Thursday, March 16, 2023
Thursday, March 16, 2023
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How To Help Someone With Parkinson’s Walk

What Are The Surgical Treatments For Parkinsons Disease

How a little black box is helping people with Parkinson’s disease walk

Most patients with Parkinsons disease can maintain a good quality of life with medications. However, as the disease worsens, medications may no longer be effective in some patients. In these patients, the effectiveness of medications becomes unpredictable reducing symptoms during on periods and no longer controlling symptoms during off periods, which usually occur when the medication is wearing off and just before the next dose is to be taken. Sometimes these variations can be managed with changes in medications. However, sometimes they cant. Based on the type and severity of your symptoms, the failure of adjustments in your medications, the decline in your quality of life and your overall health, your doctor may discuss some of the available surgical options.

Identify Your Triggers And Retrain Your Brain

Your therapist will evaluate your unique triggers and symptoms and guide you through an exercise program that incorporates cognitive challenges and physical training. This will help retrain your brain to use more effective walking patterns and reduce freezing episodes.

Those with more intense freezing symptoms may benefit from short anti-freezing intensives, like the one they offer at the PWR!Gym in Arizona.

In addition to working with a Parkinsons physical therapist, here are five more general strategies you can try to help avoid a freezing episode.

Living With Parkinson’s Disease

As Parkinson’s develops, a person who has it may slow down and won’t be able to move or talk quickly. Sometimes, speech therapy and occupational therapy are needed. This may sound silly, but someone who has Parkinson’s disease may need to learn how to fall down safely.

If getting dressed is hard for a person with Parkinson’s, clothing with Velcro and elastic can be easier to use than buttons and zippers. The person also might need to have railings installed around the house to prevent falls.

If you know someone who has Parkinson’s disease, you can help by being a good friend.

To Prevent Falls Exercise

Exercise is the only intervention that significantly reduces a persons risk of falling, among older people without PD as well as people with Parkinsons. Research is beginning to show how exercise changes the brain for the better and can help people with PD gain back some of their automatic balance reflex.

In a study, Dr. Horak and her team asked participants with PD to stand on a quickly moving treadmill, until they began walking. Participants initially took too-small steps, but with one hour of practicing, they improved, taking bigger steps to stay balanced while walking.

Many kinds of exercise can improve a persons balance. Consider trying:

  • Tai Chi: a moving meditation where movements involve shifting the bodys center of mass back and forth over the feet. Studies found fewer falls among people with PD who practiced Tai Chi three times a week.
  • Dance: to dance tango, a person has to walk backward and sideways, take big steps and both follow and lead good ways for people with PD to practice balance control.
  • Boxing: the rapid arm movements provide good balance training.
  • Agility boot camp: completing different tasks in a series of stations can improve balance.

Tip: People with PD may have other medical issues that affect their ability to exercise, such as arthritis or neuropathy. Work with a physical therapist to find an exercise that suits your needs.

Exercise And Physical Therapy

Research has shown that regular exercise benefits people with Parkinsons disease


  • reduces stiffness
  • improves mobility, posture, balance and gait

Aerobic exercise increases oxygen delivery and neurotransmitters to keep our heart, lungs, and nervous system healthy. General exercise may also reduce depression. Learning-based memory exercises can also help keep our memory sharp .

What types of exercise are best for people with Parkinsons disease?

There is increasing evidence that aerobic and learning-based exercises could be neuroprotective in aging individuals and those with neurodegenerative disease.  Facilitating exercise programs that challenge our heart and lungs as well as promote good biomechanics, good posture, trunk rotation and normal rhythmic, symmetric movements are the best.  Dancing to music may be particularly good for decreasing stiffness.

Types of exercises that do this:

  • Walking outside or in a mall
  • Dancing

Types of exercises that promote cardiopulmonary fitness:

  • Paced walking
  • Hiking using walking sticks
  • Swimming with different strokes with the eyes open and closed not only challenge motor learning but also increase heart rate and provide good cardiopulmonary conditioning.
  • New bodyweight-supported treadmills can also be helpful to protect from falling, and to facilitate easier coordinated movements for fast walking with a long stride or jogging.

Types of exercise that do NOT challenge motor planning:

Is there any value in strength training?

Caring For Someone With Advanced Parkinsons

As Parkinsons advances, there is a shift in overall daily caregiving responsibilities. You will face many challenges, but you can ensure best care with thoughtful planning and knowledge. This video provides an overview of what you need to know as the caregiver of someone with advanced Parkinsons. Watch the rest of the videos in the series, and refer to them as needed, for more information and tips on a variety of caregiving issues.

