For people living with multiple sclerosis (MS), the majority are initially diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS, or when the symptoms first start to arise like the flares of numbness, pain, dizziness, and imbalance that I and so many others first noticed. There are certain triggers that cause these flare ups for many people.
When a new neurological symptom develops in multiple sclerosis, one that isn’t related to an infection, and lasts for more than 24 hours, it is considered to be an MS relapse.
While a relapse that causes serious symptoms usually means it's time to go see my doctor, old symptoms that reappear are not as serious say my neurologist Dr, Bagarva From Johns Hopkins University and neurologist all over the world... they often go away without needing treatment.
Here, the most common triggers of an MS flare-up:
- Stress. Emotional stress is part of having a chronic disease like MS and can lead to the common MS symptom of depression. Stress can also lead to other MS symptoms, such as fatigue and confusion. An important aspect of MS treatment is creating a support network that may include loved ones who can physically help out, as well as a support groups that can provide emotional strength. You may also want to consider a stress-relieving activity like meditation.
- Fatigue. While sleep is important for everyone, it’s essential for those with MS. Most people with MS have what's' called a lower reserve of energy, and when existing daily in this state little things like a lack of sleep and running out of energy from your daily reserve by being over active ( doing too much, too fast, and/or too soon ) can trigger MS symptoms. Sticking to healthy health habits like eating well, sleeping well, and getting some exercise every day help fight MS fatigue.
- Infection. Infections are the cause of about one-third of all flares of MS symptoms. Urinary tract infections are common causes because some people with MS have reduced bladder function. But any infection that weakens the immune system, even a cold or the flu, can cause a flare in MS. Some people choose to wear face mask whenever they are going to be in the presence of others. This doesn't mean that they are sick or contagious, it is just a preventative method because there immune system is not as strong as a person not suffering from MS and they want to take every possible precaution to avoid getting sick. So remember to wash your hands frequently, get a yearly flu shot, and avoid being around people who are sick as much as you possibly can.
- Heat. Heat is especially troublesome to those with MS since increased body heat is a common trigger. Did you know that In the old days, a hot-bath test was one of the ways doctors diagnosed MS? MS symptoms, especially fatigue, numbness and tingling, are usually worse in the summer because of the heat. Getting into air conditioning, wearing a cooling vest, keeping a portable air conditioners on hand or taking a cool shower usually helps reduce heat symptoms.
When to Treat MS Flares
Not all MS symptoms need to be treated. Tingling, fatigue, and mental fog generally go away on their own once the trigger is removed. However more severe MS symptoms that affect your ability to function normally like walking, talking, seeing, hearing, processing of Information, severe weakness, or sudden poor balance do need to be treated, usually with a short course of steroids for severe MS symptoms.
Flares and triggers are different for everyone with MS each person should learn to identify their own individual triggers. If you or a loved one has multiple sclerosis, learning as much as you can about MS, getting help and support, making healthy lifestyle choices, and avoiding common triggers or stress will go a long way toward living well with this chronic disease and supporting the ones closest to you struggling everyday.
GUESS WHAT I FOUND OUT!!
Meditation is becoming more mainstream, many people practice it, hoping to stave off stress and stress-related health problems. Mindfulness meditation, in particular, has become more popular in recent years. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing, and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns or worry about the past or future. The evidence to support meditation’s effectiveness in promoting mental or physical health is increasing everyday. Why? People all over the world are often already sold on meditation’s benefits and report positive effects and health benefits they've experienced.
But when researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD sifted through nearly 19,000 meditation studies, they found 47 trials that met their very strict criteria for well-designed studies are far as they are concerned and they have been considered on of the top hospitals in the nation for many many years. Their findings were published in JAMA Internal Medicine, and suggest that mindful meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain.
In times of high stress Meditation has definitely helped me.. around this time last year I was in a really bad place and had no way of coping. I felt like I was just existing within the mess that was my life stuck in autopilot. I was in a state of shock barely processed the things that were happening around me, seemingly unable to feel even one more thing, a sense of dispare looming that I just couldn't come out of. I couldn't focus on anything for too long, my thoughts were just all over the place. I was consumed with worry and stress and the only thing that helped was Mindfulness Meditation and stress reduction techniques I implemented into my daily life. Take a glimpse of me this time last year and you'll understand why I had to give mindfulness meditation a try... Click Here
- reduced depression symptoms
- reduced somatic stress
- reduced hostility and conflicts with peers
- reduced anxiety
- reduced reactivity
- reduced substance use
- increased cognitive retention
- increased self-care
- increased optimism and positive emotions
- increased self-esteem
- increased feelings of happiness and well-being
- improved social skills
- improved sleep
- improved self-awareness
- improved academic performance
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