Build Your Support Network
The common consensus among experts is that you shouldnt go it alone when it comes to living with PD. While you should try to maintain bonds with family and friends for camaraderie, WebMD says you might have to cast your net a little wider to get the support you need.
This means you can seek out support groups that are in-person or online to discuss the disease with others who have it. The source also suggests building your health team, which can include a physical or occupational therapist, as well as a massage therapist and acupuncturist . A mental health professional can help you cope and rekindle your enjoyment in life when youre feeling depressed, it adds.
In Summary Reduce Your Stress
The most important thing we can do for our long-term health, both physical and cognitive, is to reduce the stress in our bodies. All stress physical, emotional and chemical causes inflammation and long-term damage throughout the body.
Whether youre seeking Parkinsons prevention techniques or ways to alleviate symptoms, any of the above dietary and lifestyle practices can have long-term health benefits. Drinking green tea, eating organic, local vegetables, and regular aerobic exercise all significantly reduce the long-term cumulative damage done by stress.
Learn more about health services offered at Judson by !
Challenges Of Lifestyle Observational Studies
Selection bias, confounding, and recruitment are key challenges. Multifactorial recruitment strategies and appropriate analysis can minimize selection bias and confounders, respectively . Screening for an enriched cohort may increase recruitment efficiency and the possibility of observing a therapeutic effect. Prodromal cohorts allow identification of PD in its earliest stages, with time to conversion being a measure of disease progression. Algorithms based on a combination of risk factors group participants into high, medium, and low risk of conversion, thereby potentially isolating an enriched, trial-ready population . Interventions are likely to have the most effect on this high-risk group as neurodegeneration is less established. Primary limitations are identifying participants with prodromal features, lack of generalizability given a selective PD sub-type, slow conversion of up to 14 years, and distinguishing intervention effects from slow rate of conversion.
Recommended Reading: How Fast Does Parkinson’s Develop
Improve Your Diet And Nutritional Intake
Parkinsons, like many other health conditions, can be managed through improvement in diet and nutritional intake. Youd be surprised by how much of a difference it makes to have the right foods, which can naturally boost dopamine, reduce oxidative stress, and increase your intake of vitamins and important nutrients.
Eating To Ease Symptoms
For some Parkinson’s symptoms, the first step in treatment is to adjust your diet.
- Constipation: Drinking more fluids and eating more fiber can help maintain regularity. Aim to drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Warm liquids, especially in the morning, can stimulate bowel movements. Dietary sources of fiber consist of fruits , vegetables, legumes, whole grain breads and cereals. Most of these are high in antioxidants, as well.
Talk to your doctor or a dietitian to craft a diet that helps you manage your Parkinson’s symptoms and feel energized and healthy.
Don’t Miss: How To Prevent Parkinson’s Disease
Making The Most Of On Time
Although there are many approaches to managing off time, it often becomes harder to control motor fluctuations over time. Once you get a sense of when your off times are likely to occur possibly with the help of a motor symptom journal you can better plan your day. Take advantage of on times when symptoms are well-controlled to be active, and try to make sure “off” times happen at times when it matters less.
Each persons daily schedule will look different based on when off time occurs which may be as a dose of Parkinsons medication wears off, in the morning before the first dose, or while waiting for a dose to take effect. It may also depend on other medications you take, whether for Parkinsons or another medical condition.
As you make your schedule, take into account:
- Timing meals for best medication effectiveness
- Getting sunlight and physical activity early in the day if possible
- Minimizing drinking before bedtime to avoid needing to get up to urinate
- Taking any sedating medication later in the day, closer to bedtime
For some MyParkinsonsTeam members, the morning is peak on time. Best time for me is early in the morning, wrote one member. I clean house, do yoga, then have a big breakfast at about 6:30. Another shared, Walked three miles this morning. If I dont walk in the morning, by the afternoon Im spent! No energy!
