There may be no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but there are things you can do to manage symptoms. People living with Parkinson’s disease can help manage their condition by making certain lifestyle changes. This can help to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, so if you or someone you care about is living with Parkinson’s, read on to find out what you can do.
Many people become less active when they are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. This is understandable, and often due to stiff joints and muscles, along with movement problems. But staying active is one of the best ways to fight Parkinson’s disease. Staying active can also help to improve your muscle strength, balance, flexibility, energy, and activities of daily living.
You should talk to your healthcare provider or physical therapist before starting any new activities. This can help to ensure that new activities are safe and helpful. Some proven tips for staying active include: yoga, tai chi, aquatic exercises, and dancing.
A good night’s sleep is essential for everybody, and even more so for those who are fighting a disease like Parkinson’s. But certain symptoms of Parkinson’s–such as restless legs and vivid dreams, can make getting a full night’s sleep difficult. If you’ve been having trouble sleeping, try these tips:
- Develop a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
- Avoid caffeine and other stimulants, especially before going to bed.
- Avoid drinking too many fluids before bedtime.
- Avoid napping during the day.
- Staying active during the day can help you to feel relaxed and more rested at night.
- Meditation, yoga, and deep breathing before bedtime can also help you to have a more restful sleep.
Eating health foods
Eating healthy foods can reduce the chance for: bone fractures, weight loss, dehydration, and constipation. Here are our helpful tips for eating health foods:
- Eat a variety of foods from each food category every day. Try to “eat the rainbow” by consuming a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
- To help prevent constipation, eat high-fiber foods such as vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fresh fruit.
- Drink water often–aim for eight 8 oz. glasses each day.
- Ensure healthy levels of sugar and salt in your diet.
- If your medication makes you nauseous, try drinking clear or ice-cold drinks, eating bland, light foods, eating small portions several times a day, and, if you feel nauseated in the morning, eating a few crackers before getting out of bed.
- If your medication gives you dry mouth, try reducing your caffeine intake, dunking your toast, cookies and crackers in milk or decaffeinated tea, adding sauces to foods, and taking a sip of your drink between each bite.
A Support System
Living with Parkinson’s can be very challenging for the person diagnosed, and family caregivers. At times, it can also be frustrating, overwhelming, and depressing. It can help to build a strong support system of family and friends who understand your condition and how to support you. Your healthcare team should also be an important part of your support system.
It can help to talk about the physical and emotional effects of Parkinson’s Disease. Try writing about your feelings in a diary or journal. And consider seeking out others who are living with Parkinson’s Disease. Some people with Parkinson’s are reluctant to attend a support group at first. It can help to just try one support group and observe and listen the first time. Support groups are one of the most effective ways to learn about Parkinson’s Disease. To find a support group in your area, visit here.
Are you or is someone you care about living with Parkinson’s Disease? What tips can you share to help others manage Parkinson’s?