Can Lifestyle Choices Affect MS Severity?


ms-severity-bnsA recent study has found that lifestyle choices may have a significant impact on the progression of multiple sclerosis. Stress, lack of exercise, poor diet, and smoking were associated with higher disability, whereas MS patients who ate a healthy diet, didn’t smoke, and exercised regularly reported fewer disabilities.

Read about eight lesser-known symptoms of multiple sclerosis here.

The research followed almost 4,000 MS patients worldwide who were recruited via internet forums and Facebook. Their responses allowed the research team to analyze a wide array of data covering many different lifestyle aspects.

The study is considered the first of its kind to measure the effects of lifestyle choices on MS disabilities. The team, from the University of Melbourne, plan to survey the participants every couple of years.

Read more about the study here.

Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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    I find it very difficult that exercise is included on the list. I eat well but I fight with fatigue. There it makes my life so limited and also I’ve been known fact that previously I was regular runner at competition level. I can’t walk to the end of the street! And Swimming tires me out it’s not so much the swimmig it’s getting dressed afterwards. I’m increasingly exhausted and limited in social contact, as I have been retired on grounds of ill-health from work so my will my life is miniscule. There’s so many strange things that happened to me, legs working let’s not working, bladder working bowel is not working exceptor etc …… I have pay-as-you-go card and it runs out frequently in very awkward places.

    • Vaughan Williams says:

      You life and problems sound very similar to mine..
      Minimise your fatigue by getting back in the gym, back in the pool etc
      Reduce your repetitions, your time but up your resistance
      It’s strength the counts not dropping 5 minutes off your half marathon finishing time
      You’ve only got one shot, don’t spend it in bed

      • Larry T. says:

        I basically agree with you – but fatigue in some ms can be so overwhelming that it makes it hard to get out of bed or chair let alone to travel to a gym or pool. So the major problem is the motivation and the first steps… MS symptoms and severity can worsen drastically over relatively little time that even knowing for the better, the better cannot be achieved any more. Couple of years ago I rode as ms person the motor bike from coast to coast, camping out , swimming in lakes, wandering small towns, now at times I feel too tired to even think of all these things…

    • Larry T. says:

      Try to find out whats best for YOU – the study findings may serve as a beginning or a map, but they are statistics nevertheless (i.e. abstract mass statements; often with significant but very low percentage responders; the individual case remains undeterminable), maybe even far away from your individual needs. In particular, dont let you drive hysterical by transient findings what should be done and what not.

    • Diamond says:

      I understand where your coming from and I’m only 31 with same symptoms. But the trick is don’t stop moving and exercising your brain. Yes u get exhausted, but get back up after a 20 min rest. Walk down the street with a walking partner till you get used to it because you will. MS requires repetition and guts. Fear and anxiety will wipe you out before you get started. I love you MS fam! Never ever stop praying.

  2. Geoff Flynn says:

    My fatigue was far too crippling to do any exercise. A “healthy diet” only made it worse. I had HSCT about a year ago and the fatigue went away. I still tire easily but I no longer have to spend every moment in bed or on the couch. I find a healthy diet to be a recipe for weakness and fatigue. I stick with meat and carbs. I’m exercising 5 days a week, and taking a rehab class at the local university twice a week. I don’t find either of them help but at least it gets me out of the house. I find exercise only increases fatigue, and makes my balance and coordination worse. I’m hoping it’ll pay some long term dividends.

  3. Phil Longford says:

    Find a way to force yourselves, to push it almost to the limit! I was diagnosed with PPMS seven years ago. Eventually, acknowledged that working was no longer a realistic proposition, so relaxed, and found myself deteriorating much more quickly. Forcing myself to go and exercise. Easier when there was a financial incentive!

  4. Christine says:

    As a person with MS who has eaten a healthy diet, exercised all my life, don’t smoke or drink, I find these “Life Style Choice studies” very questionable. It hints that one is responsible for developing this disease. Blaming the victim mentality.
    I feel that a reputable scientist should dig a little deeper into the more complex concepts instead of going for these simple, trendy ideas.

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