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Can You Fly With Parkinson’s Disease

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Advice For Travelling With Parkinson’s Disease:

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

There are a few things we’d suggest you consider before booking your accommodation to make sure all aspects are compatible with and comfortable for your condition. If stairs are normally an issue for you, you might want to consider whether you’ll require a lift in the hotel or maybe a ground-floor room? If you need wheelchair access, maybe while browsing accommodation note if they’re disability-friendly and whether the bathrooms are fitted with grab-bars and seats?

Exposure To Pesticides In The Military

Agent Orange was an herbicide that US troops sprayed in Vietnam from 1961-1971 to kill trees and crops that provided protection and food to the rival army. It is a mixture of two chemicals: 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and 2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxyacetic acid. Agent Orange was also contaminated with Dioxin, a chemical even more damaging than Agent Orange itself, since it is very long-lasting.

The effects of Agent Orange on both the Vietnamese population and on American soldiers has been studied extensively, but with much variability in the results. Birth defects have been attributed to Agent Orange exposure, as well as multiple types of cancer.

With the understanding that the Veteran community served selflessly on behalf of the American people and therefore deserve the protection and support of the American government, the Agent Orange Act was passed in 1991, allowing the Department of Veteran Affairs to declare certain conditions presumptive to exposure to Agent Orange, even if the scientific data associating Agent Orange with that condition was not airtight.

The list of conditions has grown over the years, and in 2010, PD was added. Read here about how veterans who may have been exposed to Agent Orange and have subsequently developed PD are eligible for VA healthcare and disability compensation. APDA offers a free booklet specifically for veterans to help them find the care and support they need.

I Am Innately Optimistic And A Glass

This is a new and ground-breaking area of neurology and there appears not to be resolution of non-motor issues. But my view is Never say Never! It is vital to be optimistic, just as it is vital to take ownership of the situation, be mindful of all that is happening and work with all those whose role it is to help you.

Read the first part of Joannes story:

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Travel And Holiday Insurance For People With Parkinsons

At Freedom Insurance, we specialise in covering pre-existing medical conditions, including parkinson’s disease. If you, or your travelling companion have been diagnosed with parkinson’s of any severity, it’s important to make sure you are fully covered when travelling in the UK, Europe and worldwide.

Around 1 in 20 people with parkinson’s will experience symptoms when they are under the age of 40 and with an estimated 1 in 500 people being affected by the condition, it is a lot more common than you might think for us to provide a specialist travel insurance policy. Providing you are comfortable travelling and have all necessary support, we don’t believe this condition should put a stop to your international adventures!

If you’re travelling with friends or family you can also elect to add them onto the same specialist travel insurance policy so that if any trip complications were to arise relating to either person, everyone on the policy would be covered to claim for this. This would include claims for cancellation of the trip or emergency medical treatment abroad whether it’s related to parkinson’s or another unrelated medical condition.

OR 01223 446 914

Freedom’s been providing travel and holiday insurance to people with pre-existing medical conditions for over 17 years!

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Karl Robb Provides Practical Tips For Safe And Comfortable Travels

Tips on Traveling with Parkinson

From the train ticket collector who wanted proof of my Parkinson’s disease to the airport security ladies who laughed at the way I was moving, I have certainly experienced my share of frustrations while traveling. Even so, it is the fellow travelers who reached out to lend me a hand that I remember most.

I am not ashamed of being a person with Parkinson’s disease. So when I travel, I don’t hide. But there was a time, in my early twenties, when I would not tell people I had Parkinson’s. Now in my forties, I feel a responsibility to educate everyone who has an interest in this illness.

Traveling these days, whether you have a physical challenge or not, can be a hassle, but there are ways to make the time away more enjoyable, safer, and less stressful. Here is a list of helpful tips that I hope will make you and your travel companions more comfortable on your next vacation.

Create a checklist. Following a good list will help you be prepared and not be over packed.

Start packing early. Packing ahead of schedule will allow you to relax and feel less rushed the day you leave. Make sure that the clothes you want to wear are ready and all the items you want to bring are easily accessible.

Choose comfort over fashion. Pack comfortable clothes and walking shoes that will allow you to move freely. Your mobility and flexibility should be a priority when you are on the go.

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Home And Occupational Environments

Patient activities and environmental precautions. Patients should take reasonable care to avoid devices that generate strong EMI, which may cause the neurostimulation system to unintentionally turn on or off. Patients should also avoid any activities that would be potentially unsafe if their symptoms were to return unexpectedly. These activities include but are not limited to climbing ladders and operating potentially dangerous machinery, power tools, and vehicles. Sudden loss of stimulation may cause patients to fall or lose control of equipment or vehicles, injure others, or bring injury upon themselves.

Control of the patient controller.Advise patients to keep the patient controller away from children and pets in order to avoid potential damage or other hazards.

Activities requiring excessive twisting or stretching. Patients should avoid activities that may put undue stress on the implanted components of the neurostimulation system. Activities that include sudden, excessive or repetitive bending, twisting, or stretching can cause component fracture or dislodgement. Component fracture or dislodgement may result in loss of stimulation, intermittent stimulation, stimulation at the fracture site, and additional surgery to replace or reposition the component.

