Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obesity, Other Health Issues Delay Diagnosis Of MS

"A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) may be delayed in people who are obese or in those with conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, research indicates. As a result, these patients are prone to greater disability once the neurologic condition is recognized, the researchers say. ‘Our study suggests that doctors who treat people with chronic diseases should not attribute new neurological symptoms, such a numbness and tingling, to existing conditions without careful consideration,’ study chief Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie noted in a written statement. Marrie, from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, and colleagues examined the records of 8,983 people who had been diagnosed with MS. They found that it took 1 to 10 years longer for people who were obese, smoked, or had physical or mental health conditions to be diagnosed with MS compared to people without these conditions. They also found that the more medical problems a person with MS had, the more severe the disease had become by the time they were diagnosed. People with blood vessel problems or who were obese were about one-and-a-half times more likely to be moderately disabled at the time of diagnosis compared with those who had MS but did not have any heart or weight problems,’ Marrie noted. "People who had a mental disorder or any muscle or joint problem along with MS were nearly two times more likely to be severely disabled at the time of diagnosis.’ Pre-existing conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes are common in the United States and can mask symptoms of a new disease or affect access to care. "People with multiple medical problems on top of MS may need more healthcare resources or might respond differently to medication," Marrie said. ‘This needs more study.’”

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