one in 1,000, the odds for individuals with the gene variant DRB1*150 jump to one in 300. The study’s findings show that vitamin D plays an integral role in the functionality of the DRB1 gene. Thus, maintaining adequate levels of the vitamin could lower a person’s risk of developing MS.
Yet, what does this mean for people who are already living with MS? More than 2.5 million people suffer from the disease worldwide, and it is the most common disabling neurological condition in young adults. It turns out vitamin D may also have beneficial effects on individuals with MS, too. According to additional studies, the nutrient could help alleviate the severity and frequency of symptoms. MS causes the immune system to attack nerve cells’ protective layers, but because vitamin D has a positive effect on a person’s immunity, taking it regularly could aid in symptom management.
A Staggering Deficiency
While the benefits of getting enough vitamin D are clear, a deficiency among a large percentage of the population remains. More than 41% of U.S. adults are deficient, while it’s estimated 1 billion people across the globe have inadequate levels of the vitamin in their blood.
The deficiencies could result from a few factors. For one, many people have become more diligent about limiting exposure to UV rays in an attempt to lower skin cancer risks. Additionally, the vitamin is only found in limited types of food, including spinach, kale, fatty fish like tuna and mackerel, cheese, and egg yolks.
Nonetheless, even individuals with dietary restrictions and safe sun practices can use supplements to increase their intake. While the National Institutes of Health recommends a daily intake of 600 IU for individuals between the ages of 19 and 70, you can consult with your physician before beginning a daily supplement regimen for a precise recommendation.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients can experience exacerbations, also known as flare-ups, and they can vary for each person. Some can be intense while others are mild. Some bring on new symptoms while others may worsen old ones. A true flare-up lasts at least 24 hours and has been 30 days from the previous attack.
These exacerbations are caused by inflammation in the central nervous system which damages the myelin causing disruption in the transmission of nerve impulses resulting in symptoms of MS. Common symptoms experienced during a flare-up may include dizziness, balance problems, numbness, pain, blurred vision, fatigue, and pins and needle sensations. MS patients can treat symptoms which can shorten flare-ups and recover faster, but how can you avoid flare-ups? WebMD offers some helpful tips on how to prevent but each person is an individual who has their own triggers to relapsing attacks.
Take Your Medicines
Ensure you take the prescription medicines given by your physician. These medicines will help prevent you from a possible relapse and from your symptoms from getting worse. If some side effects are seen due to the medicine, talk to your physician for other options.
Maintain Your Health
A bladder infection or a flu are trigger examples to a flare-up. It is important to maintain healthy habits so you can avoid these triggers. Some suggestions are to diligently wash your hands, avoid anyone who is sick, get a flu-shot, and stay hydrated while maintaining a routine to avoid bladder infections.
In general, smoking is not good for overall health and it can make MS symptoms worse. Studies have shown that by quitting smoking, you can slow the progression while also preserving cognitive functions. One study conducted by the Menzies Research Institute in Australia showed that persons who smoked the equivalent of two packs per day accumulated three times as much disability as those who smoked less than a pack per day. It is best to consult with your doctor to discuss the best options for you to quit.
For some, stress can also be a cause for a flare-up. Keep down stress levels by practicing methods such as yoga, meditation, or activities that help you feel relaxed and help you unwind.
Sleep deprivation is common in people with MS due to symptoms like muscle spasms and pain that can keep one up at night. Some medications can also disrupt the sleep patterns. Consult with your physician to help manage symptoms and discuss changes in medication to help allow for a restful night’s sleep.
These tips will hopefully help you in prevention of flare-ups. However, when they do present themselves, it is important to keep your physician updated so they can help treat for faster recovery while also reducing the inflammation. Your doctor may prescribe a steroid to tone down the inflammation, but some patients can be overly sensitive to steroids. They may have side effects like mood changes, weight gain, stomach issues and sleep deprivation. In these cases, your doctor can help with alternatives such as Achtar gel which is injected into muscles to decrease the inflammation.