LIVING WITH MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

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With 2.5 million known Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients world-wide, approximately 55 in every 100,000 people in UAE live with the condition. The ratio, however, is increasing. HEALTH speaks to Mahmood El Belushi, Certified Trainer and Life Coach living with MS, about how a positive outlook can boost wellbeing.

DEFINED
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. The effect on the brain and/or spinal cord causes a wide range of potential symptoms, including issues with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation, and balance. In many cases, it’s possible to treat symptoms.


UNIQUE SYMPTOMS
The symptoms of MS vary widely from person to person and can affect any part of the body. Depending on the type of MS, symptoms can come and go in phases throughout the course of the condition. Some of the physical limitations include: fatigue, difficulty with walking, problems with blurred vision, problems with cognitive function including thinking, learning, planning, balance, coordination; problems controlling the bladder; numbness in the limbs and muscle stiffness, and spasms.

STAYING POSITIVE
Keeping a positive outlook when dealing with any disorder is important, but it can be tough and isn’t possible all of the time. It’s just as important to acknowledge the difficulties of living with the disorder. So, it’s advised to try and find the right balance between having an optimistic outlook and allowing yourself to go through the negative emotions that naturally come with living with a disorder. In MS patients, there is a higher risk of developing depression due to the impact of the disease on the central nervous system. Focusing on the lifestyle choices that you can control goes a long way towards helping with this.

DAILY LIFESTYLE CHOICES THAT CAN LIMIT THE CHALLENGES OF LIVING WITH MS

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  • The emotional state comes as the first step of recovery and to help avoid any relapses. Don’t feel too sad or too excited, because this might worsen your condition.
  • It’s important to recognize the impact that fatigue can have on day-to-day activities and to plan around this by prioritizing tasks, tackling important tasks when you are feeling at your most energetic, and being realistic about what can be achieved in one day.
  • Being healthy and fit can have a positive impact on how you feel, improving your energy levels, and mood.
  • Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as lean protein in combination with staying active in some sort of way, will keep your body healthy while boosting flexibility and balance.
  • Exercising your brain is equally as important as exercising your body. Keep your mind busy to keep your cognitive function at its best and stay social.
  • Get enough sleep by practicing a consistent and relaxing bedtime routine.
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