Living with Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis: Enhance Your Physical and Mental Health
Living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) may pose specific challenges to the patient’s wellbeing. That doesn’t mean their quality of life has to suffer. While there is currently no cure for MS, many patients can have a long and meaningful future to look forward to. Some internal aspects during the progression of MS may be out of the patient’s control, but altering a few environmental factors can make a difference. Certain lifestyle changes may help to control or ease many of the symptoms of MS, improving both physical and mental health.
An MS patient is in for a long road. A positive attitude is one of the best ways to navigate that path. Some ways to keep a happy and healthy outlook include:
- Individual counseling from a therapist or joining a support group gives the patient the opportunity to talk about their feelings and fears. A therapist can offer guidance to help the patient gain back a sense of control over the illness. A support group will bring together others living with MS and gain insight into how they handle challenges. For many, a group setting helps them to see they are not alone.
- Writing down thoughts in a journal or diary is a healthy way to express frustrations. Sharing these thoughts with a doctor who can help the patient work through them is also an important step in moving forward to a more positive viewpoint.
- MS comes with many uncertainties. The MS patient who is proactive in educating themselves about the illness will have less fear and anxiety. The patient will ultimately feel more prepared and create the sense that they have some control over changes that may happen down the road.
Make a Healthy Diet A Priority
There is no magical diet that has been found to prevent or cure MS. However, studies suggest that maintaining a low-fat diet may help to ease inflammation symptoms. A healthy diet should include whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Consume plenty of plant-based oils and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which are found in tuna, salmon and mackerel. It is best to avoid high-fat dairy products or foods high in saturated fat. Taking a vitamin A or D supplement has shown some positive findings among a few patients. However, more studies are needed and nothing has yet been found conclusive.
Create An Exercise Plan
A healthy mind and body go together to create a more positive future. MS sufferers will benefit from a consistent exercise routine to increase overall mobility. Each patient’s needs and ability level may differ. Therefore, the individual should create a plan with their doctor to avoid muscle strain that will lead to increased pain.
- Doctor and patient should consider the patients symptoms, endurance level and overall health limitations when creating a fitness routine.
- Find a workout routine that is enjoyable. If it is viewed as a chore, most people will give up soon after. Yoga and water exercises, such as swimming have been found to be fun and effective for those with MS.
- Avoid working out during the hottest part of the day. Symptoms tend to get worse for an MS patient when the body temperature rises. Drink plenty of water and takes regular breaks to avoid overheating.
There are many unknowns when it comes to Multiple Sclerosis. Having the ability to place a few of the pieces into the puzzle may lessen the fear and frustrations many MS patients experience. There are ways to take back some control of the body to move forward in a happy and healthy way.