Support Groups: Connect With Other Patients
Your family and friends can help you with your practical needs relating to your Parkinsons, but they won’t understand what you are going through unless they are affected by the same condition. Many patients find it very useful to have some kind of contact with others who have Parkinson’s, whether this comes in the form of an in-person or online support group. Not only can these groups be great for emotional support, other patients can also share what lifestyle adjustments have worked for them potentially something that can really help you. You can ask your social worker, physician, or nurse for recommendations on online or local support groups to join.
Recommended Reading: How Can You Get Parkinson’s Disease
Caregivers Can Help Ease Some Common Symptoms Of Parkinsons
Parkinsons disease affects many thousands of people in the United States. According to the Parkinsons Foundation, around 60,000 Americans are diagnosed each year, most of whom are over 60 years old. There is no doubt that caring for someone living with Parkinsons disease is a tough challenge. Although, at the moment, there is no cure, a rehabilitation program like the Big and Loud rehabilitation model that has been specifically tailored towards the needs of Parkinsons patients can work towards controlling symptoms affecting movement and speech. Additionally, a combination of medication and healthy lifestyle choices can work to alleviate some Parkinsons disease symptoms.
What is Parkinsons Disease?The American Parkinson Disease Association describes Parkinsons as, a type of movement disorder that can affect the ability to perform common, daily activities. It affects nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control movement. The disease causes the nerve cells to break down and, as a result, the body receives less dopamine. In consequence, muscles cannot function properly and movement becomes difficult.
Easing Symptoms and Side-effectsThere are also dietary and lifestyle changes that can help deal with common symptoms of Parkinsons disease and the side-effects of medication. These can include nausea, uneasiness, diarrhea, constipation and lack of appetite.
Eat Plenty Of Protein But Not With Levodopa Medications
If youre taking a levodopa medication, your doctor may tell you to avoid protein when taking your meds. Both animal and plant protein can interfere with the absorption of levodopa medications.
But you should still eat plenty of protein. Just be strategic with the timing. Dont take levodopa medications with meals, Dr. Gostkowski says. Its best to take it on an empty stomach either 30 minutes before your meal or an hour after eating.
If you get nauseous from the medication, eat a small amount of starchy food with it, such as crackers. Make sure whatever you eat with your medicine doesnt have protein. Its a misunderstanding that people with Parkinsons should avoid protein, Dr. Gostkowski says. You definitely need protein in your diet. Just dont eat it when youre taking your levodopa medication.
You May Like: How Do You Get Diagnosed With Parkinson’s
Tips And Lifestyle Changes To Improve Off Time In Parkinsons
- People who take levodopa for Parkinsons disease may notice that the medications effectiveness can wear off, causing motor symptoms.
- You can manage these off periods using a combination of lifestyle changes, and by talking to your doctor about whether you should adjust your medication dosage and schedule.
Most people who begin levodopa treatment for Parkinsons disease can get several years of near-complete relief from symptoms with few side effects. After several years on levodopa, however, its common for symptoms to become harder to manage and more medication to become necessary.
As levodopa loses its effectiveness and dopamine levels rise and fall, some people living with Parkinsons notice off times when medication isnt working, as well as motor fluctuations changes in their ability to move. In some people, motor fluctuations are accompanied by dyskinesia, a complication of dopamine agonist therapy that causes involuntary and abnormal movements such as twisting, writhing, and jerking.
Benefits Of Outdoor Environments
There is some compelling evidence supporting the encouragement of more outdoor activities and interactions with nature. Time spent outdoors can help reap the benefits of fresh air, sensible amounts of sunshine, exposure to natural light, enable an individual to practise manoeuvring on varied terrain, and increase socialisation. These benefits might include reductions in stress, anxiety, and depression, and an increase in overall well-being. Encountering the smell of plants and natural sounds from a garden may help stress reduction and enhance mental health. Exercise outdoors, in natural environments, can result in a better sense of revitalisation, engagement, and energy, along with less of the negative feelings of tension, anger and depression.
