Category Archives: MS Treatments

Multiple Sclerosis Hypertension and Now Pre-Diabetic

    Cow Painting Ever since I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis back in 2000 my blood pressure has slowly crept up to a point where it was really starting to bother both myself and my family doctor. At first I was prescribed low doses of something that I don’t recall the name of but it made me cough to the point where it had to be changed to Losartan Potassium. And at first this seemed to bring my BP down to a more reasonable level. But it didn’t take long until the dose had to be doubled to 50mg and then doubled again to a 100mg which is where I’m at now and it still doesn’t seem to be enough to lower my blood pressure down to a safer level.

     I think my doctor might also be starting to get concerned with this because he ordered a complete blood work up to see if something else may be causing my higher pressure levels. However as the results are now back they are all, for the post part, in the normal range with one exception. My glucose levels were high enough for my doctor to announce that I am now pretty much pre-diabetic.

     In one respect this does not come as to much of a shock to me as just about everyone on both sides of my family are also either diabetic or like me, at some early stage of becoming diabetic. But in another respect I remember reading early on after my MS diagnosis that people who became diabetic rarely developed multiple sclerosis and vice versus as well. Another myth bites the dust.

     There is a bright side to this diagnosis that if I watch my weight and my diet I should never develop full blown diabetes. Unfortunately this still doesn’t explain the hypertension. His guess is a combination of stress related factors along with the fact that I really don’t get enough exercise being at least part of the problem. And he stated that higher BP is somewhat common for people with MS. I do try and exercise as much as I can but it tires me out at a pretty fast rate and I live in a place where it rains a lot which also makes getting out more of a problem. And telling me that I am now one step closer to being diabetic certainly doesn’t help reduce any stress that I may be experiencing.

     I have another appointment in a couple of weeks so I won’t know until then whether we are going to increase my current BP drug or try something new. Which means for now, the mystery continues!

 

Bill Walker

MS and Simple Memory Boosting Ideas

     Mailbox Numbers Unfortunately MS robs many of us of our physical ability to stay active and keep a more normal blood flow to the brain which in turn affects our ability to remember the simplest of things sometimes. One way of stimulating all of those little nerve bundles up in our heads is by reading and writing which many of us do now on a daily basis even if it was something that we didn’t enjoy all that much pre-multiple sclerosis.

     However there are a couple of other little tricks that forces your brain to reset its ability to recall information on a daily basis. But first, here’s a very short but amusing story that gets us started.

     The other day I asked my twenty three year old Niece how many passwords she had because of all the social media and other things that her generation has to keep abreast of on any given day? Her answer certainly surprised me, “Two.” And I would imagine that is probably the same answer that you would get from almost any Millennial. And now, you too, know their secret of living in a password protected world.

     In my case I have at least ten that I can think of off the top of my head and it’s not just because I am old and terrified of someone hacking my personal information. I have them all because it forces me to recall them each to the appropriate site that I am visiting or using at that particular moment. Oh yes, I have my own version of a little black book that I can pull out and search if the brain fog is just to thick to get through, but I have found that by doing this those moments of staring at a blank screen with a blank mind have been fewer and fewer as the years have passed.

     And I have another mind game I play when I’m either riding or driving in my car if I want to wake my brain up from a multiple sclerosis haze. Every time I pass a set of numbers like on a mailbox I’ll add them up until I get the smallest domination. For instance: 7324 would be 7+3+2+4 which would equal 16 and then 1+6 would equal 7. You can also do it with subtraction 7-3-2-4 would equal negative 2. And if you get really bored of that you can also multiply instead 7x3x2x4 would equal 168 and then you could also add and/or subtract from that point as well.

     The whole idea is to keep your mind active and refuse to let MS clog the pathways of your brain. And I’ve become so used to doing this that I can do it easily even with the radio is on while also paying attention to the road around me while I’m driving. However, I don’t do it if I have a passenger.

     And I’m sure I’m not the only one who has these little brain teasers to keep a clear and healthy mind, what are some of your ways of keeping all of the neurons firing in the proper order?

 

Bill Walker

MS Chocolate and Valentines Day’s Healthy Choice

   100_0735  

     In a previous article I discussed the heart healthy and anti-inflammatory benefits that chocolate can provide but that’s certainly not all of the benefits that science is learning about this treat.

      Chocolate especially the purer kinds with higher cocoa content and less sugar can also help to lower blood pressure while also making blood platelets less sticky allowing them to clot easier. And dark chocolate also contains oleic acid which is a heart healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in something else that’s considered very heart healthy, olive oil.

