LACK of Vitamin D and smoking are among the leading causes behind a surge in multiple sclerosis cases in the Malaga region, say local doctors.
The number of annual diagnoses has doubled from 600 some 20 years ago to around 1,200 today.
Now, local doctors have issued advice on how to prevent the debilitating disease, including soaking up the sun more and smoking less.
It comes after a 2017 study in the Neurology journal found that women who had deficient levels of vitamin D – defined in the study as fewer than 30 nanomoles per litre – were more likely to develop MS.
Several other studies have shown that smoking not only increases the risk of developing MS but also the severity of the disease and its speed of progression.
Neurologist Oscar Fernandez also advises eating more fish, vegetables and fruit.
Following the advice is no guarantee you will not be diagnosed with MS, given that doctors still don’t know how big a part is played by genetics – but it may at least delay triggering the disease or reducing its severity.
There are currently 8,000 MS sufferers in Andalucia, two thirds of them women.
MS is also the second highest cause of impairment among young people after traffic accidents, and 70% of diagnoses each year occur among people aged between 20 and 40.
MS is a chronic disease which can affect the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves leading to a reduction in vision, balance, muscle control and other basic bodily functions.