The symptoms of Parkinson's disease progress over time, affecting the nervous system. You may experience tremors, stiff muscles, impeded movement, difficult balancing and changes in your speech. The type of symptoms you have and the severity depend on the stage of the disease, which begins as mild and moves to moderate and then advanced. While these symptoms can be frustrating and disruptive to daily life, managing Parkinson's disease is possible. Learn about lifestyle changes to help you cope and maintain as much quality of life as possible.
Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson's disease. The goal of treatment is to mitigate symptoms, such as the following.
Tremors can still be frustrating. They can cause you to drop things and make simple tasks like eating difficult. Some small adjustments can make living with tremors more manageable. For example, when doing something with your hands like eating or shaving, try sitting down instead of standing. Also, try bracing your elbows on a table while doing these things.
The severity of bradykinesia can increase over time. Exercise to stretch and strengthen your muscles is one potentially helpful approach to mitigating this symptom.
Falls can lead to injury, so it is essential to understand the severity of your impaired balance. You may need assistance from a cane or walker while walking. Physical therapy can also help manage postural instability.
The typical remedies you would think of for stiff muscles can also help with this symptom of Parkinson's disease. Try a gentle stretching exercise, like yoga. Take a warm bath with Epsom salts. Some people may also find physical therapy helpful.
Some people with Parkinson's disease have found working with a speech therapist to be beneficial. The cramped, tiny handwriting characteristic of Parkinson's disease is known as micrographia. You can try to manage this by practicing your writing and using thick, weighted pens or pencils to write.
How do you manage Parkinson's disease with the help of lifestyle changes? Here are three tips for changes you can make to help reduce your symptoms.
Exercise is one of the most significant lifestyle changes you can make to help manage your mobility symptoms. Exercise can improve your balance and help keep you active throughout your day-to-day activities. It is essential to form exercise habits early in the disease's progression, as doing so will help you maintain your quality of life. When you're considering starting a new exercise program, ask your doctor for guidance. While you want to be active, you do not want to push yourself too hard and suffer an injury. Exercises that are a good option include the following.
Maintaining your overall health is vital when you have Parkinson's disease. Nutrition is an essential element of your overall well-being. A diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein is an ideal place to start. Eating a balanced diet helps you maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of other health concerns, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Of course, you can still indulge in your favorite treats, but remember the rule of moderation. Limit your alcohol intake, and always talk to your doctor about any potential interactions with your medication.
Like a healthy diet, a regular sleep schedule is a crucial part of your overall well-being. Your symptoms may make sleeping a challenge. People with Parkinson's can experience insomnia, sleep apnea and discomfort that keeps them awake. Try to set regular waking and sleep hours. Exercise during the day may also help you get enough rest at night. If necessary, talk to your doctor about safe sleep aids.
How do you live with Parkinson's disease? The answer is different for everyone. Adjusting to your symptoms and the lifestyle changes you need to make can be difficult. As you start adjusting your routine, keep these tips in mind.
Some people also find it helpful to talk to others who are experiencing similar situations. Look for a Parkinson's disease support group in your area or join an online community. You can share experiences, hear stories from other people with similar symptoms and encourage one another to adapt to lifestyle changes.
In addition to lifestyle changes, your doctor will likely discuss different medications with you. You may not immediately need prescription drugs to manage your symptoms, or your physician may prescribe you more than one type of medicine. Some of the medications commonly prescribed for Parkinson's disease include the following.
Like any medication, levodopa does have side effects. Over time, typically three to five years, levodopa can cause dyskinesia, a term used to describe involuntary jerky movement. It can affect the head, arms, legs, face or the entire body. There are medications to manage this side effect, as well as other treatment options.
Side effects of dopamine agonists may include nausea, dizziness, sleep changes, swelling of the legs and hallucinations, among others.
This type of medication may increase the side effects associated with levodopa, such as dyskinesia. Diarrhea, discolored urine and liver damage are also potential side effects of COMT inhibitors.
The possible side effects of MAO-B inhibitors include dry mouth, constipation, nausea and lightheadedness.
You and your doctor will discuss your symptoms and the stage of your disease before ultimately deciding on the best medication or medications for you.
A Parkinson's disease diagnosis is life-changing, but that doesn't mean you have to stop enjoying life. You will need to make significant changes, and some days will be better than others. However, you can manage your symptoms with lifestyle adjustments and medication. Post Acute Medical has a rehabilitation program designed specifically for Parkinson's patients. Our comprehensive, holistic approach offers relief for all your symptoms. We also provide support, education and therapy for the loved ones who will help with your care plan. Take some time to look at our Parkinson's disease resources. Our compassionate team has specialized training to improve your understanding of how to manage Parkinson's disease and move forward with your life.