Many patients are concerned about their nervous system. This post, How to Take Care of Your Nervous System, is an answer to many questions we get. These questions range from “How can I keep my nervous system healthy?” to “What are common ailments of the nervous system?” Later in this post, we discuss eight things you can do every day to keep your nervous system healthy.
How to keep the nervous system healthy
1. Learn about your nervous system health
The nervous system–the network of nerves and cells that carry messages from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body–is a complex system that requires attention and care. You can learn more about how the nervous system works here.
Neuropathic conditions are caused by damage to or dysfunction of one or more the nerves in the nervous system. These conditions can lead to numbness or tingling, burning pain, sharp jabbing pain, sensitivity to touch, muscle weakness, dizziness, or lack of coordination.
Several diseases can affect the central and peripheral nervous system, which can lead to chronic pain and long-term disability. There are many potential causes of diseases that affect the central nervous system. They can be caused by:
- Age-related degeneration
Any injury or disease that affects the nervous system must be taken seriously because longer-term problems may arise. Avoiding these nervous system conditions is the best way to keep your nervous system healthy.
2. Read more about nervous system ailments
Peripheral neuropathies, which are disorders that affect the extended nerve network in the body, can also be caused by a variety of conditions. Most common is compression of the nerve, which results in a tingling or burning sensation.
The proper treatment for central nervous system diseases or peripheral neuropathy will be determined based on the cause of the condition and the symptoms it is causing. It is also important to note that when a nervous system disease begins to affect the entire quality of life that mental well-being becomes as important to treat as the physical symptoms.
Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia and, contrary to popular belief, not a natural part of the aging process. Patients suffering from the disease will begin to lose their memory and cognitive skills over time. The disease often affects their behavior in ways that were abnormal for them prior to the diagnosis. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that will worsen over time.
It isn’t difficult to understand that a person in the early stages of the disease will begin to experience depression while they still fully understand what is happening to them. There is no easy answer when it comes to treating an Alzheimer’s patient for their overall mental well-being. Psychotherapy, however, can help a patient cope with the frustration, depression, and anxiety caused by the disease.
By contrast, Parkinson’s disease affects the body but not the mind of patients diagnosed with the condition. Like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s is a progressive disease that affects the nervous system. The most common hallmark of Parkinson’s is tremors that worsen over time. There is no cure for Parkinson’s but there are medications that can make the symptoms more tolerable.
A celebrity with a Parkinson’s diagnosis, Michael J. Fox, fought his battle with the disease on the public stage. His overall positive outlook on life sheds a light on the ways someone with this disease can lead a full, healthy life if they can focus on their mental health and well-being.
MS is a nervous system disease that affects the brain’s ability to communicate with the body. The body’s immune system directs itself toward the nervous system and interrupts the normal signal and communications. It affects the insulative tissues that surround the nerves. With the nerves damaged, they become susceptible to distorted or disrupted signals from the brain to the body. This can cause a variety of symptoms which can be mild, moderate, or severe.
MS can have very negative effects on the mental well-being of an individual coping with the chronic condition. Patients often experience good and bad days that can be painful or result in fatigue or mental slowness. This can take an emotional toll and should be addressed.
3. Discover how to keep your nervous system healthy
A number of factors can lead to a case of neuropathy, from tumors to infections, but there are some steps you can every day take to boost the health of your nervous system. While many cases of neuropathy are caused by uncontrollable risk factors, there are quite a few risk factors that you can control.
Many of these fall in line with general advice on keeping healthy overall, though there are some specific actions you can take to influence nervous system health directly. If you’re wondering how to keep your nervous system healthy, you should:
- Monitor your eating patterns and make sure to eat semi-regularly so as to not deplete the glucose your neurons use for energy
- Eat a balanced diet that includes good levels of B-12 and D vitamins, as well as healthy fats
- Avoid smoking and drinking excessive alcohol
- Keep up with a solid sleep schedule, as sleep helps strengthen circuits within the nervous system which can help with memory
- Exercise your nervous system and brain with activities like writing by hand or playing mind games like Sudoko
- Take part in exercise that is appropriate for your body; aim to exercise at least three times a week
- Maintain a healthy weight as many conditions, such as diabetic neuropathy, are closely linked to obesity or overweight
- Avoid, or limit, environmental factors that can cause nerve damage, such as repetitive motions or exposure to toxic chemicals
Your nervous system deserves as much attention as other more obvious bodily systems. By participating in healthy habits now, you can help treat or prevent future instances of nerve damage or deterioration.
How do you keep your nervous system healthy?