The information here offers suggestions and helpful hints, but is not designed to answer all questions. Each person with Parkinsons is unique, so the suggestions may need to be modified for your particular situation. You are strongly recommended to seek and build a team of professionals in your local area to help you on your caregiving journey. If you have questions or need a referral to a local provider, call the Parkinsons Foundation Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO .

In 2016, the Parkinsons Foundation hosted a Caregiver Summit that brought together caregivers from all over the U.S. and the world to share experiences and everyday strategies for coping with the complex problems that arise as a result of Parkinsons. If you missed the event, dont worry! All the general sessions were recorded and are available on our YouTube channel.

Complex Parkinson’s Disease And Palliative Care

Complex Parkinson’s disease is defined as the stage when treatment is unable to consistently control symptoms, or the person has developed uncontrollable jerky movements .

These problems can still be helped by adjustment or addition of some of the medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease, under the supervision of a doctor with a specialist interest in Parkinson’s disease.

As Parkinson’s disease progresses, you’ll be invited to discuss the care you want with your healthcare team as you near the end of your life. This is known as palliative care.

When there’s no cure for an illness, palliative care tries to alleviate symptoms, and is also aimed at making the end of a person’s life as comfortable as possible.

This is done by attempting to relieve pain and other distressing symptoms, while providing psychological, social and spiritual support for you and your family.

Palliative care can be provided at home or in a hospice, residential home or hospital.

You may want to consider talking to your family and care team in advance about where you’d like to be treated and what care you wish to receive.

Challenges You As A Caregiver Are Likely To Face

There are challenges that a person with Parkinson’s disease confronts. First, the disease can vary from day to day. There will be times when they can function almost normally and then other times when they will be very dependent. This is a natural part of the disease. But it can make a caregiver feel that the person is being unnecessarily demanding or manipulative. Keep in mind that Parkinson’s is unpredictable and each day can pose new challenges for you and your loved one.

Also, keep in mind that Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder. While medications and surgery can provide significant relief of symptoms, they do not stop the progression of the disease.

Depression is also very much a part of the disease. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression so you can help your loved one seek treatment promptly. And, if you are feeling depressed and having trouble coping, it’s just as important to get care for yourself.

Who Gets Parkinson’s Disease

Tips & Tricks – Improve walking in Parkinson’s

About 1 million people in the United States have Parkinson’s disease, and both men and women can get it. Symptoms usually appear when someone is older than 50 and it becomes more common as people get older.

Many people wonder if you’re more likely to get Parkinson’s disease if you have a relative who has it. Although the role that heredity plays isn’t completely understood, we do know that if a close relative like a parent, brother, or sister has Parkinson’s, there is a greater chance of developing the disease. But Parkinson’s disease is not contagious. You can’t get it by simply being around someone who has it.

#2 Wear The Right Shoes

Shoes that are easy to slide on may solve one problem but cause another. When your shoes are too large, too loose or lack proper support, they can cause your feet to slide around inside your shoes or toes to curl under to help stabilize yourself.

This lack of stability and impaired balance can trigger your freezing symptoms and leave you stuck, not to mention at a significantly higher risk for falling. Choose supportive and well fitting shoes with a closed toe and heel.

Parkinson’s Disease: How A New Device Is Helping Patients To Keep Walking

When Lise Papes father was diagnosed with the condition and started having trouble walking, it gave her an idea

When Lise Papes elderly father started having trouble walking, as a result of his Parkinsons disease, she was at a loss on how to help him. Freezing of gait is a common symptom of the disease and results in the person appearing to be stuck to the ground. Pape explains: You might see someone just stopping suddenly as though glued to the floor. This is a very common cause of falls. It can be hard to start walking again. My father could only overcome it if someone placed their foot in front of his, then he was instantly able to step across and break the freezing. It worked almost like magic. This observation gave her an idea. Pape, who is from Denmark and has been studying and working in the UK since 2011, wanted to create a device or product that could help with FoG problems without causing side effects. Some of the main drugs used can cause hallucinations, then the drug to stop this can cause constipation. You end up with a cascade of different drugs.

In 2016 she got her first angel investors on board, which enabled her to finally take the product to market. Setting up manufacturing and suppliers in China presented some problems. I really tried to find a UK-based manufacturer, says Pape, but it proved so difficult. There were lots of unknowns. Finally she found an agent on the ground in Shanghai, who came recommended through her investors network.

Help Them Feel Normal

A disease like Parkinsons can interfere with the normalcy of someones life. Because people may focus so much on the disease and its symptoms, your loved one may start to lose their sense of self. When you talk to your loved one, dont constantly remind them that they have a chronic disease. Talk about other things like their favorite new movie or book.

