Can Parkinsons Disease Be Prevented
Unfortunately, no. Parkinsons disease is long-term disease that worsens over time. Although there is no way to prevent or cure the disease , medications may significantly relieve your symptoms. In some patients especially those with later-stage disease, surgery to improve symptoms may be an option.
How To Help Someone With Parkinsons Stay Mobile
A very common symptom of Parkinsons is freezing. This happens when a person is walking or moving and suddenly experiences extreme rigidity and an almost complete loss of movement as if their feet are glued to the floor. When this happens, prompting can help your loved one become unstuck. Ask them to pretend that they are stepping over an imaginary line or object on the floor, or even encourage them to rock very slowly and gently from side to side to help them get moving again. If freezing is a common occurrence for your loved one, consider purchasing a specialty mobility device like a walker or rollator that is equipped with a laser pointer. When freezing occurs, they can simply press a button to project a laser line on the floor and use it as a visual cue to help them continue moving.
Massage therapy for Parkinsons patients can alleviate stress and relieve spasms, tremors, rigidity and muscle cramps. Heating pads also soothe aching muscles, and menthol pain relieving gel does wonders for stiff joints, but never use both together.
Exercising can be difficult at first but very beneficial for those living with PD. Encourage your loved one to do hand exercises like squeezing a rubber ball for short periods of time throughout the day to help reduce tremors and to keep hands and fingers strong and flexible. Even short daily walks and a mild fitness routine can keep muscles, tendons and joints strong for as long as possible.
A Lower Protein Diet To Help Meds Work Better
Diets heavy in protein, for instance, can limit your body’s absorption of levodopa in Sinemet, a common medication used in the management of Parkinson’s disease. As a result, some doctors recommend that people with Parkinson’s limit protein intake to 12 percent of their total daily calories. And taking your medication on an empty stomach before your meals can help your body absorb the drug, notes the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation recommends avoiding certain foods because of possible medication interactions, including:
In addition, fruits and vegetables in your diet may protect nerve cell function and possibly help keep Parkinson’s symptoms under control. Fruits and veggies also provide fiber, which can stimulate bowel movement and prevent constipation. Ask your doctor for a referral to a nutritionist to help make it easier to follow a healthy diet.
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Coping With Cognitive Changes And Parkinsons
Cognitive decline and behavioral changes often occur in the middle and late stages of Parkinsons disease. Caregivers must be particularly understanding and flexible when loved ones begin experiencing changes in memory and thinking. A PD patient may have trouble with planning, problem-solving, multitasking and spatial reasoning, which can make daily activities frustrating, impossible or even dangerous. Its important to encourage independence but remain focused on ensuring their safety.
Changes in a loved ones brain may also affect their ability to communicate. Approximately 89 percent of people diagnosed with Parkinsons disease also have some type of progressive motor speech disorder. A PD patients voice may become softer or hoarser, they may have difficulty finding words, or their speech may become slurred. Working with a speech therapist can help an elder maintain their communication skills and confidence in social settings. Continue to encourage open communication, minimize distractions, and allow more time for responses as well as verbalized requests.
Make Your Loved One’s Life A Little Easier With These Thoughtful Gifts
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Parkinsons disease is a progressive disorder that develops as a result of losing dopamine-producing neurons. These cells are mainly located in the part of the brain called substantia nigra pars compacta, explains movement disorders neurologist and Parkinsons expert Lynda Nwabuobi, MD. With degeneration of these cells and hence, depletion of dopamine, Parkinsons disease includes symptoms such as tremor, bradykinesia , and rigidity manifest.
This condition can make it more difficult to complete everyday tasks, like moving about the house, putting on clothes, and even speaking. It can be challenging to manage Parkinsons, especially on your own, so having friends and family there to support really can make the difference. Dr. Nwabuobi says its important to remember that Parkinsons is not fatal and many people live full enriched lives with the condition.
One of the ways to help someone in your life dealing with Parkinsons this holiday season is to give them a present that not only makes them smile, but works to make their life more manageable and puts some level of control back in their hands. Here are some gift ideas theyll be sure to love and appreciate.
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Activities Of Daily Living
There are many things a person does every day without even thinking about it such as bathing, brushing teeth, walking, turning in bed, signing checks, cutting food. When a person is diagnosed with Parkinson’s, it can eventually make all of these things more difficult. The following tips are meant to be helpful and raise awareness of adjusting to some of the difficulties with PD.
- Remove throw rugs and low-lying obstacles from pathways inside and outside your home.
- Use a cane when necessary.
- Avoid using stepladders or stools to reach high objects.
- Stop walking or sit down if you feel dizzy.
- Install handrails, especially along stairways.
- Slow down when you feel yourself in a hurry.
- Before rising from your bed or bath, pause for a moment in a sitting position.
- Stretch every day, especially before exercising.
- Exercise daily to build stamina.
- Warm baths and regular massage will help relax tired muscles.
- When your hands or feet get cold, wear gloves or warm socks.
- Don’t overdo physical activities know your limits and stay within them.
Turning in bed
- Perform difficult tasks when you feel well and when your medication is working effectively.
- Relax. Sit down from time to time, relax your arms and shoulders, and take deep breaths.
- Get a regular massage.
- Ask your physical therapist or doctor to recommend a stretching and exercise program.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Get plenty of rest.
Plan For Social Interaction
Emerging data and information are revealing that socializing and social networking is a part of the formula for the neuroprotection of people with Parkinsons. If there are no social interactions, it would be most beneficial to make a plan to include getting the person-with-Parkinsons out with others.
