Just like it is the case with many diseases, receiving a new diagnosis can be quite overwhelming and when it comes to multiple sclerosis, people’s feelings and trepidation are common and well-founded. Multiple sclerosis is the most common neurological disease among young adults between the ages of 20 and 40. Almost half a million Americans are currently diagnosed with this condition and the number worldwide is close to two and a half billion. As common as it is, there are still great misconceptions about MS and people often ignore the fact that today’s treatments are an extreme improvement from what we were able to do for patients just 20 years ago, so living with the condition is very different in this day and age. Today here at Joe Cosgrove Blog we want to give you some of the best tips to help understand and cope with your recent diagnosis and show you that making the right lifestyle choices as well as following the recommendations of your physician can go a long way in making the difference and ensuring you a great quality of life.
The importance of diet
What we eat can have a great effect upon our health and the state of our condition; since the food we ingest is the fuel that powers our body and eating is something we do everyday, several times a day. Neurologists understand multiple sclerosis as an inflammatory disease and while there is no such thing as an “MS diet” it is recommended by several experts in the field to eat foods that have anti-inflammatory properties such as whole grain, healthy oils and fruits, and vegetables. Plant-based oils, flaxseed and fish rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are said to help with inflammation. A diet that is low on fat will always be good for your health in general, so eating well can guarantee that your body will be at its best when dealing with MS and the complications that come along with it and the symptoms that the disease presents.
Exercise is good medicine
Moderate physical activity is not just good for strengthening your body and helping you cope with the challenges of multiple sclerosis, but also it is a great way to reduce stress, fatigue and depression; symptoms that are often associated with the disease. Studies have backed evidence that just 30 minutes of exercise twice a week as simple as walking or swimming is enough to make a big difference in the way your body reacts to MS. Patients who exercise are more likely to respond to treatment more positively and better at coping with some of the most severe symptoms. Exercise doesn’t need to be vigorous or even that constant, but just any type of physical activity is recommended, not to mention that it can improve your mood and also energy levels.
Learn about Multiple Sclerosis
Empowerment comes from knowledge and there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding Multiple Sclerosis and it is common for people to be afraid from what they hear or to have some doubts when it comes to consulting their healthcare professional and being honest with their doctor. It is important that you take charge of what is happening with you and research your condition, ask questions and include yourself in an educated manner in all the decisions that have to do with your care. Multiple sclerosis is almost never fatal and living a long fulfilling life with MS is not just possible, but extremely likely if you take the right steps towards fighting, and the first step is to know what you are dealing with and understand how it affects you and those around you.
Broaden your support network
As we mentioned in the point above, your family and loved ones are also involved in what is happening to you, so it is important that as you learn about your condition, you also fill them in about what it means and how they can be supportive of you. Just as your loved ones will be there for you, it is important that you also meet other people who are in your same situation and learn from them on how they cope with MS. Most patients will agree on the fact that while their families are a great help, they find extremely important those relationships they create with the people they meet after being diagnosed and that share the condition with them. Multiple sclerosis is never the same for any two people, but the experience of others can help you deal with some of the aspects that are new to you and the empowerment you will feel from helping others cannot be matched. Remember that is not just about what you can receive from these new friends, but also what you will be able to give back to them with your unique insight and the lessons you will learn daily.
* Featured Image courtesy of Chevanon Photography at Pexels.com