Changes In Lifestyle Can Help Cope With Parkinsons

Parkinson’s disease may not be fatal but it can turn your world upside down when you first get the diagnosis. The daunting future of tremors, body stiffness and other symptoms is enough to make anyone apprehensive and you wonder how you will cope and get through. The answer is that you aggressively tackle your treatment options to strike the right balance of medications and lifestyle changes that will best benefit you so that you can stay independent for as long as possible.

Between you and your doctor, you will eventually find the right combination of drugs to control your symptoms for as long as possible. However, as far as your lifestyle is concerned, you can make your time with the disease even more tolerable and make life a bit easier. Here are some tips to get you started on an easier lifestyle:

1. Revamp your eating plan – One of the most common complaints from Parkinson’s patients is constipation but that can be greatly helped by a proper nutritionally balanced eating plan. Make sure the bulk of your meals are fruits, whole grains and vegetables. Treat meat as a side dish. Foods that are fiber rich can help prevent constipation and are great for the digestion to boot.

When diet alone does not totally help with the constipation problem fiber supplements may be necessary. There are fiber pills you can take but if swallowing pills is a problem, choose a supplement that you can mix with a drink. Products with psyllium powder help quite a bit – and drink plenty of fluids too!

2. Prevent falling – As Parkinson’s disease progresses, motor coordination decreases and balance problems arise which could lead to falling. When you fall, there is a chance that your brain will not be able to effectively communicate with your muscles to obey and get up. By identifying falling hazards and adopting some different body movements, you can greatly decrease the likelihood of falling.

Most people who decide they need to go in the opposite direction from where they are walking, just pivots on one of their feet with ease but with Parkinson’s such a maneuver could have you on the ground. Instead, make a gradual u-turn to the correct direction. Maintain a center of gravity that rests at your feet. This means no reaching or leaning! Do not walk backward and do not worry about carrying anything but yourself when you walk. Carrying items in your arms can throw off your equilibrium easily.

3. Walk with caution – Don’t try to keep up with anyone as moving too quickly can throw you off your stride and cause a fall. Adopt a straight posture and check it whenever you feel that you are shuffling your feet or moving slowly. Also, do not walk flat-footed. Instead, make a conscious effort to walk with your heel striking the floor first with the rest of the foot rolling off the floor afterward.

4. Adopt easier clothing and dressing practices – As Parkinson’s disease progresses, you will discover it gets harder and harder to button and zip clothing, much less balancing yourself to pull up pants. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare for an event so that you don’t become disoriented or rushed, which can build up anxiety. Always lay out your clothes the day before so there is no deliberation. Learn that Velcro is your friend in all things that have to be fastened and that simple elasticized waistbands can save a lot of trouble for you too.

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