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Sunday, January 10, 2016


Multiple sclerosis (MS) can be a sneaky disease: Symptoms that have been dormant for a long time can flare at any moment. “An MS flare is when the immune system attacks a region of the brain or spine,” says Peter Bergmann, MD, a neurologist with Kaiser Permanente Colorado in Denver.“There’s a multitude of possible symptoms, and they’re different for everyone. Some MS symptoms can last more than 24 hours — and sometimes even weeks.”
Common MS symptoms include impaired vision, loss of sensation, weakness, trouble thinking, and fatigue. While taking daily medications is essential, you can also practice certain healthy habits every day to better prepare yourself for an MS flare.

Exercise Every Day

Whether you play with your kids, walk, or run, regular exercise can help you prepare for an MS flare. “When you’re doing something healthy for your body,” Dr. Bergmann says, “you’re doing something healthy for your nervous system.” If you’re able to exercise, it will help your nervous system rewire after a flare. Combination exercises — such as strengthening, stretching, balancing, and aerobic moves — can reduce fatigue and other MS symptoms while improving quality of life, according to a study published in the Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal in 2014.

Eat Healthy

There’s no special diet for MS, but it’s important to eat healthy foods. “A nutritious, well-balanced diet helps to control body weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and more,” Bergmann says. “All of this helps people with MS function better.” The National Multiple Sclerosis Society recommends eating a high-fiber, low-fat diet and avoiding specific or fad diets because there’s no concrete research indicating that special diets benefit MS or reduce flares.

Reduce Stress

Stress management — such as deep breathing and other relaxation techniques — is an essential daily habit for staying healthy, says Bergmann. A review of research published in the journal Neurology Research International in 2014 found that 85 percent of MS flares may be related to stress and that new brain lesions may form after stressful events. Researchers also found that regular meditation improves MS symptoms, enhancing quality of life.

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