By Dr. Manjesh Rathi, Neurology
Nervous system refers to the complex web of cells and nerves in your system which sends messages to and from your spinal cord and brain to other parts of your body. The nervous system consists of two portions- the Central nervous system that comprises the brain and the spinal cord, and the Peripheral nervous system comprising the Somatic and Autonomic nerves.
If anyone or more of these nerves turns dysfunctional or gets damaged, it leads to critical neuropathic conditions- muscle weakness, dizziness, sharp pain, sensitivity to touch, numbness, burning pain etc. Moreover, there are a few risk factors that may affect your nervous system resulting in chronic pain and disability- trauma, stroke, genetics, infections, cancer.
Although in most cases neuropathic conditions are triggered by unmanageable risk factors that require immediate medical attention, there are a few others which can be controlled and managed by following these health tips.
Here are 5 tips to keep your nervous system healthy–
- Flex Those Muscles in Your Brain: Exercise your brain and nervous system with activities like playing games such as Sudoku, chess. Writing is also an effective exercise as it requires you to use your sensory receptors, nerve tissues, spinal cord and peripheral nerves in coordination with your brain to produce accurately written words. Fun fact – According to research, learning languages delays brain aging and early onset of dementia. So if you had shelved any plans of learning a second language, it’s time to get it to bring it back.
- Control body weight: Your body weight plays a vital role in dealing with certain medical conditions. For instance, diabetic neuropathy is closely linked to obesity. So keep your body weight in check. Avoid eating packaged, refined and processed food, sugary beverages and foods containing trans-fat. A good way to complement a healthy diet is by exercising on a regular basis. So get your yoga mat or running shoes and hit it!
- Nutritional support: Your spinal cord, peripheral nerves and the brain are covered with myelin, a fatty layer which provides insulation to the nervous system. When the myelin starts getting eroded, you experience vision problems, muscle weakness and chronic pain. To prevent this, you need to ensure that you are getting the necessary Vitamins and fats in the required amounts. Make sure you consume enough of the healthy fats and vitamins like B-12, B-6 and D. Include plenty of whole grains and fresh veggies and fruits in your diet because they prevent dehydration which often causes memory problems and confusion.
- Quit smoking: Smoking restricts the flow of blood to the blood cells which communicate with your brain. It obstructs the blood vessels supplying nutrients to your peripheral nerves and makes neuropathic conditions worse. Moreover, smoking adversely affects the blood sugar levels as well as your lungs and leads to other medical conditions such as diabetes, heart failure, even cancer. The only way to steer away from these disorders and keep your nervous system healthy is to quit smoking.
Any disease or injury which affects your nervous system needs to be taken care of seriously so that chronic conditions do not arise. Following the above-mentioned tips can help you keep your nervous system healthy.