A healthy brain, the key to living well with MS

19th June 2018

Having a healthy brain that functions well is important for people with multiple sclerosis, and by making positive lifestyle choices people with MS can help to keep their brains as healthy as possible.

A group of international MS professionals with insight into living with MS, have developed a short guide to ensure that people with MS understand how to embrace a brain-healthy lifestyle and refer to their health care professionals to provide support and monitoring. The guide aims to highlight and educate people with MS about the importance of making positive lifestyle choices to maintain good ongoing brain health.

Here are six positive steps people with MS can take to keep their brains as healthy as possible, whatever the MS diagnosis.

Keep as active as you can

Higher levels of aerobic fitness are associated with faster information processing and preserved brain tissue volume. This suggests that being as active as possible may help to preserve brain health in people with MS.

Keep your weight under control

Losing weight into the healthy range and improving the lipid profile could protect against relapses in MS.

Keep your mind active

Education, reading, hobbies and artistic or creative pastimes help to protect against cognitive problems in MS when pursued over a lifetime.

Avoid smoking

Cigarette smoking is associated with decreased brain volume in people with MS, as well as with higher relapse rates, increased disability progression, more cognitive problems and reduced survival compared with not smoking.

Watch how much you drink

Unsafe levels of alcohol should be avoided.

Continue taking other medicines that your doctor has prescribed

If you have other diseases, be responsible for monitoring and managing them, including taking any prescribed medications. Conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes can worsen the MS disease course.

These recommendations, and more can be viewed in the report Brain health: time matters in multiple sclerosis. Copies are available at the MS Society or you can view the resource at

For advice and support regarding positive lifestyle choices, visit our MS nurses at our Hillcrest office, or contact them through MS Assist on 1800 812 311 or at

Source: MS Brain Health’s report Brain health: time matters in multiple sclerosis

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A healthy brain, the key to living well with MS