Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic condition with no present cure, yet managing the disease process is essential for health and wellbeing. The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation recommends building a healthcare team, adhering to medications, keeping a healthy diet, finding support in groups and counseling, and others. Individuals with PD can also benefit from speech, physical, and occupational therapies. Specialized healthcare professionals and community resources can assist individuals with support and therapies that promote disease management and optimal daily living.

Build Your Healthcare Team:

When building your team, you can start with medical professionals who specialize in areas that are challenging for daily living. For instance, if you’re having trouble with balance and posture, a Physical Therapist can be of great assistance. People with PD having speech impairments can benefit from working with a Speech-Language Pathologist. A Dietician can also be consulted to assist individuals with weight loss concerns related to pharmaceuticals or disease process. Share with your physician changes in your health and any PD symptoms you may be experiencing. Your doctor can guide you to other healthcare specialist for optimal control and management of disease process. 

Healthy Food Choices:

Incorporating a diet with nutrient-rich foods is key when managing PD. In addition to eating a nutritional balanced diet, the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation recommends foods that promote bone health and bowel regularity like fruits and veggies high in fiber and calcium. Also, keeping hydrated with fluids to prevent constipation, and adjusting nutritional priorities for your health needs. Ask your physician or Dietician which meal plan and food choices are best for your individual health needs. 

Medication Management:

Become familiarized with your medication regimen, and side effects to monitor. Commonly prescribed classes of medications include: Cardidopa/Levodopa, Dopamine Agonists, Anticholinergics, MAO-B Inhibitors, and COMT Inhibitors. To date, Cardidopa/Levodopa is most effective in treating PD. Consult with your doctor about which medication treatment is best for PD management. For more information on PD medications and common side effects to monitor, visit the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. 

Support Groups:

Having a new or established diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease surface all types of emotions and concerns. It’s important to collaborate with others who can provide emotional and social support. Mental health professionals, Parkinson’s disease groups, and other support groups can be of great assistance in creating healthy copying strategies and building relationships.

As stated by The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation:

A strong social support network can help those with Parkinson’s address the long-term emotional impact of a PD diagnosis. Support from a variety of formal and informal sources can have real benefits, including improvements in mood, ability to cope and reduced levels of stress.

For information on support groups in your area, contact Parkinson’s Information Service at 1-800-457-6676. 

* All information shared in this article should be discussed with your healthcare provider prior to incorporating any suggestions. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide advice or direct client decisions.