While recommendations for outdoor exercise are commendable, it is important for the clinician to keep in mind strategies for keeping patients safe. Consider the following suggestions:
Read Also: How Parkinson’s Affects The Brain
Support For People Living With Parkinsons Disease
While the progression of Parkinsons is usually slow, eventually a persons daily routines may be affected. Activities such as working, taking care of a home, and participating in social activities with friends may become challenging. Experiencing these changes can be difficult, but support groups can help people cope. These groups can provide information, advice, and connections to resources for those living with Parkinsons disease, their families, and caregivers. The organizations listed below can help people find local support groups and other resources in their communities.
How Can Lifestyle Behaviours Affect Pd Outcomes
Lifestyle behaviours may play a role in neuroprotection, disease progression, and symptom management. Neuroprotection refers to protecting the structure or function of nerve cells, thereby reducing neurodegeneration. Treatments that target anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory pathways are one area of focus, with promising dietary sources including flavonoids, caffeine, and high-purine foods that result in higher urate levels . Epidemiological studies show consistent associations of smoking and physical activity with reduced risk of PD . It is debatable whether nicotine is neuroprotective or whether the observation is due to the harm-avoiding personality of people who develop PD . As shown in animal models, exercise is beneficial to cell regeneration, survival, and oxidative stress , and thus can be recommended as an approach for neuroprotection.
Disease modification refers to the ability to affect the underlying pathophysiology of the disease and have a beneficial effect on the course of the disease by stopping, slowing, or reversing progression. No study to date has shown a delay in progression of neurodegeneration in PD. This is primarily because of the difficulty in monitoring progression. Neuroimaging via 18F-DOPA PET and 123I-beta-CIT SPECT allows monitoring of the progressive loss of presynaptic nigrostriatal projections in PD, but these measures are expensive, variable, and unable to detect subtle changes.
Don’t Miss: What’s The Signs Of Parkinson’s Disease
Is It The Weather
Many of my fellow PD sufferers have shared their struggles with the appearance of a possible new symptom or worsening of existing symptoms. Is it something we ate? Or do we chalk it up to a bad PD day? Could it be fluctuations in barometric pressure or is it part of the normal aging process? Is our disease progressing or have we taken our medications at the wrong times? Should we have eaten more food or had more water with our pills? Did we get enough sleep or are we too stressed? The list goes on and on. With PD, there is so much uncertainty. It is very difficult to determine what is helping my symptoms or slowing the disease progression, and what is not.
The Symptoms To Watch For
Individuals with Parkinsons disease will often experience symptoms differently. However, there are similarities in the main types of symptoms seen in this condition. These symptoms include tremors, slowness of movement , the stiffness of the trunk and limbs , and impaired coordination and balance . Patients may also experience the loss of automatic movements and changes in writing and speech.
Tremors usually begin in the patients fingers or hands even when at rest. Their forefinger and thumb may rub each other in a pill-rolling tremor. Bradykinesia results in tasks feeling more challenging and taking much longer to do. An individuals steps may shorten, and their feet may drag. Stiff muscles can reduce the range of motion and cause pain. The patients posture may stoop, and balance may weaken when standing or walking. Speech changes may result in reduced volume, slurring, hesitating, or speaking too quickly. Writing may become difficult.
Also Check: Can Parkinson’s Disease Cause Low Blood Pressure
How Is Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosed
Diagnosis is difficult at every stage of the disease, but particularly in the early stages. No single test can provide a diagnosis. A diagnosis will likely involve physical and neurological examinations, conducted over time to assess changes in reflexes, coordination, muscle strength, and mental function. Your doctor might also see how you respond to medicine.
You may need to have brain imaging tests to rule out other conditions that might be causing your symptoms. Such tests could include MRI and CT scans and possibly some other types of scans. Blood tests may also be done to exclude other illnesses.
