Considered as an autoimmune disease, Multiple sclerosis (MS) is known to damage the nerve cell covers known as myelin, of the brain and spinal cord. Depending on which nerve cells are affected and the extent of damage, MS can cause dizziness, loss of vision, weakness, paralysis, fatigue, muscle contractions, tingling sensation in the body, etc.
The cause of MS is unknown, and it can attack anyone between 15 to 60 years. And women are more prone to developing MS than men. So, while scientists are busy carrying out various research to develop new treatments for multiple sclerosis, currently there is no permanent cure for this disease.
So if you are one of the many people who suffer from MS, here are a few tips that might prove useful to you as you grow older:
It is very important to know what you are suffering from because misconceptions about multiple sclerosis are aplenty, and without knowing the facts, your diagnosis might go wrong. Understand your symptoms well and find the right doctor, who will help you with the correct treatment. Being properly informed is the first step to ageing well despite having multiple sclerosis.
Social interaction plays a crucial role in ageing well and has a positive effect on our general well-being. Staying connected to friends, family, and close ones help people more during multiple sclerosis treatments. So, even if you feel demoralised, liven up your mood by throwing a house party, get back to your hobbies or learn something new, go out for lunch or dinner with the kids and grandkids, get home a pet, or use social media to reconnect with old friends.
Eat well and exercise
While there is no specific diet prescribed for multiple sclerosis, it helps when you inculcate fresh fruits, more veggies and food rich in omega fatty acids like fish, flax seeds, etc. in your diet. And while you may not feel up to it, exercising is also very important. Activities like swimming, cycling, yoga, wheelchair sports & low impact exercises etc. help you clear your mind of negative thoughts and rejuvenate you. You may also hire a physiotherapist to help you stay in shape.
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While smoking is in any case injurious to health as it leads to various diseases like lung cancer, it makes matters far worse if you have MS. Smoking, when suffering from multiple sclerosis, increases the damage caused to your brain. Various studies show that smoking further atrophies brain tissues in MS patients. So, to age well with MS, it is best to quit smoking immediately.
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Seek help when needed
Many patients feel embarrassed to seek assistance when suffering from MS. However, it is best to seek social support and use various devices when required. It helps in easing the pain and also helps you get closer to your family.
So do not shy away in seeking help from others, because you are old and unwell. Get whatever you need and do whatever makes you feel good and comfortable. Take help from your spouse, children, friends and colleagues. This will also help you learn how to help another patient with similar conditions.
Get enough sleep
For MS patients, fatigue and sleep disturbances are pretty common. It is best to fix a consistent bedtime and wake-up time to complete the total hours of sleep required. Other multiple sclerosis symptoms such as body pain and spasms can also be prevented through restorative sleep.
Stay and think positive
While it may not be easy, it pays to view things from a positive perspective. As you age, learn to appreciate the little and simple things in life. While MS does make life difficult, there are still things you can do. Be sure to do those things, and enjoy them in the process.
Plan things well
While sudden plans and erratic schedules can be easily managed at a younger age, as you grow older, it does get difficult – even more so if you have multiple sclerosis. However, with careful planning of your day, things might get easier. Prioritize your work, take some time off and rest, exercise, meet with friends and the day can sail smoothly.
Multiple sclerosis is not something you choose to have. But you can choose to tackle it by ageing well and improving your quality of life. So follow the aforementioned pointers, and you’ll find that life with MS is no longer as difficult as you feared.
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