4 useful ways to manage Parkinson’s disease

4 useful ways to manage Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s is a nervous system disorder that affects around seven to ten million people worldwide. It occurs due to damage to specific nerve cells in the brain. The condition inhibits movement and leads to symptoms like tremors, stiffness, balance problems, and slurred or soft speech. These emerge gradually and may not be noticeable at the start. While the disease has no cure, the following treatments, meal plans, lifestyle tips, and therapies help manage Parkinson’s symptoms:

Treatment options
Treatment is necessary to manage the condition and must be started immediately after diagnosis. The popular options are:

    RYTARY helps manage Parkinson’s symptoms like difficulty moving, shakiness, and stiffness. It contains two compounds: carbidopa and levodopa. Levodopa increases the levels of dopamine in the brain, a hormone necessary for normal brain function. On the other hand, carbidopa prevents levodopa breakdown. It also helps lower levodopa side effects, like vomiting and nausea. The dosage of RYTARY is usually thrice a day, but one must consult a doctor before using it. It should not be chewed or crushed but swallowed as a whole to lower the risks of side effects.
    ONGENTYS is an oral treatment usually used once daily at bedtime or as the doctor recommends. It has a substance called opicapone that improves the effects of levodopa and allows the brain to get more of it. Healthcare professionals recommend a dosage according to the patient’s condition. One should not eat anything for an hour before and after the dose. The side effects of opicapone include severe muscle stiffness, fever, dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, and uncontrolled or unwanted movements. Those who experience these must contact a doctor immediately.

Foods to eat and avoid
There is no specific meal plan for Parkinson’s disease, but certain foods help manage the condition. Doctors recommend brightly colored and dark fruits and vegetables like blueberries, spinach, and carrots as these have flavonoids and antioxidants that boost brain health. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon, soybeans, and kidney beans, are also essential for brain function. At the same time, patients must steer clear of foods high in saturated fat, such as beef, butter, and palm oil, as these may aggravate the symptoms.

Lifestyle changes
Besides treatment and healthy nutrition, specific lifestyle changes help manage Parkinson’s symptoms better:

  • Exercise regularly
    Research studies point out that exercise can help manage symptoms related to loss of balance and coordination. So patients must create a daily workout routine. One can consult a health professional for guidance when considering which exercises to add to the program. Some options are Pilates, dance, and yoga. But while it is vital to be active, individuals should not exceed their limits to prevent an injury. Besides managing Parkinson’s, physical activity helps remain active and balanced, maintaining the quality of life.
  • Get adequate sleep
    Rest is vital for overall health and well-being, especially when dealing with a disorder like Parkinson’s. That is because the condition often leads to discomfort, sleep apnea, and insomnia, making the body tired. The best way to battle sleep issues is to set a fixed time for sleeping and waking up. It helps reset the natural sleep cycle. Exercising during the day also helps as the body automatically demands rest to recover. If nothing works, patients can consult a doctor about using sleep aids.
  • Manage stress
    Excessive stress can result in stiffness and tremors and aggravate the condition’s symptoms. So it is vital to relax the mind and body. One can dedicate a few minutes daily to relaxation techniques like deep breathing. Just sit at a quiet spot and slowly breathe in. Then gently suck the belly inward and breathe out. Music is another great stress buster. Individuals can listen to their favorite songs to calm the mind and body.
  • Maintain a journal of the symptoms
    Maintaining a precise record of the motor symptoms helps neurologists study the relationship between the treatment options, side effects, and signs. The journal should include details like the treatments used, their timing, foods that cause flare-ups, when the symptoms show, and whether the signs are more prevalent during the day or night. Analyzing the details help doctors determine motor fluctuations and provide suitable care options.

Therapy options
Doctors may also recommend a few therapies to cope with the disease. These include:

  • Occupational therapy
    Patients with uncontrollable motor fluctuations can seek assistance from an occupational therapist. They are experts who train individuals to manage these fluctuations at home and work. It may include learning to use tools like long-handled shoe horns and grabbers that assist with routine tasks. An occupational therapist can also recommend some changes to make the home safer for the patient, such as adding bathroom grab bars or stair rails to avoid falls.
  • Massage and movement therapy
    Research studies show that massages can help relieve muscle rigidity and tension. On the other hand, movement therapy may help improve balance, flexibility, and motor skills. It may involve exercises like tai chi and yoga.

It is challenging to live with Parkinson’s disease. Patients may feel discouraged and frustrated when walking, eating, and even talking becomes a task. As a result, some fall into depression. Individuals must speak to a doctor or reach out to family or friends for support.