Consejos para una vida con esclerosis múltiple (EM)

Living with multiple sclerosis means you will have to make some changes in your life, including managing your personal care. These are as important as your medical treatment!

According to the neurologist
Le Hua, MDThe sooner you address lifestyle issues, the easier it will be to manage your symptoms or even slow your progress.

Nutrition

Healthy nutrition promotes healthy foods and limits unhealthy ones, such as processed foods high in fat and sugar. Hua recommends the Mediterranean diet as a good eating plan for most people with MS. Not only does it focus on healthy foods, but it is also considerably affordable. The recommended foods son, among others:

  • fruit
  • vegetables
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Pastas, cereals and whole grain breads
  • Beans
  • Nuts and grains
  • Seafood and poultry
  • olive oil

Exercise

It may seem that exercising or increasing physical activity would increase the fatigue caused by MS. However, exercise actually reduces fatigue and increases your endorphins, the hormones that “make you feel good.” What you should do after your MS diagnosis depends on the level of fitness you had before your MS diagnosis. If you used to participate in marathons and if you go to the gym every day, continuing at that level is helpful. If you have never exercised, start doing physical activities gradually. Even walking around the block is helpful. Remember, working on your core is helpful for balance and reducing falls. Some activities that can improve the physical condition of your torso are:

  • Yoga
  • pilates
  • Exercises with resistance bands
  • stretching

dream

sleep with MS

Many people with MS feel very tired. Not getting enough sleep causes even more fatigue, but sleep problems due to MS can have different causes:

  • Distress, especially right after diagnosis.
  • Pain
  • Getting up frequently to urinate

Things you can do to promote better sleep:

  • Don’t use electronic devices, watch television, exercise, or participate in activities that stimulate your body or mind two to three hours before going to bed.
  • Do something relaxing, such as journaling, coloring, or any activity that calms you down.
  • Take strategic naps that last no more than 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Talk to your doctor if pain or frequent trips to the bathroom keep you awake.

Control your weight

Adipose tissue, also known as fat cells, is inflammatory. This increases the symptoms of MS. Weight loss should be based on how you feel, Hua said, not what the scale shows. So don’t focus on that. Focus more on improving your nutrition and exercise. Contact a nutritionist for guidance and support if needed.

Stop smoking

Smoking worsens the symptoms and outcomes of MS, so quitting the tobacco habit is important. Smoking increases inflammation in your body and also negatively affects MS medications. Quitting smoking can slow the rate of MS progression and reduce relapses. Ask your doctor for help or reach out to support groups. It might take a few tries, but each time, you’ll be a little closer to your goal.

Take care of your mental health

Woman practicing yoga to help with MS.

Whether you journal, meditate, or talk to a mental health professional or support group, taking care of your mental health is an important part of living well with MS.

This educational resource was prepared with the support of Novartis.

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