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Diet and exercise

Here you’ll find all the key information you need to know about making healthy lifestyle choices to help you cope both physically and mentally when living with myeloma

Eating a healthy diet and taking regular exercise are two positive steps all myeloma patients should think about. Making healthy lifestyle choices will help you cope both mentally and physically when living with myeloma.

Eating well

There are no specific dietary recommendations for myeloma patients, so myeloma patients should follow a normal healthy diet. This can help you maintain your energy and strength and may aid recovery after treatment. A healthy diet should include carbohydrates, protein, fruit and vegetables, dairy and fat.

There will be times when you may need to pay greater attention to the foods you eat. For example, you may need to alter your diet if your immune system is compromised and your white cell count is low. This is because you’re at increased risk of picking up an infection.

Some myeloma treatments can affect how much and what you want to eat. It’s important to eat what you can, when you can, to help keep your energy up.

Myeloma can sometimes reduce how well your kidneys work, so it is important to drink a lot of fluids to help your kidneys work well – 2 to 3 litres (or 3 to 5 pints) of liquid per day is recommended. All liquids count and tea, coffee and alcohol can be included, in moderation.

Supplements and herbal remedies

In most circumstances, a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables should provide adequate vitamins and nutrients to maintain general health, so supplements are not necessary for myeloma patients. However, your doctor may prescribe a vitamin supplement if you have a specific deficiency, such as vitamin D.

Supplements or herbal medicines that have not been prescribed by your haematologist have the potential to cause problems when taken alongside your prescribed treatment.

You must speak to your doctor before taking any kind of supplement or alternative treatment that they have not prescribed, including herbal, traditional or natural medicines and remedies, and vitamins or wellbeing supplements, to ensure it is safe to do so and will not have any harmful effects when taken alongside your prescribed treatment.

Exercising

As well as eating well, you should exercise regularly. Being physically active can improve your physical and emotional ability to carry on with day-to-day life, boost your mood and help to improve fatigue.

The most important thing for you to think about when planning any sort of exercise is the effect it might have on your bones. You should avoid strenuous exercises like weightlifting or contact sports such as rugby. Gentle forms of exercise such as walking, swimming, cycling, gentle aqua-aerobics, gentle gym work, yoga and tai chi are good for overall health and for muscle strengthening.

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