Optic Neuritis – An early sign of multiple sclerosis? Share your optic neuritis story here!

Optic Neuritis
Optic Neuritis

Running a multiple sclerosis page on Facebook (please feel free to join us at https://www.facebook.com/MultipleSclerosisTalk) we have noticed that many of our readers feel that Optic Neuritis was one of the first symptoms of the condition they noticed.  And that optic neuritis is one of the most concerning symptoms.

For example a recent posted shared

“I have optic neuritis and 3 demyelating lesions but they are no longer bright on the MRI…symptoms however are progressing, numbness, balance vision etc. it’s frustrating to not be certain anymore, the neuro had been certain for two years”.

The purpose of this blog is to allow our readers to share their experience of optic neuritis and multiple sclerosis.

But first it may be useful to offer a brief definition of optic neuritis.  Very simply optic neuritis is the inflammation of the optic nerve.  This can lead to either partial or complete sight loss.   It is most commonly seen as a symptom of multiple sclerosis with 50% of diagnosed people with multiple sclerosis reporting optic neuritis at some time.  Importantly for around 20% of MS patients it is the first symptom.

While multiple sclerosis is the most common cause of optic neuritis it is worth bearing in mind that it is not the only cause.  Diabetes, infections such as syphilis and autoimmune conditions can also lead to optic neuritis.

We are very keen to hear about your experiences of optic neuritis.  Everything you would like to share if of great interest but you might like to consider the following questions?

  1. Do you suffer from optic neuritis?  How long have you had it?
  2. Was it the first sign or symptom of multiple sclerosis?
  3. What affect has optic neuritis had on your lifestyle?
  4. Did you use any treatments and to what extent did they work for you?
  5. It has been suggested that having your first symptom as optic neuritis means that your multiple sclerosis is more “benign”.  Is this true for you?
  6. Have you any advice you would like to give a person who has just found out they have optic neuritis or multiple sclerosis?

Please feel free to add anything of interest in the comment boxes below.  If you have any links you think may be of interest to our readers please feel free to share.

 

Thanks very much in advance

Vitamin D – what it does, why we need it and how we get it?

Sunshine - a great source of Vitamin D
Sunshine – a great source of Vitamin D

After a couple of days of London sun it is no surprise that a healthcare blogger’s thoughts turn to Vitamin D.

One of the first things to note about Vitamin D is that it is not strictly speaking actually a dietary vitamin.  This is because in theory humans can absorb Vitamin D from sunlight rather than diet.

So what does Vitamin D actually do?

Discovered by Edward Mellanby, a British physician, in 1922 who was looking for a cure for rickets or as it is formally known – Osteomalacia.  Because of this discovery rickets has been almost wiped out in the developing world.

One of its most important functions is to help the body absorb calcium.  It can also affect bone density causing osteoporosis or bone fractures.

P. Tuohimaaa, T. Keisalaa, A. Minasyana, J. Cachatc, A. Kalueffc  in their article ”Vitamin D, nervous system and aging”  published  in the  December 2009 edition of Psychoneuroendocrinology suggest

“Clinical data suggest that vitamin D3 insufficiency is associated with an increased risk of several CNS diseases, including multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, seasonal affective disorder and schizophrenia.”

As well as concluding that a lack of vitamin D could cause premature ageing.

So all in all it seems pretty important to keep up our levels of Vitamin D.  But how is it best to do so?

Obviously most people can get Vitamin D from sunlight.  But with over exposure to the sun comes risks of developing medical conditions such as skin cancer.   Indeed in Australia, with no shortage of sunlight, it has been suggested that nearly a third of the population are Vitamin D deficient.

Oily fish such as mackerel, sardines and salmon are a great dietary source of vitamin D.  Eggs are another good way of racking up Vitamin D.

Finally of course you can take supplements.  These are available from most supermarkets and pharmacies.

But it is recommend by the UK’s NHS  website that “If you take vitamin D supplements, do not take more than 25 micrograms (0.025mg) a day, as it could be harmful. However, taking less than this is unlikely to cause any harm.”  It is suggested that excess vitamin D increases absorption of calcium which in turn can cause kidney damage.

With that short Vitamin D round up it is now over to you.  We would love it if you could share you experiences with Vitamin D deficiency to help other readers.

Any part of your story is of interest but you may wish to consider the following questions:-

  1. Have you ever suffered from Vitamin D deficiency?
  2. What medical problems did this Vitamin D deficiency cause?
  3. How did you treat the Vitamin D deficiency?
  4. How do you ensure that you get enough Vitamin D?

Please feel free to tell your story using the comments box below.  Feel free to share any links which you think might be of interest to other readers.

Thanks very much in advance for you contributions.