How I Keep Parkinson’s Disease At Bay

Keeping this disease under control is no easy task but you certainly can with a regimen of exercises both for the brain and the body. The key is to not let PD win the fight. Get off the couch and take control and you will feel better.

The First Sign

Ten years ago, when I was 72 years of age, I first felt the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. I noticed that my third finger on my right hand was trembling just a little. It did this on its own without me trying to do it. I simply put it out of my mind. A few days later it happened again and weeks would go by between occurrences. We were relocating to the west coast and as soon as I found time I found a family doctor and told him what I had discovered. He arranged for me to see a neurologist who affirmed my suspicion that I had Parkinson’s disease!

A lot of Others Have it Also

He advised me to wait to begin taking medication for my symptoms so they could present themselves more clearly. I soon found a Parkinson’s support group and began to attend their meetings. From these meetings I began to get a better understanding of what this disease is all about.

What Could I do?

  1. First and foremost, many people have it as well as other diseases similar to Parkinson’s.
  2. There is no cure for the disease.
  3. The disease can be held at bay by exercise.

Read Everything You Can.

Then I began to read whatever I could about PD and what goes on in my brain as I exercise. That was the interesting part as it seems that if I exercise my brain and body, the disease symptoms will not be able to gain ground. I also listened to a great many people with PD who are fighting it with exercise as well. So this is what I do to keep up the fight with this disease.

Walk and walk some more.

Walking is the best exercise a person can do for their health. I am very fortunate that I have a wonderful wife and partner who has walked with me for years. We increased our walking by taking a morning and evening walk. Generally we cover about four miles a day. We move as quickly as two 82-year-old people can move. The important thing is to do it every single day. If it is raining,  wear a raincoat or use an umbrella. If it is cold, wear a proper coat. If it is doing all of that, head for a mall or a big box store such as Walmart, Home Depot or Lowes where they have wide aisles and lots of room. Get in the habit of never missing the daily walks. We find that two walks are better than one as we don’t get tired after the first one and we look forward to our second walk later.

Now for the brain.

You need to make the brain get some exercise. I find the best brain exercise for me is solving crossword puzzles. Sudoku is another test that makes a person use the brain to solve the puzzles. Scrabble puzzles, word scramblers,  and cryptograms will put a person’s brain to the test. Jigsaw puzzles are excellent task masters.

Think Positive

If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, fretting and looking at the dark side will get you nowhere. Fortunately, there is an answer. After 10 years of fighting it, people I know and meet hardly know I have Parkinson’s. Give these body and brain exercises a try!  

Parkinson’s Disease: Win the Battle With Constipation

Just when I thought I knew all of the symptoms, I find out my constipation is caused by a  lack of dopamine in my brain. What next will it be with Parkinson’s?

Parkinson’s Disease: win the battle with constipation. What a title for a post!

It was about eight years ago when I noticed my finger trembled without my direction and I began to wonder why. I didn’t have a clue what Parkinson’s was all about and hadn’t given it a second thought. A few months later, after we settled into our new home and found a family doctor who took us on as patients, I asked him if that tremble could be Parkinson’s. He decided to refer me to a neurologist and sure enough, it was Parkinson’s disease. I didn’t think much about it at the time because I didn’t know anyone who had it and didn’t know anything about the disease. I am not the type to worry about something over which I have no control. There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease so there is really nothing I can do about it.

Eventually Irma and I joined up with a PD support group in our city. We met some really nice people who openly shared their version of the disease. We soon learned about medications, exercising both the body, brain and voice and how to do them.

Exercise is Key

We learned that the body must be exercised every day by walking, running, working out in the gym or pool, as well as playing sports like golf, tennis, pickleball, curling and pretty well any exercise you can imagine. We love our inflatable kayak as it is a fantastic exercise for both of us.

Don’t Forget The Brain

Then, there are the brain exercises and to do this we must change from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one. What changes could I make? I enjoy watching TV and there is not much to doing that. I purchased a book on how to do the Sudoku puzzles. Then, I made sure I tried to do the daily crossword puzzles in our local paper. Next was the voice exercise and this was the toughest to do. It is hard to find a place where you are able to yell loudly without causing a disturbance! My wife, Irma, is not only profoundly deaf but she is also legally blind. She is able to read with the aid of a screen that allows her to alter the size of the type but that is very slow. So to kill two birds with one stone I began to read a book to her for about an hour or so each day. She enjoys me reading and I reap the benefit of getting the vocal exercise I need.

Disease Progression

I believe doing all of these things has certainly helped me to keep the Parkinson’s disease symptoms at bay. Not much has changed over the last eight years in that regard. I do have a few more tremors in my hand but not much of a change. Walking a straight line and keeping my balance at the same time is evolving over time but most people would not even notice it.

I’m So Lucky

For some reason I can’t stand my sock on my right foot as it bothers my big toe. These are little changes that have happened to my body over time but I am not complaining as I have met a great many people who have severe complications from the disease and I am sure they would gladly trade their symptoms for mine any day.

Constipation

Today, I heard that the lack of dopamine in the brain can cause constipation. I never knew that and have read what I thought was everything there was to know about Parkinson’s disease, but I had never heard about this symptom.

It just so happens that for the past eight months or so I have been trying to overcome constipation. I tried taking a few remedies including a product called Senokot but the label advises to not use this for too long. We have had a container of Smooth Texture Fibre Laxative with Psyllium on hand for some time. I decided to try this product and it is working, goodbye constipation! I take a heaping teaspoon mixed in an eight-ounce glass of water and follow that with another glass of water once a day. If you want to try it or a similar product then I suggest you start off with a glass full once a day and see how it works. I’m not a doctor so I suggest you talk with your doctor first.

The active ingredient in this product is Psyllium Hydrophilic Mucilloid and there is a good information website here that explains how it works and the benefits of taking it.

There goes another symptom of Parkinson’s I don’t need to fret about.

Quite a Story

Have you heard about the lady in England who has the ability to smell Parkinson’s disease? This is her interesting story.