Thursday, April 28, 2016

Benefits of Walking Downhill with MS

It’s common knowledge that walking is good for your health. Walking on flat ground, walking in water, walking/marching in place, walking up and down the stairs. If you can do it, it’s all good. But not all forms of walking are created equal or offer the same benefits. Using a treadmill to walk on a slope just may help you to improve muscle performance, functional activity, and balance control if you live with multiple sclerosis (MS).

MS is a disease of the central nervous system that can impair mobility when symptoms affect sensory and motor function. Weakness, numbness, fatigue, balance problems are all symptoms of MS that interfere with mobility, stability, and quality of life. Neurological rehabilitation, exercise therapy, strength training, and conditioning are important interventions to help people with MS stay strong and active.

What is the effect of uphill or downhill walking on MS?

To investigate the specific effects of uphill and downhill walking exercise on mobility, functional activities, and muscle strength in MS patients, researchers at the Neuromuscular Rehabilitation Research Center at Semnan University of Medical Sciences conducted a study in 34 people with MS (aged 18-50, diagnosed with RRMS, have some difficulty walking, but able to walk 10 meters in less than 10 minutes with or without a cane).

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Walking Downhill Helps to Improve MS Symptoms

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Managing Your MS in Hot Weather

As I pass by the hall thermostat, I check to see how warm or cold it may be inside and outside the house. During the summer months, if the outside temperature approaches 90°F, I feel a twinge of sadness. Why? Hot weather, humidity, multiple sclerosis, and I do not play well together.

Impaired body temperature regulation

People with MS may have difficulty regulating body temperature due to impaired neural control of autonomic and endocrine (hormonal) functions. This means that the part of the brain that senses core body temperature and tries to keep it in balance at about 98.6°F doesn’t work as effectively as it should. Some people with MS may even have a naturally low core body temperature which in turn exacerbates their sensitivity to heat. At a recent medical visit, my body temperature clocked in at 95.9°F which means that a “normal” body temperature would represent a fever for me.

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Tips on How to Manage Your MS in Hot Weather

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

MS Risk and Coffee

In recent years, I’ve become addicted to my daily mug of coffee. I love the smell, the warmth, and the extra boost of sugar (yes, I really do use real sugar in my coffee). Coffee not only helps to perk up my mind, it also has a mild effect on regular bowel movements. Basically, coffee is an important part of each day’s routine and without it, I’d feel like a zombie most days.

I wasn’t always a coffee drinker. I originally started drinking coffee in an attempt to combat MS fatigue. But recent research suggests that if I had been an avid coffee drinker prior to MS, my risk of developing MS may have been reduced by as much as 30 percent (Hedström et al, 2016). That’s a significant reduction!

Why coffee?

Coffee contains many biologically active compounds that provide a number of health benefits. Studies have shown that caffeine intake has been associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Caffeine may also protect against blood-brain barrier leakage according to research conducted in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease. Caffeine consumption may also reduce neuroinflammation and demyelination in animal models of MS.

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Could Drinking Coffee Reduce MS Risk?