I've often wondered why MS rates are high in higher altitude locales like Colorado and the alps...especially since UV rays and vitamin D levels are higher in these places. Came across some articles on brain changes in mountain climbers, and then found some research on endothelial changes at high altitudes.
For people not born at high altitude, a move or relocation to a higher altitude can stress the endothelial structure...an extreme example of this reaction is high altitude pulmonary edema-
High-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) is characterized by excessive pulmonary vasoconstriction and is associated with decreased concentrations of nitric oxide (NO) in the lung Conclusions: Hypoxia markedly impairs vascular endothelial function in the systemic circulation in HAPE-S subjects due to a decreased bioavailability of NO. Impairment of the NO pathway could contribute to the enhanced hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction that is central to the pathogenesis of HAPE.
There is vasoconstriction at high altitudes for people who are not native to the locale. Sherpas and Tibetans have been shown to have a different genetic makeup which allows them to synthesize more NO- and reduce vasoconstriction-
Genetic contribution of the endothelial nitric oxide synthase gene to high altitude adaptation in sherpas.
I wonder if people who move to higher altitudes may experience more severe MS symptoms and flares, and be more likely diagnosed as MS, because of the stress on their endothelial structure.
Jeff was in Salt Lake City for a week before his first major flare....
Husband dx RRMS 3/07
dx dual jugular vein stenosis (CCSVI) 4/09
dual stents placed 5/09
CCSVI in MS