Answers to Common Neuromuscular Health Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about neuromuscular health.

What are your Top 5 health tips for someone living with MS?

  1. Live healthy: A health-centered attitude can make all the difference. For instance, don't view yourself as the victim of MS; put yourself in control by finding a neurologist you trust and can communicate with. Work with your doctor to find an MS medication that you tolerate well and that works for you. Then be compliant and make sure you take your medicine as directed.
  2. Take vitamin D: Vitamin D levels are important. We now understand that vitamin D plays an essential role in keeping the immune system healthy. We want our MS patients to have vitamin D levels that are well above the levels listed as normal for non-MS patients. Based on your lab levels, your neurologist will recommend an appropriate dose of vitamin D supplement.
  3. Eat a low-sodium, low-fat diet: Too much sodium and fat are not good for MS. Patients who eat a lot of fast foods or pre-packaged foods tend toward a more inflammatory immune system, which drives the MS to be more active. Eating fresh produce and whole foods that have not been processed in a factory should be the goal.
  4. Don't smoke: Nicotine feeds MS. It is very inflammatory for the body and the immune system. Any patient who smokes or uses tobacco in other forms (including chewing tobacco, patches, gums or vapor) is strongly advised to quit. Nicotine worsens many of the symptoms of MS directly and indirectly.
  5. Exercise: MS patients often avoid exercise because they’re afraid they will get hot and cause a relapse, or they feel it will worsen their fatigue. It is true that MS patients often have to make adjustments to their exercise plan and usually have to build up their endurance and fitness level more slowly. A higher level of fitness will improve overall function. Exercise also helps to improve many symptoms, including fatigue, depression, weakness and cognitive/focus issues without using medications that create other potential side effects.

Source: Tracy Eicher, MD, Clinical Neuroscience Institute