Changes to your lifestyle can help you manage symptoms and prevent flare-ups or worsening of symptoms. Your coping skills and attitude toward your illness are important factors in successfully managing the disease. Habits to consider include:
Talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Regular exercise can help with muscle strength, balance, endurance, and fatigue.
is especially beneficial. The water helps keep your body cool during exercise.
Doctors recommend eating a healthy diet. It should be low in saturated fat and rich in whole grains,
fruits, and vegetables. The
in grains, fruits, and vegetables helps prevent
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil, are sometimes recommended for people with MS. It is not clear if omega-3s are helpful for this condition.
It is also important that you drink plenty of water. Aim for 62 ounces per day, about 8 glasses. Avoid drinks that cause
dehydration, like caffeinated beverages.
Many people with MS notice that stress makes symptoms worse. Consider getting regular
and participating in other stress reducing practices, such as
yoga, and relaxation. You may also find it helpful to join a support group. These groups can provide emotional support for you and your family.
Heat worsens MS symptoms in many people. The heat may be external or internal. Tips to avoid heat include:
- Avoid hot weather.
- Stay in air-conditioned places during periods of hot weather.
- Do not take hot showers or baths.
- Seek treatment for infections or fever.
- Drink plenty of liquids.
- Avoid overexertion.
may worsen MS symptoms. It can make MS progress to a more severe form. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about your
for quitting. There are smoking cessation classes, online self-help programs,
nicotine replacement products, prescription medicines, and many other options.
Adequate rest helps alleviate the fatigue commonly associated with MS.
MS symptoms can be worsened when people are sick.
Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen or if new symptoms develop.
Fish oil. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/. Updated April 2009. Accessed August 31, 2012.
Motl RW, Pillutti LA. The benefits of exercise training in multiple sclerosis. Nat Rev Neurol. 2012;July 24.
Multiple sclerosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated August 10, 2012. Accessed August 30, 2012.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
website. Available at:
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/multiple_sclerosis/multiple_sclerosis.htm. Accessed August 31, 2012.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
website. Available at:
http://nationalmssociety.org/about-multiple-sclerosis/index.aspx. Accessed August 31, 2012.
Seven sizzling ways to stop smoking. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/. Updated August 2009. Accessed August 31, 2012.
11/9/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Healy B, Ali E, Guttmann C, et al. Smoking and disease progression in multiple sclerosis.
Last reviewed September 2013 by Rimas Lukas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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