Sunday, January 30, 2011

African Americans w/MS

     I live in Reno, NV but I have traveled to San Francisco a few times during the first year of my diagnosis.  My doctor sent me to the University of San Francisco California to see other neurologists who specialize in Multiple Sclerosis.  When you think of neurology, you don't realize that there are so many branches and sub specialties but it makes sense when you see all the nerves that extend from the spinal cord.  Then on top of that, there are different types of MS specialists.  I ended up being blessed with a neurologist that specializes in MS in African Americans, Dr Bruce Cree.  He is the best neurologist in his field.  My local doctor, Dr George Bigley is one of the best MS doctors in the world and works closely with Dr Cree.  Even though he wasn't the one that referred me to Dr Cree, it just all came together that way which I see as divine intervention.

    African Americans are 50% less likely to develop MS than Caucasians.  With that being said, the effect of the disease tends to be more aggressive in African Americans.  When I say African Americans, this is not to be confused with Africans, those of us that were actually born raised and live in Africa.  The geographical location plays a major role.  MS is practically non existent in Africa, but for those of us that live in the northern hemisphere aka America it's more common.  I  believe the difference between Afro-Americans and Africans has something to do with a genetic factor when it comes to MS.  Those of us in America tend to be combined with other races.  I have Cherokee Indian in my bloodline and my girls are 1/4 Hispanic.  My husband and I participated in a genetic study at UCSF.  They needed someone w/MS and someone w/o MS but were African American or mixed with African American which describes me and my husband.  They took like 6 vials of blood from each of us and we had to fill out a long questionnaire about our family tree medical history.

  People with MS tend to be vitamin D deficient.   African Americans have to spend 2 times longer in the sun than Caucasians to make the same amount of vitamin D due to the melanin in our skin, which acts as a natural sun screen.  This could be why MS is more aggressive for us black folks.  We don't get enough vitamin D because we typically do not prefer to spend as much time in the sun as white people.

   The cause of MS is very much a mystery, just like the different effect that it has on black and white people. Whites are 50% more likely to develop this mysterious autoimmune disease but it's 50% more aggressive in black people.  Only God knows for sure and I have decided to leave MS in His hands and trust Him to sustain me and He does just that.

No comments:

Post a Comment