3 tips for managing multiple sclerosis

3 tips for managing multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a condition that affects the central nervous system of the body. Here, the body’s immune system attacks the nerve fibers with the risk of causing permanent damage. As per a National MS Society study, about 1 million people in the country are affected by this condition. While there’s no permanent cure for the disease, it can be managed through the following treatment options, better food choices, and a few lifestyle changes:

Choosing the right treatment options
People affected by multiple sclerosis (or MS) are usually capable of living a normal or near-normal life. With the right treatment, their condition can improve drastically. Ponvory, Kesimpta, and Ocrevus are three different options prescribed by doctors for MS patients. Here is what one can expect:

Ponvory: This helps treat patients suffering from relapsing forms of MS. Adults with active secondary progression and relapsing-remitting MS can also benefit from this option. However, it has not been tested on kids. Ponvory is meant to be taken orally with or without food.

KESIMPTA: This is a prescription option for adults with relapsing forms of MS. The effectiveness of the option on children is yet to be proven. KESIMPTA is a liquid solution that is injected under the skin to target the B cells of the lymph nodes that play a role in relapsing multiple sclerosis.

Ocrevus: This prescription treatment provides relief to adults affected by primary progressive multiple sclerosis, MS relapse, relapse-remitting MS, and secondary progressive disease. It is not yet being tested on children in a clinical setting. Ocrevus is administered two times a year.

Making better food choices
There are no typical constraints or specific meals that can prevent the disease or relapse. However, an anti-inflammatory meal plan is usually recommended to patients so that they remain energetic and do not develop other conditions like cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure that can worsen their MS symptoms. So here are foods to have:

Foods rich in probiotics: Maintaining gut health can help people improve their immune system. Probiotics can contribute to healthy intestinal flora that can help people affected by MS. Include yogurt, kimchi, and kombucha in meals to get a good amount of probiotics.

Fiber-rich foods: Fiber found in vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits can keep the gut and bowel movements in optimal condition.

Fresh fruits and vegetables: These foods are rich in antioxidants that take control of free radicals and prevent damage to cells. Adding legumes, cereals, herbs, vegetables, and fruits like Broccoli, carrots, potatoes, spinach, artichokes, and avocados can help one get antioxidants.

Turmeric: This yellow spice derived from Curcuma longa contains curcumin that exhibits anti-inflammatory and therapeutic properties. Studies show that it can help patients with MS by protecting the immune system.

Flaxseeds: Flaxseed oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that safeguard the body from inflammation and help reduce the chances of multiple sclerosis relapse.

Certain foods can worsen the MS symptoms. These include:

Saturated fats: One should avoid red meat and animal by-products like full-fat dairy products. Consuming such food items can raise bad cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart attacks.

Processed foods: Processed foods contain sugar, which leads to brain fog and fatigue, conditions that should be avoided by people already affected by MS.

Sodium: Studies prove that the consumption of salt by people with multiple sclerosis can affect longevity. One should ensure that their salt intake is less than 2,300mg per day.

Introducing lifestyle changes and natural remedies

Lifestyle changes
Regular exercise: Patients with MS are prone to feel tired and fatigued. One of the optimized ways to fight fatigue and keep energy levels high is to exercise at least five days a week. Half an hour of exercise per day is enough to improve core strength, stay fit, and maintain good posture. Brisk walking, cycling, swimming, and exercising with weights are also recommended for patients. One can indulge in mild physical activities like taking a stroll or cooking or even gardening to keep fit.

Stress management: People with MS may undergo immense stress at times. Practicing the right stress management techniques like deep breathing, meditation, aromatherapy, and listening to music can induce good quality sleep, helping them relax and unwind. Doctors suggest patients indulge in hobbies to keep stress under control.

Natural remedies
Yoga: The National Multiple Sclerosis Society suggested that yoga is one of the best ways to relax the mind and body while also addressing issues like pain, weakness, fatigue, muscle, and spasticity, among others. It is a low-risk, cost-effective, and low-impact way of stretching, building core strength, and enhancing posture and balance.

Psychotherapy: Consulting a psychologist can help people deal with their symptoms and issues related to MS. One could experience issues like fatigue, pain, lack of sleep and appetite, anxiety, stress, and more. Psychotherapy can help people cope with sleep disorders, fatigue, and stress.

Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese method is known to provide relief from pain and stiffness. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society mentions that using thin needles on specific areas of the body can help patients deal with issues like depression, bladder problems, numbness, and pain.

Massage therapy: This can help patients relax their muscles and deal with stiffness.

Additionally, increasing exposure to sunlight can help people increase vitamin D intake, which helps people reduce the risk of MS.