Current Treatments For Pd
As diagnostic motor symptoms result from low levels of dopamine in the brain, most pharmaceutical treatments are aimed at either replenishing dopamine levels or mimicking its action. Levodopa is the most effective, though prolonged use at high doses may lead to dyskinesia . Dopamine agonists, monoamine oxidase B and catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitors, and anticholinergic agents are also used for initial treatment or in combination with levodopa in advanced PD.
Surgical treatments are typically reserved for patients who suffer medication-induced dyskinesias. Most common is deep brain stimulation, which usually provides prolonged and efficient control of motor symptoms and a reduction in dopaminergic medication but has variable effects on other symptoms which require dedicated management . Ablative procedures are performed for select tremor symptoms, but they are primarily unilateral, limiting their effectiveness in a bilateral disease process . Gene therapy, immunotherapy, and cell transplantation are promising future treatments however, they remain investigational .
Non-invasive brain stimulation has therapeutic potential, with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation improving depression and motor symptoms , and transcranial direct current stimulation improving balance, functional mobility, and executive function . Overall improvements, however, have been negligible with respect to functional independence and quality of life.
You May Like: Does Anesthesia Affect Parkinson’s Disease
Strategies For Stress Management
What is stress? Per Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, it is “any physical, physiological or psychological force that disturbs equilibrium.” These disturbances in a person with Parkinson’s Disease can have some particular effects. Stress can reduce the effectiveness of levodopa in the medical management of persons with Parkinson’s Disease. The ability to cope with stress may help prevent exacerbations of parkinsonian tremors caused by the stress. Chronic stress also has the potential to increase susceptibility to depression and anxiety in persons with Parkinson’s. Strategies for stress management can thus be impactful for the person with Parkinson’s.
What causes stress? Determining the factors creating stress can be the first step in managing it. Consider the following potential causes of stress:
What are some strategies to manage stress? Once the source of the stress is identified, select strategies may be applied to manage that stress. However, it is important to realise that not all approaches will be appropriate for every person.
If the above strategies are not effective enough, consider referring the patient to a stress management specialist, psychologist or counsellor.
What Causes Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons is caused by the degeneration of brain cells in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra. These neurons are responsible for the production of a particular neurotransmitter called dopamine and it is the lack of this neurotransmitter that is responsible for the main Parkinsons symptoms. The cause of the disease is not known. However, like most degenerative illnesses, it is likely to be due to a range of factors including interactions between genes and environment. Contributory factors may include environmental toxicity, physical trauma, genetics, drugs, disease , nutritional deficiency, mitochondrial insufficiency, enzyme deficiency and unremitting stress.
Dont Miss: Stages Of Parkinsons What To Expect
You May Like: How To Deal With Parkinson’s Delusions
Study Designs To Measure Lifestyle Behaviors
Randomized controlled trials are the gold standard to examine therapeutic efficacy of an intervention . However, selection bias, randomization, adherence, and short study duration often make RCTs impractical for lifestyle studies. In any event, there is scant information on which lifestyle factors might even be tested in such studies. To discover potential lifestyle exposures that might benefit neuronal health in PD and warrant trialing, unbiased monitoring of a population for lengthy periods is required. Here, registries can provide a valuable tool.
Barriers in establishing population-based registries include recruitment, cost, and data quality. While opt-out enrolment avoids recruitment bias, registries require close to 100% capture of patients with the disease in a given demographic. Extraction of data elements from patient electronic health records can save cost and time, with better data quality. Successful registries require significant collaborative efforts from clinicians and trained staff, to contribute data to a centralized repository. Time-poor clinicians may be reluctant to participate, and issues of data access, ownership, and governance can be additional barriers.
Figure 2. Proposed research design for lifestyle. For research into multimodal lifestyle factors that impact Parkinson’s disease, we propose a longitudinal study of an enriched population, capturing data via linkage, and self-reported online surveys.