Who Gets MS?
I was sitting in a doctor’s office about 8 years ago and he was going over my MRI. He asked me a question that I have been used to hearing at least monthly throughout my life.
“What is your ethnic background?”
Well in my case that requires a full hour’s worth of time listing one by one the nationalities and races of my ancestors. So I began.
Indian from India
“Ahhh, that’s the one” He stopped me. “Who was Scottish?”
I told him it was my great –grandfather on my mother’s side, and he exclaimed.
“Well you can thank your great-grandfather on your mother’s side for the MS.”
Okay I know there is supposed to be evidence that Scotland has one of the highest rates of MS in the world. The highest is evidently Canada. But I am confused. It’s not necessarily hereditary, but there is a genetic connection. Is that a bit of a catch 22 in anyone else’s book?
And then on top of that Native American, African, and Asians all have ‘supposedly’ very low incidences of MS. Of course that makes up the majority of my ethnic background. Oh what a conundrum.
But I did grow up in Ohio. Ding, ding, ding! Again a red flag. Grow up somewhere it snows, where winters are truly winters, and you guessed it, you too have a better chance of having MS than anyone else.
I take umbrage to all of this. Currently I am living in Bahrain, that for those of you who don’t know (trust me I didn’t know either until I was about to move here) is in the middle of the Arabian Gulf…between Saudi Arabia and Iran. When I arrived here about 10 years ago Multiple Sclerosis was one of the rarer diseases in the region. There was one neurologist on the island who specialized in MS and diseases like it, but for the most part, you had to go somewhere else to get anyone who really understood the disease. .
So a decade later, and we have an MS Society, an awareness group – in Arabic, so it doesn’t do me much good…and people I meet are starting to not only recognize what the disease is, but most know of someone who has it.
In fact, I want YOU to do the experiment. Tell people who you meet that you have MS and see just what the percentage is of people who say their, mother, uncle, cousin, best friend, etc. has Multiple Sclerosis.
Recently I have noticed that more and more people seem to have MS. Or is it just that I am dealing with the Green Car Syndrome. You know, you buy a green car because it is unusual and you want to be a bit different, and then as soon as you have it in your possession every other car it seems is green.
Anyway, that is the way it worked for me. So is it that I am just thinking so many people are getting MS, or is it really true? It feels like it is hitting epidemic proportions…
We do have better diagnostic tools,
We do live longer,
We talk about diseases more openly now
I don’t know. Since we are not really sure yet what causes this little MONSTER to take up residence, it is hard to say who actually gets it and who doesn’t.
You can go with the scientific facts, and there is no reason not to, but it sure seems to me that a lot of folks who don’t fit the profile end up with the disease.
African, Asian, Latinos
People in HOT climates
I know there is an exception to every rule, it just seems that with Multiple Sclerosis the rules are so flexible that there aren’t any rules at all.