This past week I, along with most of the country, started school. The beginning of the school year is the best time to develop healthy habits, especially for students with Moyamoya.

At my school, I let all of my teachers and sports coaches know that I have Moyamoya. Although almost none of them initially know what the disease is, I explain to them how it can affect me. It is crucial to be on the same page with the adults around you during school because, in the event of an emergency, it will be difficult to have to explain what is going on. These faculty members will not only be better suited to help in the event of an emergency, but will also know what is going on with you in general; they will be aware that you need to stay hydrated, cannot have anything that restricts blood flow to the head, cannot hyperventilate, etc.

Despite almost never being in situations where my teachers or faculty needed to help me, it is safer and more reassuring to have the options available. The only times that I was given “special treatment” were when I was allowed to go outside the class and get water whilst others could not. This experience made me feel uncomfortable and alienated from my classmates. However, it is extremely important for all of the adults in your life to be aware that you have Moyamoya, and that importance cannot be understated.

In school, it is critical to stay hydrated. I have had days where everything just flew by in a blur, and it was only at the end when I realized that I have not been hydrating. Remembering to drink water can be the most difficult aspect of staying hydrated, and one of the best ways to stay on top of it is to carry around a water bottle.

Investing in a BPA-free water bottle is a great idea, and bringing it from class to class can ensure maximum hydration. You can fill it up at water fountains or in the cafeteria, and even bring it to sports after school. An important notion to be aware of is that there is no downside to drinking tons of water. It is better to air on the side of more water than less, simply because the only effect will be more frequent urination.

My last tip for students with Moyamoya is to know one’s body. Having a good sense of your limits, and what you can and cannot do is the best way to keep healthy. Using common sense and not doing anything stupid, keeping in mind your limits, helps immensely.

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