Confronting Parkinson’s Disease
If you clicked on this link to learn all there is to know about Parkinson’s Disease, you’ve come to the wrong place.
There’s a wealth of information on Parkinson’s Disease available on the Internet. The detailed information can be summed up like this: Parkinson’s Disease is a movement disorder that happens when your brain’s substantia nigra, the cells that produce the movement regulating neurotransmitter called dopamine, weaken or die. It is chronic and progressive, meaning it worsens over time. Its cause is unknown, although there are several theories. And while there are treatments (a carbidopa/levodopa combination, for example), there is no cure.
This article focuses on what you can do if you’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and how to confront its effect on your physical and emotional well-being.
Counterintuitively or not, moving and stretching can improve flexibility, muscle strength and coordination.
Be Smart, Not Proud
Parkinson’s Disease affects each person differently. But if you are struggling with balance, don’t make matters worse by refusing to use a cane or other ambulatory assistive device.
Nutrition Is Your Friend
Good nutrition is an important weapon in your battle against the effects and side-effects of Parkinson’s Disease (like depression, constipation, dehydration, bone thinning, and weight loss). Limit sugar, fat, and alcohol. Consume plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and water.
Don’t let Parkinson’s Disease sap your strength by robbing you of a good night’s sleep. Avoid beverages that could keep you awake during the night. Make sure the room is dark. And don’t lounge in bed; use it for sleep, not watching TV.
When you have Parkinson’s Disease, you may feel alone. But you’re not. There are online organizations and groups. Get connected, both you and your spouse, or you and your children. Even if you’re not physically together with others, you can feel their support as you process what you’re facing together.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The day before this article was written was March 16, 2020. President Trump announced further steps to help stem the spread of COVID-19, a worldwide pandemic. As I was taking a noontime walk around the neighborhood, an older gentleman was walking the other direction on the opposite side of the street. He clearly had Parkinson’s Disease or another movement disorder. We waved to one another and he said, “Beautiful day for a walk.” I agreed with him, because he was right. It was a great day to get outside, enjoy the fresh air, and stretch our legs.
Parkinson’s Support Group: An Online Journey. https://www.facebook.com/groups/147449045429296/
Caregivers of Parkinson’s Disease Support Group
FOR FURTHER READING:
Many of the tips, pointers, and insights from this blog entry were taken from this WebMD article. We encourage you to read it for even more information.