Be A Proactive Parkinsons Patient Instead Of A Martyr

While you need to rely on your doctor for advice on treatment, therapy, medications and lifestyle changes, you are also responsible for yourself as well. Being proactive with a disease like Parkinson’s is important because your doctor and therapist cannot be with you 24/7 to handle life’s problems. There are many things you can do from therapy, support groups, adopting healthier eating styles, exercising and even researching clinical trials.

Nurturing a Good Doctor/Patient Relationship

Coming to a Parkinson’s diagnosis can be tough as there is no definitive testing to pinpoint the disease but rather a series of tests to rule out other conditions first. It is important to find a second or even third opinion from neurologists who specialize in motor coordination illnesses and has proven credentials in all the latest techniques and knows about the latest medications and therapies.

Finding a doctor that is up on all the latest on Parkinson’s AND is someone you feel comfortable with and you can trust is a tall order so it is satisfying when you do find that good patient/doctor relationship. Nurture that communication and ask questions. If the doctor treats each question seriously and answers to your satisfaction, you know you have a winner. Sometimes, you might have to seek alternate resources than you primary care giver to find the right doctor. Contact one of the prominent Parkinson’s foundations in the country and ask for neurologist referrals in your area.

Diet and Exercise

As the disease progresses, Parkinson’s tends to aid in weight loss in some people causing a lack of nutrients necessary for healthy living. Poor motor coordination and affected autonomic nervous system coordination are to blame as they affect the ability to chew and swallow food as well as emptying the stomach properly for the intestines to process. Eating a well balanced meal full of fruits, vegetables and whole grains with plenty of fiber and liquids can help ensure constipation is not a problem.

Some Parkinson’s medications like levodopa can work less effectively when certain things in the diet are consumed. Researchers have discovered that too much protein can interfere with the medication’s proper function. Adjusting the diet often helps by limiting protein or at least staggering meals with protein in them when the levodopa is wearing off before another dose.

Exercise is necessary to keep muscle strength up. Working with a therapist to improve flexibility, mobility and balance is important. Plus exercise produces endorphins which help stave off depression, a common side effect to Parkinson’s disease. It also helps with the digestion of food.

Outside Support

You are not alone with Parkinson’s as millions of people around the world have it. Seek out support groups in your area or even online. The more “experienced” people can help with your questions about day to day activities as well as coping mechanisms. Most of all, support groups can help you feel more in control of your own life too. Local churches and hospitals likely have resources to find a support group nearby as well as some of the national Parkinson’s foundations too.

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