     Chocolate is loaded with antioxidants; in fact chocolate has eight times the amount of antioxidants as strawberries. And the antioxidants in chocolate help to remove free radicals from environmental factors that we encounter on a daily basis from smoke and other air pollutants as well as from other things that we eat. Chocolate also helps keep LDL, or the bad cholesterol, from forming in the body while also helping in balancing certain hormones.

     And chocolate even has some benefits for your mental health like stimulating endorphin production giving you a feeling of pleasure. And chocolate also contains serotonin which acts as a natural anti-depressant. And finally it also contains theobromine and caffeine which act as stimulants for a quick little pick-me up when needed.

     Chocolate should always be eaten in moderation as it does have a high fat content however most of these fats are considered to be the healthy kind, so go ahead, and indulge a little.

     Happy Valentines Day! ♥

 

Bill Walker-Author of Visus

A Google Search of Multiple Sclerosis

     Google Search Page

     Do you remember the Dr. Hook song on the cover of the Rolling Stone where the group sings about what it would be like to see their smiling faces on the cover of The Rolling Stone Magazine? Well, hopefully you do, because I have my own set of lyrics to the same song. I just want to see my words of wisdom on the front page of the Google search!

 

     If you ever have Googled multiple sclerosis the first thing you will notice is that there are more than 22,500,000 results that you can search. In my case I just wanted to see how far I would have to go to find something that I had written that might have made it to the top of that list. And, so I don’t keep you in suspense, the answer is zero in the first 26 pages. However, briefly, here is what I did find in those first 26 pages.

     The first honor on the top of the very first search page goes to The National MS Society with an article entitled, What is MS? Fair enough, can’t argue much with that. The second one goes to the Mayo Clinic and an overview about MS. And the third one down was from Web MD with a similar article. And I found that all three were pretty good as general information for anyone who was just starting their search about multiple sclerosis and what we currently know about the disease, which is still very darn little.

     The first page is rounded out by other sites that explore current treatments, new treatments, and ongoing research for the cure. The most humorous title on the first page or at least the one that made me laugh (Could Canada cause multiple sclerosis?) Which actually explores why ms rates are so much higher, by percentage, in Canada then seemingly anywhere else in the world. Which as I recall from previous things that I have written, both Ireland and Scotland might dispute? Interesting side note here, I have multiple sclerosis, and with a last name of Walker I am also of Scottish heritage so maybe Scotland causes multiple sclerosis? LOL

     The second page of results is much the same as the first but also has a few entries from medical journals about early warning signs and how to manage the disease.

     The third page of results is where you start to see more specific studies concerning MS. One discussed in depth why vitamin D might be a major factor in the early onset of the disease and another discussed how melatonin may be a major point of significant research in the near future. The rest of the links on this page seemed more about the soaring and outrageous costs of MS drugs and whether or not they are really all that effective especially from the cost standpoint.

     The fourth page primarily covered new studies outside of the United States but they really didn’t seem to offer a whole lot of information that I found to be new or exciting above what I already knew. What was interesting about the fifth page was a link that discussed the increase in multiple sclerosis diagnosis’ in Baby Boomers of which I belong to as well. And now that I think about it I have three risk factors for MS, I live on the boarder of Canada, I’m Scottish by heritage, and I’m  Baby Boomer, no wonder I have this autoimmune disorder! I should have known.

     After the fifth page most of the links are just repeats or updated links from past. Although Jack Osbourn gets a link at the bottom of the page which is kind of funny since he beats Ann Romney by two pages. Ann Romney makes an appearance on page seven with a link to her site. And really that’s about it all the way through to page twenty six which was a lot of searching and very disappointing. I mean common, you would think at least one of my blog entries would have found its way into the top twenty six pages, since there is also a lot of junk mixed in there as well.

     Alright Goggle here’s your chance; sing it with me, to put my words of wisdom on The Front Cover of the Google search!

 

Bill Walker

Like my writing? Want to read my first novel about a pod of Killer Whales traveling up the Pacific Coast of North America? Here’s the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Visus-William-C-Walker-ebook/dp/B00U8ZN4GE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427573378&sr=8-1&keywords=Visus

 

 

 

 

 

MS Countdown to the CURE

   

Santa at the Mall

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

      Everyone already knows that cracking the code for the cure of multiple sclerosis is something akin to putting all the right colors back in all the right places on a Rubik’s cube on the very first try. It can take months, or perhaps even years, to figure the right sequence of turns before you finally get it right. In my case I never did get my cube back to its beginning point. I think it still lingers at the bottom of a box somewhere in a closet?