Household appliances. Household appliances that contain magnets may unintentionally cause the neurostimulation system to turn on or turn off.

Slice Titlehow To Tell People You Have Parkinsons While You’re Away

Wearing a MedicAlert bracelet or pendant can be very helpful if youre not able to communicate in an emergency. It is a piece of jewellery that provides contact details and medical information, including what medications youre taking.

The European Parkinsons Disease Association online translation tool allows you to translate the phrase I have Parkinsons. Please allow me time. In case of emergency contact into 25 different languages. You can then print it out and keep it in your wallet or purse while youre away.

You may also want to order and carry a Parkinsons UK alert card, which tells people you have Parkinsons. Its a plastic card you can keep in your purse or wallet in case of emergencies or when having difficulties with movement or communication.

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Changes In Sleeping Patterns

As Parkinsons progresses, you can also develop problems with sleep patterns. These may not happen in the early stages, but can be noticeable later. You might wake up often in the middle of the night or sleep more during the day than you do at night.

Another common sleep disturbance for people with Parkinsons is rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder. This is when you start acting out your dreams in your sleep, such as verbally and physically, which can get uncomfortable if someone is sharing your bed. Dr. Rundle-Gonzalez says many times a bed partner will be the one to notice sleep problems.

REM sleep behavior disorder can also happen in people who dont have Parkinsons. However, if this isnt something youve dealt with before, its likely related to your disease. There are medications your doctor can prescribe to help you sleep comfortably through the night.

Sleep Disorders And Parkinson’s

A world-first trial for Parkinson’s disease

Henchcliffe notes that it’s been well documented that sleep disturbances, including having problems falling asleep or staying asleep, restless legs syndrome, and other sleep disorders, are common in people with Parkinson’s. Over the years there’s been some debate over whether sleep trouble is a complication of Parkinson’s or a precursor of the disease an early warning sign that surfaces well before other symptoms set it.

“What’s really turned out to be a critical link is the recognition that certain specific sleep disorders , not only affect people with Parkinson’s but in fact show up in some cases many years earlier than the movement symptoms that lead to diagnosis,” Henchcliffe said. “So while for some types of sleep disturbances we might still debate whether they are precursors or complications, for RBD there is now extremely strong evidence that it can be a harbinger of Parkinson’s disease that will manifest some years down the line.”

REM sleep behavior disorder is characterized by people acting out their dreams, like Alda experienced. Examples of this might include dreaming that you’re fighting off an attacker and actually punching out, or dreaming that you’re hitting a ball on a tennis court and physically swinging your arm to make the stroke.

Henchcliffe emphasizes that not everyone with RBD is destined to develop Parkinson’s.

Also Check: What Is The Life Expectancy Of Someone With Parkinson’s Disease

Hospital And Medical Environments

Electrical medical treatment. In the case that a medical treatment is administered where an electrical current is passed through the body from an external source, first deactivate the IPG by setting all electrodes to off, turning stimulation off, and setting amplitude to zero. Regardless if the device is deactivated, take care to monitor the device for proper function during and after treatment.

High-output ultrasonics and lithotripsy.The use of high-output devices, such as an electrohydraulic lithotriptor, may cause damage to the electronic circuitry of an implanted IPG. If lithotripsy must be used, do not focus the energy near the IPG.

Ultrasonic scanning equipment.The use of ultrasonic scanning equipment may cause mechanical damage to an implanted neurostimulation system if used directly over the implanted system.

External defibrillators.The safety of discharge of an external defibrillator on patients with implanted neurostimulation systems has not been established.

Therapeutic radiation. Therapeutic radiation may damage the electronic circuitry of an implanted neurostimulation system, although no testing has been done and no definite information on radiation effects is available. Sources of therapeutic radiation include therapeutic X rays, cobalt machines, and linear accelerators. If radiation therapy is required, the area over the implanted IPG should be shielded with lead. Damage to the system may not be immediately detectable.

How Will Parkinson’s Affect My Insurance Premium

Your insurance premium will be based upon a few straightforward and simple questions. Broadly speaking, the less advanced and more stable your condition is, the less it will affect the cost of your insurance premium but this of course will vary from person to person.

To give you an accurate and fair price for your policy, our team of insurance experts take into account a number of factors before giving you a quote:

  • Level of risk – Our insurers assess the severity of your condition, doing so based on the answers you provide during your screening.
  • Age – The likelihood of having to make a claim increases generally tends to increase according to the age of the traveller, so this is taken into account when we draw up your policy.
  • Destination – With some locations, the only suitable healthcare facilities available are privately run, and so cost more. In this case, you may find that the price of your policy is slightly higher to reflect this.

If you have any uncertainties about travelling we would always suggest speaking to your doctor about the manageability of your condition to see if they can give any advice or how much medication to bring with you. Giving the most information about your condition is imperative in order for us to provide you with the most suitable policy for your pre-existing medical condition.

