8 Simple Tips For Living A Better Life With MS
My symptoms began in 2007 while I was on vacation in Florida. Little did I know at that time that my world would change forever with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. I have experienced an array of symptoms and have found some fairly successful habits I have used to help offset the side effects of MS. Here are some simple tips for living a better life with MS:
Walk every day
One of the goals I have for myself is to walk every single day without exception. Evelina and I have a dog and he requires being walked which guarantees I’ll be outside at some point taking a stroll. For those who cannot walk I recommend standing up and sitting down or maybe doing leg and arm lifts. Even if you are confined to a wheelchair, you can do some type of physical activity.
Educate yourself on nutrition
I have found that shedding fat off my body helps with symptom flare-ups and pain. So I eat a lot of vegetables, very little junk food (if any) and only good types of fat. I see so many people trying to fight a disease while putting horrible foods in their body. Why not give your body a fighting chance? Some of the common sense things to eliminate immediately: processed foods, sugar, all fast foods, fried foods, sodas and sugary drinks. One of the most common mistakes I see being made is people who think they understand nutrition who do possess the knowledge about what is and what isn’t healthy. For a small fee you can hire a nutritionist to construct an eating regimen right for you and your MS symptoms and I highly recommend you not pretend to know, but rely on an expert so you truly know how to eat; sometimes this is covered by your insurance too!
Simply put, smoking destroys your body. Smoking also causes plaque to build up in the blood which sticks to the walls of arteries making them narrower; this reduces blood flow and increases the risk of developing blood clots. Smoking also narrows the arteries, which restricts blood flow as well as causing blood pressure problems. Lastly, smoking makes it more difficult to exercise with a body that already makes exercise challenging.
Don’t abuse alcohol
There are a couple primary reasons why I don’t drink much alcohol: 1. it affects the central nervous system which impairs my ability to balance, and 2. alcohol and MS induced depression do not mix well. Maybe a glass of wine occasionally, but don’t use alcohol regularly.
Build your support team with positive people
When I was first diagnosed I followed the advice of a friend and I visited a support group. It was awful and I stopped attending. I know lots of people who join support groups, but I found them to be a “woe is me” group. People sat around and talked about all of their problems and almost none of the time was used to discuss how to live a better life. The sessions made more sad then edified. None of the talking focused on exercise, eating better or developing positive life habits. Since that time I have realized my success has come largely in part to the fact that I have had positive people around me. People who really support me by carrying me when I need it, but also push me when I need to be pushed. Remember, you might be in a true fight for your life so do you want negative or positive people around you in this type of struggle?
Find a great neurologist
This is easier said than done because “great” has many meanings to different people. For me here are the attributes that make one doctor better than another. A great neurologist must be a great listener who takes all of your concerns into consideration for the treatment plan. He or she must also be focused on more than prescribing medications like acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, alternative medicines, spiritual edification and much more. If your doctor focuses only on medication it might be time to look for a new doctor as there is so much more to treatment than just medicines. If you need a new neurologist I would start my research by Googling “tips to choose a neurologist” and go from there.
Focus on total-body treatment mind/body/spirit
If you doctor is medicine-focused then you need to take upon yourself to focus on whole-body treatment for yourself. A few practices that I can recommend are meditation, chiropractic, massage, exercise, Soduko/crossword puzzles, acupuncture and mental therapy. If you only focus on your body, then you will end up neglecting the other areas of You that are crucial to keep healthy during your fight.
Don’t stop living life
I think this is one of the toughest recommendations for me because I struggle with living life. I tend to not make plans with friends because I never know how I’m going to feel. I struggle with social anxiety and get extremely worn-out by interacting with people. I’m usually asleep by 9 pm so socializing can be a struggle. With this said I realize it isn’t good for me nor is it fair to my wife to be confined to the house. With all of this said I think it is important to get out of the house even if only to get to the park and go for a short stroll. I think it is important to do things and push yourself instead of letting your body dictate to you that you will do nothing. Take a trip to the movies or go for a walk or stroll at the park. Visit a friend or go to the mall. Getting outside is critical.
Living with any disease isn’t easy and a cure for MS might be near, but it doesn’t exist right now. Because of this I believe it is essential to do everything in one’s power to develop habits that will make life a bit easier when living with Multiple Sclerosis. Success is the accumulation over time of the effects of small daily habits. I hope this helps in some small way.
Have a great Saturday!