     Fortunately, MS researchers have more patience than I do, and if you’ve been paying attention to recent studies you would also have noticed that major pieces of the puzzle are finally starting to fall into place when it comes to understanding and eventually curing multiple sclerosis. And in this first case, it happened almost by mistake.

     Many researchers over the years have believed that MS has some kind of link to a viral infection of some kind. But viruses are incredibly difficult to see even with our advanced medical technology. And it’s only been in the very recent past that we have finally been able to unlock some of the very basic properties of viruses giving us the ability to fight back against them. And in this case it was a different virus, the one that causes Aids which may have finally taken us a giant leap forward to understanding multiple sclerosis.

     Just a few weeks back the following story was released about a woman over in England who had a rather severe case of multiple sclerosis which she had lived with for many years however this doesn’t seem to have affected her sex drive to any great extent leading her to a night of unprotected sex. A few days after her encounter she found out that her partner may well have been HIV positive sending her to her family physician in a panicked state. Her doctor immediately started her on a cocktail of powerful antiviral IV drugs that have shown great potential in knocking out the HIV virus especially when started right after the initial possible infection.

     In a matter of days after her release from the hospital this woman who had been using a wheelchair for several years suddenly found herself able to get up and walk short distances. And after a few weeks she noticed both her strength and energy levels returning to what she felt was a much more normal level where she was able to walk much greater distances as well as even climb stairs with the help of a cane. She also experienced rapid improvement in her eyesight which had required the use of prescription glasses for many years.

     This all happened a little over a year ago and she has continued to improve and regain a great deal of normal function ever since. In fact her improvement has been so startling that doctors and researchers in England, Australia, and North America have all started the process of putting together clinical trials to see if these results can be duplicated.

     On a different front doctors and researchers are starting to unlock not only the secrets to repairing the myelin sheathing that protects the nerve pathways but also finding a number of very cheap drugs that help the bodies own ability to do just that with out the need of stem cells. Which in their own right are also showing great promise in the treatment of not only MS but many other ailments as well, including the repair of major organs like heart muscle tissue.

     And finally, a brand new drug treatment, that has already passed through clinical trials and is waiting for FDA approval, is being called ground breaking in its effectiveness against MS. The drug Ocrelizumab is reversing damage to the nervous system most likely by remyelination in the central nervous system, though further research is still needed to prove this. However patients in the study are claiming and showing vast improvement from their previous symptoms. And FDA approval could come sometime early in 2016.

     These recent stories give me tremendous hope that the cure for not only MS, but perhaps many if not all of the disorders that are classified as autoimmune diseases, might soon be a thing of the past!

 By Bill Walker

Like my writing? My debut novel Visus that follows a pod of killer whales up the North American Coast is now for sale. The link to buy it is: http://www.amazon.com/Visus-William-C-Walker-ebook/dp/B00U8ZN4GE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427573378&sr=8-1&keywords=Visus

MS and Beyond Wants Your Rants and Raves

   

The Sun through a black screen!

The Sun captured through a black screen!

 Do you have a rant or a rave that you would like to share with everyone? And it can be about anything not just Multiple Sclerosis. If so you can either use the comments section on facebook to express how you feel, or you can email it to the email address below and I’ll save them up for a rant and rave post in the future.

     Perhaps you have a rant or rave that you just have to get out but would rather do it and remain anonymous? That’s fine as well just make sure that you let me know that your message is anonymous and I’ll make sure that I delete your email right after a save the content of your message that you want me to share. When I get enough comments I will post them in a future post.

     Easy enough now hit me with your best shot!

 

msandbeyond@gmail.com

 

  1. I’ll start with a rant. My last post about Protandim brought with it a number of comments, some positive many negative. The positive ones swear by it, the negative ones say they tried it and it did nothing, or that, it is just another scam supplement to make money off of Multiple Sclerosis. Hard to know, HUH!

MS and How Drug Companies Can Profit from Outdated Counts

     

A Fairy holding a Wolf puppy

My kind of Tooth Fairy!

     Visa recently commissioned a study to find out just how much parents where giving their young children for each baby tooth that they lost? It turns out, quite a bit. On average each child was receiving $3.19 per tooth. That in it self kind of blew me away because I think fifty some odd years ago I was getting a dime to maybe a quarter per tooth. Times certainly have changed.

