An information meeting for young people with multiple sclerosis (MS) is due to take place in Dublin this weekend.
MS is a chronic disease of the central nervous system, which causes a gradual degeneration of the nerves. This results in a progressive deterioration in various functions controlled by the nervous system, such as movement and speech. Around 9,000 people in Ireland are affected.
The annual MS Explored meeting will cover topics such as how to navigate work life, relationships and intimacy, and fitness.
According to Sinead Brady, a career psychologist who is one of the keynote speakers at the event, work plays a significant role in how we connect with ourselves and with others.
"Research reveals that people who derive meaning from their work, and who are engaged in their work, tend to be more resilient, make better lifestyle choices and have the capacity to cope better with stress.
"This has a knock-on effect in terms of health and wellbeing and ultimately quality of life. We will be discussing the concept of meaningful work, defining your own success and setting your non-negotiables," Ms Brady said.
The importance of fitness will also be highlighted. According to keynote speaker and physiotherapist, Prof Susan Coote, improving fitness can have a beneficial effect on many symptoms of MS.
"The MS guidelines suggest a minimum of two 30-minute sessions of aerobic exercise and two strengthening sessions per week. Exercising at this level can have a positive effect on strength, fitness, walking, mood, fatigue and quality of life.
"Do whatever type of exercise you enjoy and what fits in with your lifestyle, and that way you are more likely to maintain that good habit. Start small and gradually increase. Do a little more each week than you did the week before and listen to your body to gauge what is right for you on that day," Prof Coote suggested.
Other keynote speakers at the event include consultant neurologist, Dr Maria Gaughan and Sarah Sproule, a sexuality educator and occupational therapist.
"We see this as a great opportunity for young people living with MS in Ireland to come together and to discuss topics of importance in their day-to-day lives. While MS can vary greatly from person to person and can often be invisible to those around them, MS Explored can support them in living well with the condition," commented Ava Battles, CEO of MS Ireland, which is hosting the event in association with Novartis.
MS Explored takes place in the Gibson Hotel, Dublin, on Saturday, October 12, from 10.30am to 3pm. The experts will speak between 11am and 1pm, with the option for lunch, networking and one-to-one questions and answer sessions taking place until 3pm.
The meeting is free of charge and tickets can be obtained from Eventbrite here.
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