10 tips for staying healthy with MS

Medication Management Diet and Fitness


Want to maintain your ability? Here are 10 things you can do right now to reduce MS symptoms, stay healthy and feel great.

1. Get regular exercise
Exercise can improve your strength and flexibility. It can lessen pain and boost your energy. These benefits of exercise can help you maintain your ability, allowing to you function as you currently do. Some exercises help with balance. Regular exercise also lifts your mood. When you exercise, don't get overheated or push until you're exhausted. Another tip: Choose something you enjoy doing, whether it's swimming or nature walks, and you'll be more likely to stick with it. Make sure you check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.

2. Eat a balanced diet
Eating properly can increase your energy and lower your risk of health problems. Avoid foods high in saturated or trans fats. Have at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and make sure you're getting enough fibre and protein. Don't skip snacks, but do make sure they're high in nutrition. Follow Canada's Food Guide for recommendations on healthy eating.

3. Maintain a healthy weight
Weight gain puts you at risk for illness and disease. The extra weight also forces your heart and lungs to work harder, and puts strain on your joints. A healthy weight, on the other hand, leaves you with more energy and makes it easier for you to move around, allowing you to maintain your ability. If you want to lose weight, take it one step at a time so it's not an overwhelming task. Add just a little more exercise every day, or improve the nutrition of just one meal or snack at first.

4. Get enough sleep
Many people with MS say that fatigue interferes with their daily lives more than any other symptom, limiting their ability to do things they normally do. Make sure you schedule enough time for a good night's sleep. Go to bed and get up at the same times every day so your body gets used to a regular sleep routine. During the day, drink at least 8 glasses of water to stay hydrated, and you'll feel less tired. Pace yourself with your activities and plan for breaks.

5. Avoid alcohol and tobacco
Limit your intake of alcohol. Drinking alcohol may make symptoms of MS more noticeable. It may also interfere with your medications. And if you smoke, try to quit. Non-smokers are healthier than smokers and have a lower risk of many types of diseases. Some research also suggests that smoking may also speed up the progression of MS, making it harder to achieve the goal of delaying disability in MS.

6. Reduce stress
Learn to relax. Stress doesn't make anyone feel good, with or without MS. Some people say their MS symptoms get worse when they're under stress. Instead of keeping your emotions bottled up, talk about them with family or friends, or with a therapist. You can also manage stress by deep breathing, taking up yoga, simplifying your life... whatever works for you.

7. See your doctor regularly
You should follow up with your neurologist, the specialist who is treating your MS, regularly and discuss any concerns you have about MS with him. Your neurologist can also offer information on treatment options for MS and what you can do to live healthy with MS. But also be sure to schedule a physical check-up with your family doctor once every year. This way, any concerns about your general health can be caught and discussed early, before they become bigger problems. Your doctor can also offer you advice on managing MS-related symptoms.

8. Learn about your MS
Find out what you can about the type of MS you have, how it can affect you, what you can expect down the road, and what you can do to prevent MS progression and to delay disability. This information will help you choose the best ways to manage your MS. It will also help prepare you to deal with anything that arises. Bring lists of questions to your doctor visits, and get information from agencies that serve people with MS.

9. Get early treatment
Do what you can to slow down your MS early. If you can prevent or delay nerve damage, you can slow down disability. There are medications available that have been shown to delay disability and reduce the frequency of relapses. Talk to your doctor about the various options for treating your MS and staying ahead of the game.

10. Take your medication regularly
If you decide to start a medication to reduce MS symptoms, be sure to take it regularly, as recommended by your doctor. Make it a part of your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth. Taking your medication regularly is the best way to ensure it will be as effective as possible in the long run to help maintain your ability.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/10-Tips-for-Staying-Healthy-with-MS