Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable disease, which can make it tough to deal with. Fortunately, there are simple lifestyle changes you can make to help with your MS. When you make these changes, you can better manage your symptoms and control future relapses.
Managing MS and its symptoms can be done with disease-modifying drugs (DMDs), routine exercise, and counseling. DMDs can help to increase the time between relapses. Routine exercise can be done on your own, but at some point you might need professional help. If this is the case, your doctor can refer you to a physical therapist to help create a personalized stretching and exercise routine. If you notice you’re depressed or withdrawing, consider counseling. Counselors are well trained in helping people to cope with MS and the changes it brings.
Relapses are a result of inflammation along the nerves in your central nervous system. This inflammation damages myelin, a coating that covers the nerve cells that transmit signals. These cells are called axons. When the myelin is damaged, the signal is either slowed down or disturbed. Damaged myelin triggers a relapse.
When it comes to managing relapses, taking good care of yourself is important. There are several things you can do to help your overall health and to minimize relapses. Some of these are:
Eat a Healthy Diet
According to the National MS Society, there’s not one specific diet for MS. However, eating a nutritious diet allows your body to function at its best.
Make sure to incorporate foods from across the food groups and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. When you eat a variety of foods, you’re sure to get a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. A high-fiber diet can help with irregularity and constipation.
Get Plenty of Exercise
Exercise has numerous benefits: It keeps your body in top condition and it’s one of the best ways to fight depression. Many people who are diagnosed with MS find they become depressed at one time or another. But don’t think your exercise regimen has to be strenuous. Something as simple as taking a daily walk can help ease your symptoms and your mind.
Keep Stress Levels in Check
Finding out you have MS can be stressful. So can living with it. Stress can be the result of many things. You may feel stressed if you find you can’t do certain tasks as easily as before. If you’re employed, you may also feel stressed if you find going to work to be more challenging.
Exercise and talking with someone, including your doctor or a counselor, can help keep stress levels to a minimum.
Get Plenty of Rest
One symptom of MS is fatigue. One of the best ways to fight fatigue is to get a full night of sleep. But some of your symptoms, like spasms, can keep you awake or even wake you up. If this happens, try taking naps during the day. Also, consider taking a break after exercising. Overall, listen to what your body is telling you.
Good Daily Habits Can Help with Management and Relapses
Taking good care of body and mental health can help you manage MS. It can also help to fight relapses. The sooner you begin to make lifestyle changes, the better. Making simple changes can have big results.