     Now you’re probably asking yourself, what does the Tooth Fairy have to do with multiple sclerosis? And truth be told, very darn little actually. However there is one big irony that I have discussed before in a couple of my posts here regarding, MS by the numbers, and how these numbers just do not add up. 

     It seems strange to me that Visa would spend money commissioning a survey, or study about baby teeth, but large corporate drug companies seem to have little if any interest in finding out just how many people in America and around the globe really have multiple sclerosis? Let’s face it, these corporate drug giants are raking in hundreds of millions, perhaps billons, of dollars on these horrifically expensive drugs so you would think it would be to their advantage to know just where the incidence and higher numbers of MS patients are around the world and where their future profits might lie?

     Apparently though, they are satisfied in using numbers that were collected some twenty to thirty years ago, and they are still quoting those numbers today, as I have read recent drug company pamphlets where these very same numbers are still being used. If you don’t recall, those numbers were something like 450,000 people in the U.S with perhaps two to three million people worldwide having multiple sclerosis, which I believe to be a huge undercount of what the real numbers truly are. But since these numbers were taken so long ago, who knows what they actually are today?

     It makes one wonder why drug companies would not want to update these numbers in light of the possible increased sales potential around the world? Unfortunately, there is a possible financial motive for drug companies to stay with these decades old smaller numbers. If they used larger numbers they fear that this would actually decrease their profits on these drugs because they would have to produce larger batches driving down the overall cost because of the larger patient base that might use them. And because most industrialized nations outside of the U.S. control drug costs at much lower prices then what these drug behemoths want to sell them for. But by keeping the smaller numbers, remember it’s a supply and demand kind of thing, and because of how ridiculously expensive these drugs are, especially in America, drug companies can actually justify making more of these drugs then are really needed and then letting them reach their expiration dates so they can destroy whole batches and claim large tax write offs against what they do sell, increasing their profits on the back end as well.

     Greed in its truest form, they got you coming, and going. And the saddest part of all, the insurance industry probably knows that they do this and says nothing about it to protect their own bottom line, because drug companies are probably heavily invested in them as well!  

MS and Melatonin for Sleep

     Melatonin bottles surrounded by mermaidsA couple of months ago I took part in a survey about melatonin and if I felt it had any positive benefits for people with multiple sclerosis. In the questionnaire I answered that I did take melatonin and it did help me to sleep. I also added that when I first started taking it many years ago I felt that it might be helping in reducing some of the stiffness in my legs but I wasn’t a hundred percent certain either then or now. Back then I was using 3mg nightly and then would sometimes add an extra 3mg dose on particularly bad nights.

     Recently I also read that melatonin is now considered safe at larger doses of up to 10 mg a night and it may also have some anti-inflammatory properties as well. And I must admit, as the years have gone by I have upped my nightly dose to 5 mg at bedtime with an additional 5 mg if I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep. I also have an anti-spastic drug Cyclobenzaprine that I can take if I feel the need but I worry about becoming addicted to it over the long haul so I don’t like taking it very often. But I sure do sleep deeply when I do take it. And in the spring I often also add 25mg of Benadryle before bedtime when the trees start to pollinate because of a severe allergic reaction to certain trees. That also helps as well for sleeping, though the survey was only concerned about melatonin.

     I don’t know when the results of this survey will be made public but I am more than curious to see what it has to say? As the survey did hint that there may be some added benefits for people who suffer from multiple sclerosis who also take melatonin on a regular basis, beyond its ability to help in falling asleep, but it didn’t elaborate. We’ll see?

MS COULD SCIENCE HAVE IT ALL WRONG

   

Spider Web between trees

Natures own Dream Catcher

      When I was in high school, all of those many decades ago, we were taught that each cell in the human body would eventually die off and over a period of seven years every cell in your body would replace itself with a new cell. I assume that is still true even though many things have been changed since that prehistoric time of the early to mid 1970’s.

     Recently I have read in quite a few new studies concerning multiple sclerosis that researchers are starting to believe that after the first major attack or exacerbation the body actually repairs most of the damage to the myelin sheath causing a period of near normal function without any further symptoms. In my case, I experienced a period of almost six years before my next attack, which was far worse then the first attack. And reading this just makes me wonder if perhaps doctors and researchers might not be looking at this from the right perspective?

     What if the immune system is doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing by cleaning out these myelin cells as they die off but it’s our body’s ability to replace these cells with new ones that is the problem? This would far better explain, in my opinion at least, why almost no two individuals with multiple sclerosis experience the disease in the same way with the same symptoms.

