March is Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness Month. It’s a time for people with MS, their loved ones, and others close to them to reflect on how this often chronic and progressive nerve disease changes lives. MS is familiar to Fashionable Canes—many of our customers rely on our products to maintain their mobility in the face of neural demyelination. In observance of this month, we’d like to share a few of our tips for living well with multiple sclerosis.
Stop Smoking (or Never Start)
This first tip is all but non-negotiable—smoking or chewing tobacco is one of the worst things you can do with a diagnosis of MS. Not only can the neurotoxic compounds in cigarette smoke possibly cause multiple sclerosis, but they can also exacerbate the condition by compromising the strength of your immune system. If you never started smoking in the first place, congratulations—you’ve already taken the first big step toward a healthier life.
Live Well by Eating Well
Continuing from smoking cessation, establishing a solid baseline of a healthy lifestyle is seldom more important than when you’re living with a chronic disease such as MS. Let’s be clear: there’s no superfood or vitamin that will cease or reverse the onset of multiple sclerosis. However, by sticking to a diet that is low in fat and processed foods, you’re less likely to aggravate your condition. The tissue inflammation that often accompanies obesity can worsen symptoms and further diminish quality of life. There’s no better time to start finding the joys in fresh produce and whole grains.
Upon your diagnosis, staying physically active with multiple sclerosis may at first seem to be an insurmountable task. Challenging as it may seem, keeping your body moving is necessary for living your best life. Low-impact aerobic activities such as cycling and swimming are ideal choices for good cardiovascular health. While exercising with MS means that more than ever, you’ll have to know your limits, light exercise in moderation is instrumental to maintaining your quality of life.
Keeping your body limber is important, but don’t forget to stretch your brain, too. Multiple sclerosis, being a neurological disease, can adversely affect your cognition. You may find that you process information less quickly, have a shorter attention span, or forget things more easily. Keeping your brain engaged with enrichment activities can ward off these familiar forms of cognitive decline. Jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, sudoku, challenging reading assignments, and even doing some writing of your own may all help you stay sharp. Maybe it’s time to dust off that dense Russian novel you’ve always been meaning to read.
Keep Your Spirits High
Without even taking physical conditions into account, receiving this diagnosis takes an emotional toll. It’s important to develop and radiate a positive spirit. The last of our tips for living well with multiple sclerosis is to let the rest of the world know that you’re not letting this disease win. Dress well, keep a smile on your face, and light up every room you’re in. If you find yourself relying on a cane to maintain your balance or take the pressure off aching joints, our selection of glamorous walking sticks will allow you to get around with style and panache. Don’t let this diagnosis stop you from enjoying the company of your friends and family, the world around you, and everything else life has to offer.