Key Points For Safely Helping Someone Move

  • Explain what you are going to do before you start moving the person.
  • Let them know how they can help you, even if its just by relaxing and doing nothing at all!
  • Decide on the correct position for the manoeuvre, such as on the persons least painful side or so that you can see their face if this helps with communication.
  • Make sure that you have plenty of space and no obstacles where you plan to move to.
  • Stand as close as possible to the person you are going to move as this will reduce strain on your back.
  • Place your feet comfortably apart so that you are well balanced and in a solid position, also ensuring that you can move forwards and backwards as well as side-to-side.
  • To reduce the risk of straining your back, always bend at the knees using your thigh muscles to take the weight and avoid twisting or bending at the waist.
  • Use roll, tilt and slide techniques instead of lifting wherever possible.
  • If the person you care for experiences muscular rigidity, then it is advisable to flex the limbs before attempting to move them. This is particularly important if they have been lying or sitting in the same position for some time. For example, if they have been sitting then flex the knees several times or if they have been lying down bend the legs.

Drive Medical Nitro Euro Style Walker

If you wish to have a walker that has all standard features plus a stylish look and comes with a reasonable price on Amazon, Drive medical nitro euro style walker is the one you should seriously consider. 

The walker serves as a great aid for people with mobility problems like Parkinsons disease. Using it provides increased safety, flexibility, and great walking comfort. It is crafted with a high-quality aluminum frame with a built-in brake cable for extra safety and protection. The overall frame of the walker is very stable and safe. It can handle a weight of up to 350 pounds.

A feature you may not see in other walkers is its big front wheels that help you smoothly go through very rough surfaces like stone roads and lawns. Also, the walker is very handy. It can be folded and you can take it in the trunk of your car and enjoy outdoor gatherings with your family and friends.

Is Parkinsons Disease Inherited

Scientists have discovered gene mutations that are associated with Parkinsons disease.

There is some belief that some cases of early-onset Parkinsons disease disease starting before age 50 may be inherited. Scientists identified a gene mutation in people with Parkinsons disease whose brains contain Lewy bodies, which are clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein. Scientists are trying to understand the function of this protein and its relationship to genetic mutations that are sometimes seen in Parkinsons disease and in people with a type of dementia called Lewy body dementia.

Several other gene mutations have been found to play a role in Parkinsons disease. Mutations in these genes cause abnormal cell functioning, which affects the nerve cells ability to release dopamine and causes nerve cell death. Researchers are still trying to discover what causes these genes to mutate in order to understand how gene mutations influence the development of Parkinsons disease.

Scientists think that about 10% to 15% of persons with Parkinsons disease may have a genetic mutation that predisposes them to development of the disease. There are also environmental factors involved that are not fully understood.

What Is The Outlook For Persons With Parkinsons Disease

Although there is no cure or absolute evidence of ways to prevent Parkinsons disease, scientists are working hard to learn more about the disease and find innovative ways to better manage it, prevent it from progressing and ultimately curing it.

Currently, you and your healthcare teams efforts are focused on medical management of your symptoms along with general health and lifestyle improvement recommendations . By identifying individual symptoms and adjusting the course of action based on changes in symptoms, most people with Parkinsons disease can live fulfilling lives.

The future is hopeful. Some of the research underway includes:

  • Using stem cells to produce new neurons, which would produce dopamine.
  • Producing a dopamine-producing enzyme that is delivered to a gene in the brain that controls movement.
  • Using a naturally occurring human protein glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor, GDNF to protect dopamine-releasing nerve cells.

Many other investigations are underway too. Much has been learned, much progress has been made and additional discoveries are likely to come.

Eating With Parkinsons Disease

Parkinson’s walking tips

Specially designed eating utensils for Parkinsons patients feature padded or built-up handles to help facilitate the eating process. Individuals who have difficulty controlling the fine motor skills necessary for eating and drinking may also benefit from weighted utensils and cups. Knives with a curved blade can allow PD patients to cut their own food with a rocking motion instead of the traditional sawing motion that may be more challenging. Serving meals in bowls or on plates with high lips or sides can make it much easier for patients to scoop food onto utensils and encourages self-feeding. Dishware with non-skid rubber bottoms can be helpful as well.

Read:Dysphagia: How to Help a Loved One Eat and Drink Safely

Prescription medications may also cause side effects like dry mouth, so it is very important to always encourage your loved one to sip on liquids during meals and throughout the day. This will help facilitate eating and swallowing and ensure they stay hydrated.

Easy Fold And Go Walker

If youre looking for a standard lightweight walker that is ideal for traveling and has an affordable price, think about this Easy Fold and Go walker. This newly designed mobility aid opens and folds up easily for stress-free portability. This easy-to-use rolling walker, with its sturdy design, allows users to walk with confidence, outdoors and indoors!