     If this were true it could also explain why some people have a benign form of this disease because there body might retain a larger portion of its ability to regenerate then say people who have a more progressive form of the disease where they may have lost the ability to regenerate new cells at all with in the central nervous system.

     And of course it’s very possible that my little theory here is completely wrong but it does bring me to believing that, “I really don’t care what causes MS”. I would really much rather see science and researchers spend their research dollars on ways to repair the myelin sheathing because I can live with having this disease. I just don’t want to have to live with the symptoms of having this disease!

Does that make sense?

MS AND MS LIKE DISEASES IN DOGS AND CATS

 

     Mountain woodsA recent MS study suggested that people who grew up with cats during most of their lives appeared to have a less aggressive form of multiple sclerosis then those people who didn’t grow up with cats. However, on the flip side of that, back in the eighties there were researchers who also thought that one possible contributing factor in developing MS may have been a bacteria/virus found in cat feces that people were getting from cleaning their cats liter boxes. In the years, and from several studies done since, that connection has never been proven as being true even though that bacteria is very real and anyone with MS, or otherwise, should take precautions when cleaning cat liter boxes as it would more than likely make your MS symptoms even worse were you to contract that nasty bug as well as being difficult to get rid of.

     And surprisingly enough dogs have their very own disease that is very similar to multiple sclerosis called, Degenerative Myelopathy or DM, as it is often referred to as. And just like MS this disease is considered to be an auto-immune disorder with many of the same symptoms in dogs, as their human MS sufferers experience, but no link has ever been found that even remotely connects these two diseases. And finally, dogs are also prone to a degenerative disc disorder that can mimic some of the symptoms of MS but this can usually be treated with surgery in the more extreme cases.

     Degenerative Myelopathy, again like multiple sclerosis, has no cure and progressively gets worse just like MS. The only treatment for DM that seems to help hold this disorder at bay is taking your dog for long walks and even somewhat extreme workouts with their toys as physical activity appears to slow the progression of DM significantly in many cases. And what is a bit strange about that, is that Neurologists are starting to believe the exact same thing about people suffering from MS, that a sedentary lifestyle may be the worst thing for multiple sclerosis sufferers over the long turn.  

     Do cats and dogs offer any real health benefits to people with MS? It turns out that; “yes!” they offer a whole host of beneficial health enhancing benefits. If you have a dog I am pretty sure that many of you are aware of the need to walk your dog several times a day for potty trips and so dogs can use their social skills by smelling trees, sign posts, street lights and anything else that lies in their usual walking path which also helps lower high blood pressure in the person doing the walking. I recently had a friends dog and got several workouts everyday which I’m sure my Neurologist would have loved to know if I had told him as he is constantly telling me that I am physically able to do more than I currently do. And that dog also liked to play rough, so I was the one who had to adjust to the extra workout, not him.

     And yes cats provide their own unique health benefits for their human companions.It has been shown in lab studies that just having a cat around can reduce the stress related chemicals that humans experience throughout any given day. And it’s also been proven that when a cat purrs it actually reduces the blood pressure in any human that is in ear shot of their kitty. And that drop can be as much as twenty points according to some studies and that’s very significant for someone like me who has high blood pressure. And yes, one of my best friend’s, is my eighteen year old cat, Lucky!

Cat on Chair

Lucky!

     In conclusion, if you have MS or any disease that causes you to feel lost and alone I can not stress enough how much having a pet can help you through the hard times. If you can and don’t already have a pet, and if you don’t suffer from allergies, please consider going to your local shelter and see if you can’t hook yourself up with a forever four legged companion. I honestly think that it could be the best treatment you ever got for all of your ills!

*****

I’m requesting stories from any and all of you who have ever had a pet die and than return in any way to let you know that they survived death and came back to ease your fears about their crossing. I think I’m going to write a book about pets surviving death as I have had like at least three of my pets return after death to comfort me after their transition.

What I would like for you to do is to first write the experience you had out in long hand and put it down for a day, or a little while, and then type it out and send it to me at the email address below. If and when I write the book I will certainly let everyone know especially if their story made it into the book. This is kind of a nonscientific study that I am undertaking so I would love to hear from you all if you’ve got a story to tell. The reason for having you write it out twice is that usually after you write something once and wait a little bit your mind starts to recall the experience and you often remember more than you did in your first draft. And I want the stories to be as in-depth as they possibly can be.

Please send your stories to: wc.walker@yahoo.com

Thank you in advance. And please ask around family and friends to see if they have stories to contribute. Please put, Pets surviving Death, in the subject box!