3 useful ways to manage tardive dyskinesia
As per estimates, around 500,000 people in the country are affected by tardive dyskinesia. It is a condition where patients display repetitive, involuntary movements, such as tongue thrusting, lip-smacking, and rapid blinking. The disorder could be due to several factors, but it is often the side effect of specific treatments. So, the symptoms may reduce once the treatment plan is revised. Here are the treatments, foods, and lifestyle changes to manage tardive dyskinesia:
The first thing to do after experiencing the symptoms is to visit a doctor. The health expert may recommend a few treatments to manage tardive dyskinesia, such as those discussed below. Patients must keep the professional informed about the disorder’s progression after starting these treatments:
This treatment is recommended for adults with tardive dyskinesia. Its effectiveness is not proven for children. INGREZZA must be used orally once a day or as advised by the doctor to control movements in the tongue, face, or other body regions. It reduces the effects of a specific brain chemical responsible for involuntary movements. INGREZZA may have side effects like sleepiness and heart rhythm problems.
It is another effective treatment to control involuntary movements in tardive dyskinesia patients and help them get on with their day-to-day routine work. Deutetrabenazine prevents the absorption of specific chemicals into the central nervous system, helping the nerves and muscles work naturally. Some side effects include body pain, chills, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing.
Choosing the right foods when dealing with tardive dyskinesia is crucial for two reasons. One, patients have difficulty swallowing, and two, the right foods help keep the gut healthy and avoid issues like constipation, which can be detrimental for those with this condition. Here are the foods to eat:
- Fruit juices
Juices of fruits like grapes and pomegranates are best for people with this disorder as they are easy to swallow. Pomegranate juice, in particular, contains BCAAs. These are amino acids not made by the body but essential to manage tardive dyskinesia. Grapes, on the other hand, are rich in potassium, which helps with overall health and immunity.
Berries like cranberries and blueberries have high amounts of antioxidants that help fight free radicals. This improves mental health and reduces oxidative stress. Studies show that antioxidants can also help lower the severity of this movement disorder’s symptoms.
Vegetables like carrots and broccoli must be included in the meal plan as they contain reasonable amounts of essential minerals and vitamins. They also have high fiber content, which helps prevent issues like constipation, a side effect of specific treatments used for managing the condition.
- Beans and whole grains
Black beans are excellent sources of antioxidants that prevent cell aging and damage. On the other hand, whole grains have good cholesterol and help maintain a healthy gut, which is helpful when dealing with any condition, including tardive dyskinesia.
Spices like turmeric contain curcumin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Regular intake boosts mental and overall health. Studies also show that those who add turmeric to their meals have a lower risk of this disorder.
Besides choosing healthy foods, it is crucial to pay attention to how they are served. Patients must exercise portion control and eat slowly. Since there can be problems with swallowing, items can be cut into smaller pieces and pureed.
While the above foods can help manage tardive dyskinesia, patients should avoid beverages like tea and coffee with caffeine. This is because caffeine can affect specific brain receptors and worsen involuntary movement symptoms.
Besides using the proper treatment and following a meal plan, those with tardive dyskinesia may benefit from these lifestyle changes:
Regular exercise and physical activity are a must to stay fit. Walking regularly is of utmost importance. Individuals should try to walk independently; if not, they may use the support of another person. Some patients have reported having fewer involuntary movement episodes while exercising. One can consider physical therapy if they find it challenging to get into a regular exercise routine.
- Ensure a safe surrounding
Older individuals with the condition are at risk of having frequent falls. So, the home should not have sharp-edged objects to minimize injury risks. Patients can wear special padded footwear when walking for extra protection. It is also imperative to wear strong shoes, preferably without laces. Specially-designed tableware like plastic cups with caps is advised to avoid spillage and damage due to involuntary hand movements.
- Go for therapy sessions
The condition can sometimes lead to speech abnormalities, and one may require speech therapy. It helps strengthen expiratory muscles and allows patients to communicate better. Those who have difficulty swallowing may also need regular swallowing therapy sessions.
- Manage stress
Stress is known to worsen involuntary movements and other symptoms in patients. Therefore, they are advised to destress with the help of meditation and exercise. Participating in social activities and pursuing hobbies can also help.
Tardive dyskinesia may be hard to manage if diagnosed in the later stages and may severely impact an individual’s routine activity. But the proper treatment, food, and lifestyle changes can lessen the severity of the condition.