Healthy Living

A Guide to Help Cope with a Life-Altering Parkinson's Diagnosis

A Guide to Help Cope with a Life-Altering Parkinson's Diagnosis

Parkinson’s disease is a neuromuscular degenerative disorder that robs those afflicted of their motor functions over time. The average age of a Parkinson’s diagnosis is somewhere around the age of sixty, though at times those that are younger will also be diagnosed with the disease. Cases such as those are known as Early Onset Parkinson’s Disease.

Patients with an undiagnosed condition will start to notice things such as slight tremors or trouble grasping and holding on to objects, they may have tremors in the chin or lips along with uncontrollable  twitching in the limbs mainly the legs. Smaller handwriting that crowds a page is usually a sign of Parkinson’s as well, along with a loss of smell, and increased mobility issues. There may be freezing also of the facial muscles and the arms and legs, as well as a decrease in the blink rate. 

In Parkinson’s disease, the afflicted person over time loses motor functions. It is a neuromuscular degenerative disorder. It causes bradykinesia, resting tremor and rigid musculature. It starts on one side of the body and migrates to the other side gradually. In order to predict the day the fall may occur, it is necessary to catalog how the symptoms progress and this is easy since the disease progresses slowly. Many of the results or reasons for fall can be unanticipated by working closely with a physical therapist. Once Parkinson’s disease is suspected, get in touch with a physician. He will do a neurological test. To see if there are any response a Parkinson’s drugs is prescribed.

Physically such people start out as physically fit. However gradually the range of motion is lost especially in the neck and back.  It may become difficult to maintain active lifestyle due to freezing, tremors, changes in balance, slowness and reduced muscle strength. It was thought that a sedentary lifestyle will reduce the risk of fall but research has shown that this is not the case. 

Two schools of exercise have evolved that have shown that physical activity and exercise both are valuable to slow the progression of the disease and to maintain the physical health.  Also it has been suggested that the symptoms tend to slow down more, if the exercise program is vigorous. However the person should not overexert themselves. If they hurt themselves because of which they have to rest then it might cause the progression of symptoms to hasten. Studies have revealed that sedentary lifestyle increases the risks of other conditions as well. 

First fall-an inevitable occurrence of the symptoms of disease is a spill or tumble. A person can never prepare for fall only you can hope that it is not a bad spill. The first step in preparation is having an emergency plan. If you do not have any caregiver then enlists the people that are reliable and easily available. Emergency personnel and police can be alerted by using an emergency medical communication device that can be worn.

Mobility- use balance aids such as walkers, canes in order to avoid a spill with the onset of tremors. This can be used for any physical activity. Confidence can be increased by using balance aids. There are various types of balance aids that can be used. Which sort of balance aid is needed can be determined by consulting a physical therapist or a doctor. To mitigate the possibility of fall, prepare your home by making it safe. Keep a phone close to your hand. In various parts of home place grab bars or handrails. To lower the risk of tripping place, hardware floors are preferable. To avoid tripping use duct tape and secure electronic cords to the flooring.

Oral care- one of the more debilitating and dangerous non-motor symptoms are difficulty associated with speaking, movement of muscles of the face, swallowing and chewing. There can be difficulties since the muscles freeze if the person has missing teeth or dentures. There can be risk of choking; risk of aspiration of saliva and food particles may cause lung infections. Dry mouth is another issue. Further damage may be caused to dentition since the plaques harden quickly. Tooth decay and gum disease is more likely.

For this new chapter in life the person will have to make changes, accommodation and new routines but they can live their life to the fullest.