The latest emphasis in health and fitness circles has been on measuring, not our lifespans, but our ‘healthspans’. A societal effort to do the same might well present a possible solution to our growing healthcare challenges, and could revolutionise the way we manage neurological conditions.

The latest edition of the British Journal for Neuroscience Nursing (BJNN) features a detailed article consolidating the evidence that healthy lifestyle choices and a focus on individual wellness can make a difference to the way people with a neurological condition both experience their condition, and their quality of life.

With more than 30 percent of the UK population living with one or more long-term conditions and one in six people living with a neurological condition in the UK, our healthcare system is under a huge and increasing strain. Yet there is more and more evidence for lifestyle-related risk factors, demonstrating both how interconnected our health challenges are, and how much influence we personally may have over our own health outcomes.

Fig 1: the pillars of healthy living taken from Dr Agne Straukiene’s slides at ‘Raising the bar for MS’

This article features a range of evidence supporting various lifestyle factors from diet and nutrition to movement and exercise, and demonstrates relevance to a range of neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s, Huntingdon’s, epilepsy and MS, as well as dementia.

If you are interested in practical ideas for increasing your own patient’s focus on their health and wellness, you can find some practical ways to improve your practice in this area through the national programme ‘Raising the bar for MS’, or listen to workstream lead Dr Agne Straukiene’s presentation at the most recent event:

  

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