PD and Preventing Falls

Falls are a recurrent complication of Parkinson’s disease, that’s why preventing falls is very important. there are many things you can do to reduce your risk for falls, the two most important are to work with your doctor to warrant that your treatments are ideal and to confer with a physical therapist who can evaluate your walking and balance. The physical therapist is the true expert here when it comes to endorsing assistive devices or exercises to keep you safe. If you or a loved one suffers from PD, here are some helpful tips for preventing falls: 1. Floors. Remove loose wires, cords, and throw rugs. Clean up the clutter. Check to see if rugs are anchored and smooth. Keep furniture in the same place. 2. Bathroom. Install grab bars and nonskid tape in shower and/or tub. Use nonskid bath mats on the floor or wall-to-wall carpeting. 3. Lighting. Keep halls, stairways, and entrances well lit. Keep a night light in your bathroom or hallway. Make sure there is a light switch at the top and bottom of the staircase if you have one. If you get up in the middle of the night make sure to turn on the lights. Make sure lamps or light switches are close to your bed if you have to get up in the middle of the night. 4. Kitchen. Install nonskid rubber mats near your appliances. Clean up spills as soon as you can. 5. Stairs. Check to see if treads, rails, and rugs are secure. Install a rail on both sides of the stairs (if you have them). If stairs are...

Maintaining Balance with PD…Helpful Tips

* Keep one hand free at all times. Try using a backpack or fanny pack instead of carrying them in your hands. Never carry objects in both hands when walking as this impedes balance. * Try to swing both arms from front to back while walking. This may involve a conscious effort if Parkinson’s disease has reduced your movement; nevertheless, it will help you to maintain balance, posture, and reduce fatigue. * Consciously lift your feet off of the ground when walking. Shuffling and dragging your feet could cause you to lose your balance. * When navigating turns, use a “U” technique of facing forward and making a wide turn, instead of pivoting sharply. * Try to stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Keeping your feet close together for any length of time could increase your risk of losing your balance and falling. * Don’t try to be a multi-tasker-do one thing at a time! Don’t try to walk and accomplish another task, like reading or looking around. The decline in your automatic reflexes thwarts motor function. Less distraction will help prevent falls. * Stay clear of rubber or gripping soled shoes, they may “catch” on the floor and cause...

Handling the Stress that Comes with PD

Discovering you have PD can be overwhelming. Many people who suffer from this disease often struggle with stress issues. Stress is what you feel when you have to deal with more than you are used to. When you are stressed, your body reacts as though you are in danger. It produces hormones that speed up your heart rate, cause you to breathe faster, and give you a surge of energy. This is referred to as the fight-or-flight stress response. Some stress is normal and can be beneficial. Stress can help if you need to complete a job or react quickly. But if stress occurs too often or sticks around too long, it can have negative effects. Stress can cause headaches, an upset stomach, back pain, and sleeping difficulties. It can weaken your immune system, making it difficult to fight off disease. If you already have a health problem, stress may add to the problem making it worse. Stress can cause moodiness, tension, and even depression. Your relationships may suffer, and you may not do well at work or school as a result of stress in your life. The good news is that you can learn ways to cope with your stress. To keep stress under control: * Look for ways to decrease the amount of stress in your life. * Learn healthy ways to get rid of stress and reduce its damaging...

Can You Prevent PD?

Unfortunately, there is no known way to prevent Parkinson’s disease. Research has proven that people who eat more fruits and vegetables, high-fiber foods, fish, and omega-3 rich oils (sometimes referred to as the Mediterranean diet) and who eat less red meat and dairy may acquire some protection against Parkinson’s. The reason for this is still not known and currently being studied by researchers. For now, all anyone can do is try to take of themselves and keep a healthy life-style. A healthy life-style consists of eating healthy foods, exercising, not drinking to access, and not smoking or taking illegal drugs. Unfortunately even with living a healthy lifestyle there are still no guarantees that a person will not get Parkinson’s disease. While the average age of onset is 65, younger people like Michael J. Fox have been diagnosed in their younger years. Research scientists continue to study this puzzling disorder of the nervous system in hopes to unravel the mysteries that continue to boggle their minds. I the meantime all anyone has is hope and time. With the support of family and loved ones a person can live a full life making the necessary adjustments. There will be obvious setbacks and adjustments, but with proper care and the right medications you can live with PD…one day at a time. Remember too, there are support groups where you can discuss your concerns and talk about PD with those who also suffer from the dame...

Dementia and PD…Treatment and Outcomes

At the present time there are no treatments to slow or stop the brain cell damage caused by Parkinson’s disease dementia. Present-day strategies place emphasis on helping symptoms. If your treatment plan includes medications, it’s imperative to work closely with your physician to recognize the drugs that work best for you and the most effective doses. Treatment plans involving medications include the following concerns: * Cholinesterase inhibitors drugs are the current support for treating thinking changes in Alzheimer’s. They also may help with Parkinson’s disease dementia symptoms. * Antipsychotic drugs should be used with caution in Parkinson’s disease dementia. While physicians sometimes prescribe these medications for behavioral symptoms that are evident in Alzheimer’s, they may cause serious side effects in up to 50 percent of those with Parkinson’s disease dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. Side effects may consist of sudden changes in consciousness, impaired swallowing, acute confusion, episodes of delusions or hallucinations, or appearance or deteriorating Parkinson’s symptoms. * L-dopa may be prescribed to treat Parkinson’s movement symptoms. However, it can sometimes intensify hallucinations and confusion in those with Parkinson’s dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies. * Antidepressants may be used to treat depression, which is common in both Parkinson’s disease dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. The most commonly prescribed antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). * Clonazepam is one medication that could be prescribed to treat REM sleep disorder. Like other forms of dementia that destroy brain cells, Parkinson’s disease and Parkinson’s disease dementia become progressively worse over time and speed of progression...