Smoking and doing little or no physical activity can affect multiple sclerosis (MS) progression. So researchers set out to assess adoption and adherence to healthy lifestyle and how that impacted on patients health three years after they made healthy lifestyle changes.
In this study, 95 people with MS completed surveys before participating in a five-day MS lifestyle risk-factor modification workshops. 76 and 78 participants completed the one-year and three-year follow-up surveys respectively. Mean age at three-year follow-up was 47 years, 72% were female, most (62.8%) had MS for 5 years or less, and 73% had relapsing remitting MS (RRMS).
After one year participants reported clinically meaningful increases in physical and mental health, as well as quality of life. They also reported the same at year three.
A small decrease in disability was identified from the start to the first check up at year one and again from years one to three, but this was not found to be clinically meaningful.
Patients with RRMS experienced fewer relapses since starting lifestyle changes to the year one and three check-ups.
Those who meditated for one or more hours per week, supplemented 5,000IU or more of vitamin D daily and supplemented with omega-3 flaxseed oil increased their healthy diet score at the year one check-up and that was sustained, although slightly lower at year three. However, there was no evidence for a change in physical activity and not enough smokers to make meaningful comparisons. Medication use increased at year one and at year three.
Researchers concluded that the evidence from this study shows that ‘lifestyle risk factor modification is feasible and sustainable over time, in a small self-selected and motivated sample of people with MS. Furthermore, participation in a lifestyle intervention is not associated with a decrease in MS medication use.’