The study, “Cardiovascular conditions in persons with multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica and transverse myelitis,” was published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.
Like all demyelinating diseases, MS is marked by damage to the protective cover – called myelin – that surrounds nerve fibers in the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord.
Two other diseases, neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), and transverse myelitis (TM), are also demyelinating disorders of the central nervous system. But the three have widely different clinical characteristics, and comorbidities — while common in MS patients — have not been studied extensively in NMOSD and TM.
Researchers with Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, investigated the prevalence of cardiovascular conditions like hypertension in a group of MS, NMOSD, and TM patients in the U.S. Cardiovascular conditions, even those that develop in people with other diseases (as a comorbidity), are generally considered modifiable through diet and exercise. But few large-scale studies have looked into their prevalence or burden in people with demyelinating diseases.
Those that have suggest that cardiovascular conditions are either as prevalent or more prevalent in people with MS and NMOSD than healthy people.