Section: Articles by Clinicians

A Balanced Lifestyle to Control Your MS

A Balanced Lifestyle to Control Your MS When it comes to Multiple Sclerosis (MS), medical research continues to help doctors improve treatments. Currently, there is no cure for this central nervous system disease, which causes the immune system to attack the protective layer around your nerve fibers, altering the brain’s ability to communicate with the body. MS can lead to a range of disabilities, including chronic pain and fatigue, cognitive problems, and vision issues. Currently as many as 1 in 300 people in the United States will be diagnosed with MS.

Fortunately, if you have been diagnosed, there are lifestyle modifications that can help you control your MS. Proper nutrition, regular exercise, and healthy sleep habits are essential to managing this increasingly common disease. And with several new drugs on the market that can help to slow the progression of MS, there is reason for optimism in treating this condition. So let’s start with the steps you can take to be proactive in your MS management.

A diet heavy in fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, and lean proteins can help to control MS symptoms—and lowers your risk for diabetes and cardiovascular conditions. For those with MS, physicians often recommend diets like the popular Mediterranean diet, which consists mostly of low-fat, high-fiber foods. Doctors are also studying the effects of obesity and vitamin deficiency in patients with MS, and there is thought to be some important correlation. We recommend maintaining a healthy body weight and consuming adequate Vitamin D, in particular. Always consult with your doctor for recommendations that are unique to your symptoms and MS type.

Exercise also plays a beneficial role in MS treatment. Aerobics, stretching, and strength training can all improve symptoms and help you maintain strength and range of motion. Those with MS should aim for 150 minutes of weekly aerobic exercise like waking or swimming, as well as moderate strength exercises, like light weights or bands, 2-3 times per week. Pool-based exercise is a great option for individuals whose symptoms may limit them physically. Your doctor can help you determine an exercise plan that works for you.

Finally, don’t forget to sleep. Sleep deprivation is common in our society and exacerbates a wide range of medical conditions, including MS. The brain does its “housekeeping” during sleep, and you have to achieve certain stages of sleep for this maintenance to occur. Your doctor can work with you to address sleep issues that prevent you from sleeping soundly through the night.

With these lifestyle adjustments, you’ll be on your way to better managing your MS and getting back to the life you love.

The Multiple Sclerosis Program at Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare in Pomona offers innovative MS treatments and therapies to help you or your loved one improve quality of life. For more information, call 909/596-7733, ext. 3500.