Multiple Sclerosis can affect your life in many ways and it can be really frustrating to deal with. However, there are ways to live a normal life even with the condition, it’s all about keeping a positive attitude towards life. Think of it as an extra day-to-day challenge. Here are some tips that will help you live better with Multiple Sclerosis:
Eating healthy foods rich in nutrients is recommended for everyone, but it’s especially necessary for people with Multiple Sclerosis. Don’t worry, there’s no set diet that MS patients need to follow, they just need to focus on what their food intake is and adjust accordingly.
A diet that’s low in fat, high in fiber and vitamins can help avoid other diseases like heart diseases and diabetes which make the MS condition even worse. Moreover, it helps boost energy levels and it helps your bladder function properly too. It’s also recommended to have more than three big meals a day by dividing them into smaller meals so that you’re constantly supplying your body with nutrients.
A good diet can go a long way for MS patients as it can help avoid metabolic syndrome, constellation of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, abdominal obesity and insulin resistance, all of which can result in other chronic diseases which patients certainly want to avoid.
There is a lot of research out there that suggests that MS patients who are physically active are much better off than those who don’t because they have improved cardiovascular fitness, increased strength, better bladder and bowel function and generally, a better attitude towards life.
MS patients are able to reap all the benefits of maintaining a lifestyle geared towards physical fitness, and given the amount of mental stress a patient has to go through, working out is one of the best ways to relieve that stress. Apart from the usual workouts, patients can also try Yoga, Tai Chi and water exercise for better stress management, it will pay off in the long run.
Make your life easier, use gadgets
Given the high level of uncertainty with MS, symptoms can strike at any moment which can cause a lot of problems for patients. Therefore, one should always be prepared for everything which is why patients should customize their environments accordingly, so that they are prepared for the worst.
Essentials should always be kept nearby, safety features can be installed in showers and baths to reduce the risk of falls. If food preparation is becoming a hard task then consider purchasing electric can openers and easy-to-use knives. Lightweight shoes can keep you from falling while walking. Last but not least, install hand controls in your car so that you can drive and apply brakes using your hands instead of using your feet.
If patients make their environment easier to navigate, a lot of problems get solved that way. This way, not only are they prepared for the worst, but the easier lifestyle results in less stress for patients too which goes a long way in helping them.
Take care of your sleep
Chronic diseases like Multiple Sclerosis can cause insomnia, leg spasms, and many other problems that render patients unable to sleep. According to Peter Calabresi, M.D., an expert in MS at The Johns Hopkins Hospital:
“Sleep is very much underestimated in brain function. We know there’s a correlation between poor sleep and both Alzheimer’s and MS.”
“It’s hard to tell which comes first, since people with MS have disrupted sleep patterns. There can be early morning awakening caused by depression and nighttime awakenings due to overactive bladder. But we do know that poor sleep correlates with poor daytime cognitive ability, which can affect patients’ ability to cope.”
Always turn to your doctor for help should any problem arise, poor sleep is a huge problem for MS patients and one should always be proactive about it. If you have trouble sleeping, then try listening to relaxing music to fall asleep easier. Yoga, meditation and deep breathing is also a great way to improve your sleep.
It’s also recommended to reduce the time you spend looking at a screen before you got to sleep. Looking at a screen for a long time behind a screen before you sleep can affect your ability to go to sleep at that time. Phone screens emit blue light, which the brain confuses for daylight so it thinks that you need to be awake, which is why sometimes you’re not able to fall asleep. Therefore, try reducing screen time to avoid all these issues.
Reach out, seek help
Mental help is just as important as your physical wellbeing. Sometimes, a person suffering from MS may not be able to cope with how the disease is impacting his/her life. If such a thing is happening to you, it’s highly recommended that you at least talk about it. Just talking about what troubles you can relieve some of the stress you may be facing.
You may also consult mental health professionals who can listen to your problems all day long. They’ll also be able to help you get back on track with your life, as some therapies do help you regain a sense of control over your life. They can also recommend medication to help you feel better if you’re depressed. Again, mental health is not something trivial, consult a professional as soon as possible if you’re suffering from any kind of issues due to MS.
Find a support group: Apart from seeking professional help, another great way to deal with the stress is to find other people who also have MS. Making or joining a support group can be really helpful as it helps you see how other peoples live with the disease so you learn how to handle your condition. You’re also able to share your feelings with other patients in a manner that you may not be able to describe to someone else, because they might not understand as much as the person who’s also suffering from MS. Moreover, it just makes you feel better to know that you’re not alone.