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Specialist Travel Insurance From Free Spirit For Parkinsons Disease

We have designed a fully comprehensive Parkinsons disease travel insurance for that much needed holiday and it has all the key features you would expect to see from a standard policy and much more!

Why should you cover your Parkinsons disease for travelling?

The two main reasons for taking out specialist travel insurance for Parkinsons disease is to cover you for cancellation before you travel and to cover you for emergency medical expenses while you are away.

In the event you need to cancel your holiday due to your Parkinsons disease, Free Spirit can provide cancellation cover for your unused travel and accommodation costs that you have already paid for or are contracted to pay. If you are unfortunate enough to have a medical emergency during your holiday because of your Parkinsons disease, Free Spirit can provide cover for your associated costs including medical repatriation if medically necessary.

Dont forget, if you arrange your cover as soon as you book your holiday you will be immediately protected should you need to cancel your trip .

Consequences of not covering your Parkinsons disease before you go on holiday

Many standard travel insurance policies exclude cover for pre-existing medical conditions such as Parkinsons disease or will decline to offer cover. However, with Free Spirit you can obtain the insurance cover you need for your Parkinsons disease and any associated medical conditions, to give you the peace of mind protection you need when you travel.

Our Top Tips For Travelling With Parkinson’s:

  • Make sure you let your airport, train station or port that you have Parkinson’s in advance. You never know, you might be able to board earlier, or at least have some assistance or a wheelchair if mobility is an issue.
  • Again, we’d suggest you keep all of your medication in an easily accessible bag in your hand luggage for easy identification at security.
  • Make sure you have your medical card or bracelet readily available should you need to explain your condition to a member of staff.
  • Try wearing a backpack so you’re hands-free, making balance easier
  • If you’re flying, book a direct flight and request an aisle seat if at all possible to make life that bit easier.

Holiday Extras Travel Insurance is sold and administered by Holiday Extras Cover Limited who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under registration number 828848.

Holiday Extrasâ⢠is a Trading Name of Holiday Extras Cover Limited

Holiday Extras Travel Insurance is provided by Taurus Insurance Services, an insurance intermediary licenced and authorised in Gibraltar by the Financial Services Commission under Permission Number 5566 and authorised to passport general insurance intermediary services into the UK and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK under registration number 444830.

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What Medications Are Used To Treat Parkinsons Disease

Medications are the main treatment method for patients with Parkinsons disease. Your doctor will work closely with you to develop a treatment plan best suited for you based on the severity of your disease at the time of diagnosis, side effects of the drug class and success or failure of symptom control of the medications you try.

Medications combat Parkinsons disease by:

  • Helping nerve cells in the brain make dopamine.
  • Mimicking the effects of dopamine in the brain.
  • Blocking an enzyme that breaks down dopamine in the brain.
  • Reducing some specific symptoms of Parkinsons disease.

Levodopa: Levodopa is a main treatment for the slowness of movement, tremor, and stiffness symptoms of Parkinsons disease. Nerve cells use levodopa to make dopamine, which replenishes the low amount found in the brain of persons with Parkinsons disease. Levodopa is usually taken with carbidopa to allow more levodopa to reach the brain and to prevent or reduce the nausea and vomiting, low blood pressure and other side effects of levodopa. Sinemet® is available in an immediate release formula and a long-acting, controlled release formula. Rytary® is a newer version of levodopa/carbidopa that is a longer-acting capsule. The newest addition is Inbrija®, which is inhaled levodopa. It is used by people already taking regular carbidopa/levodopa for when they have off episodes .

Parkinson’s Medication And Driving

Drowsiness can be a side effect of some Parkinsons medications, particularly dopamine agonists. In some cases, medications can cause you to suddenly fall asleep or feel excessively sleepy during the day.

Regulations regarding this vary, so it is important that you check with your countrys regulatory body to confirm their policy. If you experience drowsiness you should stop driving until you have spoken with your doctor. Changing medication can sometimes help, but not always.

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Travel And Parkinsons: Traveling Tips For Summer

Traveling can be stressful for a lot of people, but it can be particularly stressful when you mix in the unpredictability of Parkinsons disease. Five years ago, at the Orlando International Airport, I learned the hard way just how important it is to plan ahead when traveling with the extra baggage of Parkinsons.

What was supposed to be a fun trip with a group of friends to celebrate my 40th birthday didnt start off well. A late night of last-minute packing plus an early morning flight meant very little sleep. As we were delayed by traffic on the way to the airport, I could feel slowness and rigidity starting to set in. I took a pill hoping it would kick in before we got to the airport. It felt like my dopamine levels were dropping almost as fast as my optimism of making our flight on time. When we finally arrived at the airport, thanks to a friendly airline attendant at curbside check-in, things were looking up.

Then it happened. As I rounded the corner to the security checkpoint and laid eyes on the typical long lines of passengers, I could feel my toes starting to curl. As I was on the verge of not being able to stand, my husband went searching for a wheelchair. This was a first for me I had never required a wheelchair before. Heck, at this point very few people even knew I had Parkinsons.

About Guest Author Tonya Walker:


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