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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Maintaining an active lifestyle essential for people living with MS

November 30, 2010

Multiple Sclerosis is "the single biggest disabler of young, healthy adults," says Edmonton neurologist and University of Alberta associate clinical professor Dr. Brad Stewart. "Medication can cut down on relapses. Some drugs will cut down on disability. Some will have an impact on quality of life."

But Stewart, like many experts, says exercise also plays a crucial role in improving life for people with MS.

"Exercise improves the fatigue level, probably better than any drug out there," Stewart says. "Tai chi and yoga, for instance, have a markedly positive impact on patients' balance and on improving their level of fatigue."

"Exercise is good for all of us and is specifically good for MS patients," says neurologist Dr. Virender Bhan, an associate professor and director of the MS research unit at Dalhousie University, who has cared for MS patients for two decades.

"We recommend that our patients should be as active as possible, keeping in mind that they need to be safe, whatever the activity," says Trudy Campbell, one of only three nurse practitioners in Canada specializing in working with multiple sclerosis patients.

"Exercise, learning strategies to cope with stress, adequate nutrition, maintaining an ideal body weight and family support all play a role in living with MS," she says.

As part of her research projects, Memorial University postdoctoral fellow and physiotherapist Michelle Ploughman worked with numerous older individuals who have had MS for more than 20 years. "They talked about what they have done to manage their condition and their quality of life now," she says. "I met people in their seventies and eighties who were still contributing to their community, providing telephone support to others with MS and remaining as active as possible. Their lives were not always rosy, but certainly the people who were doing best followed the trend of resilience, taking charge and staying active."



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Disclaimer:  'MS Views and News' (MSVN), does not endorse any products or services found on this blog. It is up to you to seek advice from your healthcare provider. The intent of this blog is to provide information on various medical conditions, medications, treatments, and procedures for your personal knowledge and to keep you informed of current health-related issues. It is not intended to be complete or exhaustive, nor is it a substitute for the advice of your physician. Should you or your family members have any specific medical problem, seek medical care promptly.
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