Lifestyle Approaches for Managing MS


Experts discuss holistic approaches to care for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), including lifestyle changes and managing comorbidities.


Jiwon Oh, MD, PhD: You mentioned earlier when we were talking about the various drivers of smoldering MS [multiple sclerosis], you mentioned the role of things like comorbidities in aging. And so right now it does sound like you do talk to your patients about smoldering MS. And are there general kind of treatment approaches that you recommend to them in terms of maybe more holistic or lifestyle changes taking into account that…it’s very complicated, the different processes that come together to cause smoldering MS.

Amit Bar-Or, MD: Well, I think as I alluded to before, one of the important things is to really encourage patients to make sure that any potential impact of comorbidities is minimized. So…excellent control of high blood pressure, of cardiovascular risk factors and diabetes. If it exists, obesity can be an issue. And really trying to promote and advocate for a healthy lifestyle, including exercise, including a balanced diet. And I don’t think that there’s any one particular diet that one must follow or things that must be avoided, but probably a Mediterranean diet that is good for the heart is good for MS. And…keeping healthy. I mean, we don’t know quite how to stop the biological clock yet. And so, preventing aging is not yet in our reach. And normal, graceful aging is something that we should all sort of aim for. The question of what we can do in terms of modifying our habitual activities, obviously avoiding smoking, because smoking is one of those things that contributes to MS per se, and comorbidities that are then superimposed on MS. So, we are more than ever advocates of a healthy lifestyle. And I think that’s something that can really help patients change trajectories of the smoldering, ongoing injury in this.

Amit Bar-Or, MD: Completely agree. And one thing I tell patients a lot is…what’s good for general health and cardiovascular health is good for your neurological health. So, it covers a lot of bases in terms of general lifestyle habits we can recommend for patients.

Transcript was AI-generated and edited for clarity.

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