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Parkinsons Doesnt Kill You
Its true that people do not die from Parkinsons, but they typically die from complications of the disease. As an example, Parkinsons can impair patients ability to swallow, putting them at risk for inhaling, or aspirating, food or liquid into their lungs, leading to aspiration pneumonia. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death in patients with this disease.
Still, I fear living with a poor quality of life and loss of my independence more than I fear dying.
In the grand scheme of things, comments made out of ignorance are no big deal considering what people with Parkinsons deal with every day. Now that you know what not to say, read Sherris column on things you can say to someone with Parkinsons.
Sometimes you dont have to say anything. Silence speaks it all. Disha Patani
Advice For Nursing Care
People with Parkinsons have specific needs and care requirements. Most important is that they receive their medication on time, every time. Nurses should also be aware of the on/off nature of the condition.
Some patients say they are on when their drugs are working and symptoms are mostly under control. If they go off, their symptoms are not under control and it becomes harder for them to move some may stop moving altogether. Patients might change from on to off very quickly, like a switch.
The way in which Parkinsons affects patients can vary from hour to hour and day to day, and it also varies widely between individual patients. The amount of help and support they need also varies. Nurses should therefore listen to patients and their families about how the condition affects them.
It is important to ensure that patients have access to a varied and balanced diet nurses should take account of any swallowing or movement problems that could lead to malnutrition. It is also important to remember to give patients time to answer when talking to them. It may take them time to respond, but this does not mean they are not listening or do not understand.
Learn More About How Parkinsons Affects Families & Relationships
Much more can be found in a powerful new edition of Davis Phinney Foundations free Every Victory Counts® manual. The Every Victory Counts manual has an entire section on Parkinsons and the family along with tools care partners may find useful along their caregiving journey.
Its jam-packed with up-to-date information about everything Parkinsons, plus an expanded worksheets and resources section to help you put what youve learned into action. Color coding and engaging graphics help guide you through the written material and point you to complementary videos, podcasts and other materials on the Every Victory Counts companion website. And, it is still free of charge thanks to the generosity of our sponsors.
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Foster A Good Relationship
Lastly, maintaining your relationship and communication with the person with Parkinsonâs can be the most challenging and rewarding aspect of caregiving. As Parkinsonâs disease progresses, the roles change and the person with Parkinsonâs may go from being an independent head of the household to a very dependent person requiring a significant level of care. However, research shows that despite high levels of strain, caregivers with good quality relationships have reduced depression and better physical health. Remember, as a caregiver your service to your loved one is beyond measure in terms of love, depth of care, and concern.
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Being In A Relationship With Parkinsons
Parkinsons imposes role changes and new levels of dependency in couples. These adaptations are one of the biggest challenges faced by many couples. Preserving each persons health and autonomy, maintaining satisfying relationships and gradually adjusting roles are key to facilitating the changes associated with Parkinsons disease.
Accepting that Parkinsons will change your life as a couple can be difficult. You will experience both the role of care giver and receiver as the disease progresses and different health issues appear. Learn to communicate openly about your needs and emotions with your loved one to develop strategies that address daily challenges of the disease together. This will also help you protect your health and relationship.
Communicating and being in a relationship also means having intimacy and a fulfilling sex life . Sharing these moments increases your sense of closeness and pleasure. Talking about it with your partner can help you adjust to inevitable changes associated to aging and Parkinsons disease.
You can maintain a healthy relationship with your partner.
- Communicate openly
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.
Gifts For People With Parkinsonssome Things You Need To Consider
Consider the individuals needsChoose gifts for people with parkinsons, then give them something they need. For example, give a coffee lover not just coffee, but a brand they gave up for financial reasons. Or give one the need to dress up an accessory.
Consider their agegifts for people with parkinsons. It is disappointing for a child to accept something that they have proudly matured into. For teens, try checking out the stores they shop at now. The stores they were once wildly popular with are out of date. The same is true for people old enough to actually have everything they need or want. May the older ones know what they like.
Foods Containing Nutrients That People May Be Deficient In
Some research suggests that people with Parkinsons often have certain nutrient deficiencies, including deficiencies in iron, vitamin B1, vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin D.
The above study points out that some of these deficiencies may be associated with neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration, which are key factors in Parkinsons.
Therefore, people with Parkinsons may wish to consume more of the following foods.
Foods containing iron
The following foods are good sources of iron:
- certain fortified foods
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Exercise And Healthy Eating
Regular exercise is particularly important in helping relieve muscle stiffness, improving your mood and relieving stress.
You should also try to eat a balanced diet containing all the food groups to give your body the nutrition it needs to stay healthy.
Cubii Pro Seated Under Desk Elliptical Machine
While there is no cure for Parkinsons, a combination of exercise and the proper pharmacological therapy can alleviate symptoms, says Dr. Nwabuobi. Animal data suggests that exercise affects dopaminergic neurotransmission and neuroplasticity. Clinically, it helps patients maintain their balance, mobility and activities of daily living, she explains further. The Cubii Pro Seated Elliptical Machine is a great way to get in physical activity throughout the day, whether doing work at your desk or lounging on the couch. Its able to sync with smartphones and fitness trackers to keep an accurate record of your pedaled distance, calories burned, and more.
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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 .
Financial Legal And Technological Support
If you have Parkinson’s there are a number things that it’s useful to know about work, money, driving and legal issues.
- Many people carry on working after diagnosis. You might find you can talk to your boss about working fewer hours or more flexibly.
- There is financial help available for people with Parkinson’s and carers. This includes grants and benefits.
- If you have Parkinson’s and you drive need to tell the the DVLA or the DVA that you have Parkinson’s. But having Parkinson’s doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to stop driving.
- You have the right to have the future you want. Planing things now and putting your affairs in order can reassure you that your wishes will be protected.
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