Multiple sclerosis or MS can be a horrible disease which can be frustrating to deal with. This unpredictable condition affects over 100,000 people in the UK. The disease can cause numerous problems for you or your loved ones. Arbour Companions & Care are a family owned, specialist, 24-hour live in care company. We provide carers who live with their clients, giving them the care that they would receive in a good care home, but delivered in the comfort and security of their own home. You might know a loved one that has recently been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It’s difficult to watch someone close to you suffer and you want to be able to do your best for them, but it’s important to remember that you also have to take care of yourself. We have put together this list of helpful tips to help you or your loved ones with tackling this disease day by day.
Its an old saying but a great one, “Knowledge is power”, Sir Frances Bacon. Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system. This disease can cause many different problems and symptoms. We recommend that you and your family take the time to research MS fully. You can seek more information from your local GP or health care professional. There are many great charities in the UK that have lots of information about the diseases and also information about medical trials that take place.
Dealing with Fatigue
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of MS, it can cause a lot of discomfort and be very inconvenient to your day to day life. But there are many things you can do to minimize the effects of tiredness throughout the day:
- If you have one big task to do, then split it into several parts. For example if you have to clean the bathroom, start with bath and take your time doing so and make sure to take breaks when you need it.
- One of the best pieces of advice is to work out at what point in the day you have the most energy. Plan to do the main task at that time as your energy levels will be at their highest.
- Stay away from energy drinks, they may give you a sugar rush but will not help you save your energy.
- Take small power naps through the day to keep your batteries recharged.
Any type of exercise is good for you, especially cardiovascular activities. By exercising it will help to maintain your muscular strength and help to build your endurance. When suffering from MS you may find that it affects your balance and coordination. By simply stretching, this can help improve your posture and prevent aches and pains associated with the disease. Not getting enough exercise can cause many problems but especially with MS you can develop osteoporosis. Exercise is not only great for your physical well being but also for your mental well being too. It can help to improve your mood and helps fight off fatigue. Try some low impact exercises to begin with like Tai Chi or swimming.
Connect with others with MS
When it comes to dealing with anything in life, nothing quite connects people like someone who has been through similar experiences. It's very powerful to speak to others with MS, both them and their families. Remember you aren't alone in this world, there are many different MS apps out there for you to connect to others with MS. Also, charities are great to get in touch with as they have a huge network full of others who are going through a similar scenario to you.
When it comes to MS pain, no two people experience the same pain in the same way. It can range from acute, chronic or paroxysmal symptoms. This can begin suddenly and only last for a few seconds or a few minutes. In some cases this can happen multiple times a day. You may experience nerve pain and also musculoskeletal pain, we recommend speaking to a health professional about these different types and the most effective way of managing them. Here is a list of some things that may help with pain:
- Change your habits
- Complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs)
Good sleep routine
Having a good night sleep is great for you, it gives you a chance to recharge your batteries. It can help with battling MS, here are some top tips for getting a good night's sleep:
- Stay away from bright screens before bedtime.
- Make sure you have a routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday.
- Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon/evening.
- Try meditation before bed (Headspace)
When tackling MS a change in diet is important, although unfortunately there is no magical diet for treating MS. Changing to a healthy diet will have some benefits to you or your family member. We recommend eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, mixed carbohydrates and healthy fats. We would also recommend staying away from fast food, as this is not a good source of nutrition and may cause some symptoms to become worse. Always talk to a health professional about your diet, some people with MS will also take vitamin D and other supplements to help with some symptoms.
Having MS can cause problems like memory loss and concentration issues. This can be problematic with day to day life, if you don’t have a live in care personal then you might consider using technology. Mobile phones have amazing apps and features that can help you or your family member remember appointment, to take medication and other tasks.
Being exposed to heat can be harmful to anyone, but with people who have MS are extra sensitive to heat exposure. The rise in body temperature can cause nerve impulses and make symptoms worse. The best advice we can give is to make sure you or your family members are kept in a cool environment. Here are some suggestions of what to do:
- Stay out of direct sunlight
- Wear appropriate clothing
- Avoid hot showers/baths
- Use of a fan or AC unit
Opt for gadgets to make your life easier, such as simple kitchen gadgets to help you open jars and reach things that are out of reach. Here is a list just in time for christmas for ideas on what you can get or give to others with MS:
- Cooling Vest Or Neck Wrap
- Weighted Blanket
- Socks (yes socks)
- Audio Book
- Shower Grab Rail
- Toilet grab bar
Having a positive mental attitude is a strong tool to have in your toolbox when building a strategy against Multiple Sclerosis. New treatments are being developed all the time and new trials are taking place to improve treatments and reduce disease progression. Talk about how you are feeling to family and friends or look at speaking to a professional.
We hope that you have found this article helpful. If you would like to contact us for any further information or enquire about our 24-hour live in care for Multiple Sclerosis then call us 01276543765.