Comorbidity and obesity can delay detection of MS

Obesity and other health problems delay the diagnosis of MS and are associated with increased disability at diagnosis, research shows.

Researchers examined data from 8,983 patients in a US and Canadian MS disease registry.

Patients with obesity or a range of other comorbidities, including diabetes, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and depression were more likely to have experienced a delay in diagnosis of their MS.

Obese patients were 38 per cent more likely to have moderate than mild disease at diagnosis and patients with vascular disease were 51 per cent more likely to be moderately affected.

The researchers say that further work is needed to establish whether a failure to recognise symptoms in patients with comorbidities or an interaction between the disease processes causes this link.

'Practitioners treating patients with chronic diseases should not attribute new neurological signs or symptoms to existing conditions without careful consideration, but this must be balanced against over-investigation,' the researchers said.

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

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