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Be proactive about brain preservation

There are things you can do today, and every day, to help preserve your brain and its function—and both your mind and your body play a role. Even if you’re not currently experiencing symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), talk to your healthcare team about ways you can be proactive about keeping your brain healthy.

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Ways to keep your brain healthy

Take a look at some of the ways you can maximize neurological reserve, slow down decreases in brain matter (also known as brain volume loss), reduce lesion damage, and relieve MS symptoms. Ask your doctor which of these are right for you.

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Sleep can improve the health of your brain

Lack of sleep can lead to trouble with balance as well as cognitive issues (such as worsening of memory, difficulty concentrating, or trouble thinking of the right word). Getting at least 7 hours of restful sleep a night is good for your brain.

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Exercise can help with processing information

Higher levels of aerobic fitness are associated with faster information processing as well as having more deep grey matter. Exercise is also helpful for managing MS symptoms. So, stay as active as you can.

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Being social stimulates your brain

Being socially active by spending time with others is good for your brain. If you’re looking for ideas: try volunteering, becoming part of an MS support group, or joining a book club.

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The right diet can reduce inflammation

You may benefit from a diet that is low in fat and cholesterol, which can help reduce inflammation.

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Vitamin D may improve cognitive performance

Since vitamin D may impact cognitive function in people with MS, ask your doctor if you’re getting the right amount.

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Smoking can make MS symptoms worse

It is also associated with cognitive issues and a decrease in brain matter. If you smoke, ask your doctor about ways you can quit.

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Keeping your brain active may help with neurological reserve

Activities such as reading, writing, and playing board games may help enhance your neurological reserve.

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Mindfulness helps with MS symptoms—and stress

Mindfulness is a state of active and open attention to the present. When you’re being “mindful,” you are observing your thoughts and feelings without judging them in any way.

  • Meditation can help provide relief from stress—and MS symptoms
  • Yoga can help strengthen joints and muscles—and relieve anxiety. Yoga can even be done while sitting in a bed or wheelchair
  • Breathing exercises (or focusing on breathing) can help you feel calmer and relax your body

Talk to your healthcare professional before participating in any new activity.

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Managing other conditions you have can help

Leaving other chronic health conditions unmanaged can lead to more MS relapses and a quicker progression of physical disability. It’s important to talk to a healthcare professional about treating conditions you may have—not just MS.

Common chronic health issues for people with MS:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Chronic lung disease

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  • Lifestyle tips with more ways to help maximize brain health
  • Educational materials with facts about MS and the brain
  • The latest news about what’s next for brain preservation
  • Notifications about podcasts and videos from MS experts