Multiple Sclerosis Ms Self Care

People living with multiple sclerosis (MS) or those who have been newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis might feel overwhelmed at the thought of living with a chronic disease. However, there are some simple steps you can take and changes you can make in you daily life to dramatically improve your quality of life and slow the progression of multiple sclerosis.

For example, by simply eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and getting exercise, you can greatly reduce your multiple sclerosis symptoms.

Self-Care Tips for Multiple Sclerosis

No matter if your multiple sclerosis is mild or severe, there are steps you can take to improve your quality of life. Here are a few tips:

  • Eat a Healthy Diet: Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet can help keep your immune system strong. When shopping for groceries, be sure to load up your cart with plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoid buying food that is high in fat and cholesterol. Also, drink plenty of water throughout the day in order to stay hydrated.
  • Get Plenty of Exercise: As people with multiple sclerosis often suffer from weak muscles, poor balance and coordination and depression, doctors suggest people suffering from mild to moderate MS should get some form of regular aerobic exercise on a regular basis. If you have multiple sclerosis, you might want to try swimming, as it is easy on your joints. You could also use an elliptical machine or practice stretching techniques. When exercising, be sure to avoid becoming overheated, as that could cause muscle weakness. Of course, you should always talk to your doctor before beginning any type of exercise regimen.
  • Get Plenty of Rest: Fatigue is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis, so be sure you get enough sleep every night. Most doctors recommend six to eight hours. Also, if you feel tired during the day, take a nap. If you have problems sleeping at night, avoid consuming caffeine during the day, as it can interfere with your sleep. Also, avoid exercising directly before your bedtime, as it can also keep you alert.
  • Keep Your Cool: Since many people with multiple sclerosis experience worse symptoms in the heat, try to stay as cool as possible. To do this, try to keep your house at a comfortable temperature. If you live in a temperate climate, keep the windows open and run some fans to keep a breeze flowing through your home. If you live in a hot, humid area, you might need to consider investing in an air conditioning unit.
  • Stay out of the Heat: Exposure to extreme heat can cause severe muscle weakness. Always shade yourself in the sun and carry cool drinks to help cool your body temperature. Also, avoid saunas. While some people might be able to take warm baths and enjoy sauna sessions, others could experience extreme muscle weakness. Never get into a tub or sauna alone until you know how you will react. In the event that you do become overheated, drink plenty of cool fluids and take a cool bath. After a few hours, your body temperature and muscles should return to normal.

Resources

Mayo Clinic Staff (2006). Multiple sclerosis: Self-care. Retrieved June 20, 2007, from the Mayo Clinic Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/multiple-sclerosis/DS00188/DSECTION=8.