This walker is so portable that with the lift of a finger, the Easy Fold and Go Walker easily folds allowing it to be stored in a car, shopping cart, the overhead compartment of an airplane, or discreetly by the users side when not in use.

When it comes to the overall framing, the walker looks very stable, secure, and easily cleanable. Its crafted in a way that supports a weight of up to 400 lbs.

The walker has a height adjustment feature that allows the walker height to be easily adjusted to accommodate users from 4 feet 10 inches to 6 feet 8 inches tall. The 6 inches swivel wheels and rear easy-glide feet allow the user to easily maneuver the walker.

Who Gets Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsonâs disease, documented in 1817 by physician James Parkinson, is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimerâs disease. Estimates regarding the number of people in the United States with Parkinsonâs range from 500,000 to 1,500,000, with 50,000 to 60,000 new cases reported annually. No objective test for Parkinsonâs disease exists, so the misdiagnosis rate can be high, especially when a professional who doesnât regularly work with the disease makes the diagnosis.

How To Improve Walking For The Parkinsons Patient

One of the typical problems for the patient with Parkinsons disease is with walking. The disease damages the part of the brain called the basal ganglia.

This part of the brain is what produces dopamine. As the disease advance and the dopamine levels start to wane, disturbances in movement become common. The patient will start to walk with short, quick scuffling steps. He also will have trouble stopping and starting to move, and may have poor balance and tremors. All of these symptoms make it more likely that he will suffer a fall. So, there are some important tips as the caregiver that you should remember to help him to walk and to prevent falls:

#1 Use Auditory Cues

You may want to try to use helpful phrases with your loved one, such as take long steps, or step up. These gentle reminders can help him to alter his walking pattern. Your patient also may get stuck sometimes, and have trouble with initiating movement. These type of short, firm commands could help him to start moving again. We also have found that the use of a metronome that matches the walking speed of the patient can really help.

#2 Use Visual Cues

#3 Modify the Environment

To cut down on scuffles, try to have a very smooth floor for the patient to walk on. Tile or linoleum work well. Try to avoid carpets if possible, especially ones with a higher nap.

Get rid of throw rugs and any other obstacles, including coffee tables, footstools and magazine racks.

#4 Increase His Mobility

Signs Of Parkinsons Disease

In 1817, Dr. James Parkinson published An Essay on the Shaking Palsy describing non-motor, as well as, motor symptoms of the illness that bears his name. Parkinsons is not just a movement disorder, explained Dr. Shprecher. Constipation, impaired sense of smell, and dream enactment can occur years before motor symptoms of Parkinsons. The latter, caused by a condition called REM sleep behavior disorder, is a very strong risk factor for both Parkinsons and dementia . This has prompted us to join a consortium of centers studying REM sleep behavior disorder.

Walking Freezing And Falling

The dopamine in your brain is heavily involved in controlling the movement of your body. In Parkinsons, there are reduced levels of dopamine. For this reason the most obvious changes related to Parkinsons are normally those that affect your movement, including walking, falling and freezing.

In particular, slowed movement, stiff muscles and changes to posture affect all people living with Parkinsons. These issues and others can lead to challenges with walking, freezing and falling.

Signature Life Elite Travel Walker

This walker is becoming increasingly popular among patients. So what makes this walker so special; it is because of its lightweight, portability, ease of use, high-quality frame, and price.

The walker has a high-quality frame and is strong enough to support a weight of up to 400 pounds. At the same time, the frame is lightweight and can be folded very easily. You can store it in overhead plane compartments or in the front seat of your car. A premium organizer and storage pouch provides easy-to-reach compartments.

It provides a smooth walking experience because of its easy-to-operate barking system and swivel wheels. The walker is equipped with large locking swivel wheels and rear easy-glide feet that allow the user to maneuver through a variety of terrains with ease. 

The walker also has a front pouch and organizer basket that allows you to carry with you your belongings, water, or food items wherever you go.

What Causes A Shuffling Walk

Shuffling gait in people with Parkinsons is caused by a combination of bradykinesia and imbalance. The bradykinesia, which causes short, slow steps and small arm swing, is the result of progressive loss of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, in a part of the brain called the basal ganglia, explains Dr Fay Horak, professor of neurology at Oregon Health Science University , US.

That is why dopamine replacement therapy, levodopa, helps reduce shuffling by increasing the size and speed of stepping with a larger arm swing, she adds.

Trained Experts In Parkinsons Disease Care

How special walking stick helps Parkinson’s sufferers BBC News

We understand the rough days when you shuffle more and cant stop the shaking. Our in-home care professionals know just when to nudge you through exercises, when to cook some meals ahead, or when to help you relax and talk through how youre really feeling about the limitations on your body. We notice the changes in posture and facial expression and help you make comfortable adjustments to maintain coordination and balance.

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 .


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