Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a cluster of genetically inherited diseases, which are characterized by progressive and degenerative muscle weakness and wasting.1 It cannot be cured or reversed, but the treatment can help in reducing the symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease. Certain lifestyle changes can help in coping up with muscular dystrophy.
Lifestyle Changes For Muscular Dystrophy
Making some lifestyle changes along with the conventional methods of treatment and other therapies can provide a better outlook on prognosis of the condition. Muscular dystrophy is of different types. The need for lifestyle changes will also vary according to the type of muscular dystrophy you suffer from. All types do not have a call for exact same lifestyle changes and these changes need to be individually tailored. The common symptom in all types of muscular dystrophy is muscle weakness. However, other symptoms and complications may occur over time. Hence, the lifestyle changes also will not be permanent and may need to be changed as the symptoms worsen or change.
Some lifestyle changes can make life easier for the person affected as well as the caregiver:
- It is good to make a bedroom and a bathroom for the affected person on the main floor or the ground floor itself. This will cause a lot of ease in making movements as well as being in touch with the entire house.
- Placing frequently used items on lower shelves and within reach can reduce a lot of struggle reaching for those things.
- Take help of technology. For example, turning on or off the lights with the use of smartphone can help in reducing a lot of getting up and down.
- A ramp added to the outdoors can help forgo the struggle of using steps for going up and down
- Adjusting the doorways so that a wheelchair can move easily inside out can be very useful in smooth mobility
It is helpful to use alternative treatment modes like physical therapy and occupational therapy along with the conventional methods to help alleviate the problems related to muscular dystrophy. Physical therapy can help in restoring and maintaining the muscle strength and improve mobility. Physical therapists can design exercises according to the individual needs. Occupational therapists can teach you how to use braces or wheelchair, to make living easier for you. Take out some time in your routine to undergo these therapies so that you benefit from them
- Avoid consumption of stimulant foods and drinks like caffeine and alcohol. It is best to stop smoking as well. These substances cause unnecessary stimulation in the already tired mind and body, leading to more complications. Also, they are not particularly good on liver and other systems in your body. Muscular dystrophy makes internal systems weaker and these substances can lead to further complications.
- Most importantly, eat a good, balanced diet. Your diet must be inclusive of fresh fruits and vegetables. These are very rich in anti-oxidants that are known to be helpful in cell renewal. They also help in tackling free radicals that are not so good for health either. Most importantly, they provide you with much needed vital nutrients that may help you cope up with your disease by building your immunity and giving you strength. Muscular dystrophy involves limitations in activity levels.
You may be leading an inactive and sedentary lifestyle, which may make you gain weight and lead you to constipation and dehydration. As being active will help take care of these problems, so will eating a nutrient rich diet, as a proper diet will help you gain healthy weight and not just accumulate fat.
- Drink enough water throughout the day to keep you hydrated and away from constipation. Water helps flush out toxins too.
Muscular dystrophy may make you inactive and compromise your mobility. It is neither curable nor reversible. However, making some simple lifestyle changes can help you lead as normal life as someone affected from muscular dystrophy can.
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