10 Tips For Living Well With Multiple Sclerosis


Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that has the potential to disrupt the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord. Myelin sheath, a protective fatty layer surrounding nerve fibers plays a vital role in facilitating the quick and efficient transmission of signals along nerve cells. However, in the case of MS, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the myelin sheath causing disruption in communication issues between the brain and the rest of the body. As a result, individuals with MS may experience difficulties in transmitting signals effectively.

MS is characterized by symptoms including fatigue, cognitive challenges, emotional burdens, and physical limitations, to name a few. These symptoms have a significant influence on the social lives of MS patients, greatly impacting their overall quality of life.

Don’t guess, consult a doctor for MS diagnosis and treatment.

Globally, the 30th of May each year is marked as World Multiple Sclerosis Day to recognize the profound impact of this disease on the economic, social, and cultural aspects. It is observed as an opportunity to foster acceptance and provide unwavering support to those affected by this condition. The MS International Federation proposed the MS Connections theme intending to build connections within the community, promote self-connection, and facilitate access to quality care [1].

Here are some tips to help overcome the complexities of living with multiple sclerosis:

1. Stay active, find your groove: Exercise boosts strength, fitness, and posture while easing pain and fatigue in people with MS. Aerobics enhance heart health and combat fatigue. Try everyday tasks like gardening or walking a dog. Discover adaptive sports at local centers like water or aquatic exercise, tai chi, etc. Indulge in swimming for full-body movement. Yoga offers balance, flexibility, and stress relief and is best suitable for anyone with MS [2].

2. Follow a healthy diet: Embrace a balanced and nutritious diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, to support overall health and manage MS symptoms. While there’s no confirmed diet to alter the course of MS, experts suggest cooking homemade meals whenever feasible, opting for whole grains over refined grains, and minimizing processed foods and added sugars can help live with MS [3].

3. Manage stress: In individuals with RRMS (relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis), sustained emotional stress, as opposed to brief periods of stress, has the potential to instigate a relapse. Persistent and prolonged stress keeps the immune system in a heightened state of alertness. However, it is not solely stress that directly leads to the issue; instead, it is our stress reaction [4]. Practicing stress management techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in hobbies and activities that bring you joy can help with stress reduction, positively impacting MS symptoms.

4. Prioritize sleep: Ensure you get adequate rest and quality sleep, as fatigue is a common symptom of MS. Sleep disturbances are commonly experienced by individuals with MS, manifesting as insomnia, nocturia (frequent nighttime urination), narcolepsy, and restless legs syndrome, affecting more than half of MS patients [5]. However, implementing good sleep practices can enhance sleep quality for those with MS. Consistently adhering to a sleep schedule, establishing a comfortable sleep environment, and refraining from stimulating activities before bedtime are effective strategies that individuals with MS can adopt to improve their sleep.

5. Reach out: Connect with support groups, and online forums, where you can freely express concerns and find solace among others who may share similar experiences. Access stories, and valuable information, and engage in discussions.

6. Communicate with healthcare professionals: Maintain open and regular communication with your healthcare team, including neurologists, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists, to address any concerns and optimize your treatment plan.

7. Boost Cognitive Health: Engaging in mentally stimulating and challenging activities fosters personal growth, creativity, and problem-solving. Just as physical exercise benefits the body, mental stimulation keeps the mind active and alert, even in the face of aging or MS-related changes. MS can impact cognitive functions, with about 65% experiencing changes in areas like processing speed, memory, and attention [6]. It’s necessary to inform your healthcare provider about any perceived thinking changes for a thorough assessment and appropriate management plan.

8. Personalize your surroundings: MS symptoms can arise suddenly presenting challenges for patients in navigating through the physical surroundings. Making necessary modifications to your home and workspace can help enhance accessibility, reduce physical strain, and promote independence. Keep essential items within easy reach, install safety features in bathrooms and showers, and reduce clutter to mitigate the risk of falls.

9. Stay informed: Keep up-to-date with the latest research and advancements in MS treatments, as well as supportive resources available to you. Empower yourself through knowledge and make informed decisions regarding your health.

10. Practice self-care: Take charge of your health and well-being, with assistance from your care team. Inculcate in self-care activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Whether it’s engaging in hobbies, practicing mindfulness, or enjoying time with loved ones, nurturing your well-being is crucial [7].

Implement these helpful tips to conquer the art of thriving with multiple sclerosis through proper management, support, and a positive mindset.

(The article is written by Dr.Subita Alagh, Senior Executive, and reviewed by Monalisa Deka, Senior Health Content Editor)

1.World MS Day

World MS Day

2. Exploring Recreational Activities
3. Diet and Nutrition
4.Stress and Multiple Sclerosis
5.Tips for Living Better with MS
6. Cognitive Health
7.Living with Multiple sclerosis

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