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I’m Learning Not to Make Assumptions

assumptions Journeying through Parkinson's

Sherri Journeying Through

I have a bad habit of assuming things. You would think (an assumption) that I would have learned by now, but no. 

Take today for example. 

My husband and I were at the mall this afternoon people-watching in front of the coffee shop. I watched through the glass doors as a dad bent over and tied his approximately 11-year-old son’s shoe. Attached to this boy’s belt was a knife sheath, which held a knife with about a 6-inch blade (another assumption). 

I told my husband that you’d think if that boy was old enough to be in possession of a knife like that in public, he could tie his own shoes. Then the dad stood up and the boy turned to face me head-on, and that’s when I saw it: the broken arm. It’s hard to tie shoes with a broken arm. 

You’d think I’d have learned by now, but again — no.

However, I am getting better. I’ve been praying to be redeemed from my habit of assumption, but it’s tough. I have stopped drawing conclusions right away. I can hold onto thoughts that once ran rampant, and instead, I am trying to get the whole picture, or I turn away from the “picture” entirely.

Having Parkinson’s has helped me learn this lesson. 

We can walk funny. We can talk funny. We can move all sorts of different ways. We can stop in the middle of a sentence or stop in the middle of a walk and have to be jump-started by the help of another. We know what’s happening, but the strangers who watch us most likely haven’t a clue.

They may assume we’re a tad bit tipsy, forgetful, senile. Any number of things could account for our odd behavior. Because I act the way I do (tremors, dyskinesia, dystonia, masked face, etc.), I have come to see others differently. To look past the initial assumption and see the situation for what it really is: not a spoiled child, but one with a broken arm. 

Now I need to figure out why he’s got a 6-inch knife in a leather sheath hooked to his belt. I don’t want to even think where my assumptions could take me with that one.

***

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

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Is It Possible to Be Organized and Focused with Parkinson’s?

organized

Sherri Journeying Through

You ever try to go back to the way things used to be? Try to think the way you used to think when distractions didn’t compete for your attention? When you had some semblance of  “normality”? Things seemed somewhat organized or orderly and most things made sense.

I used to make lists and be organized. At least I think I was.

Now, I’m not so sure. How could I be so organized and sensible for so long, but then have it disappear?

I don’t make lists now, but every once in a while, I try to. One thing is certain: I sure don’t feel quite so organized as I once did. I should make lists because I forget everything, or so it seems. I don’t know. I can’t remember!

When I watched my grandkids every day, I didn’t feel like this, so scattered. I didn’t have to feel so scattered. I knew what I was going to do every day. That task kept me focused.

I would change a diaper. Love on my grandkids. Feed them breakfast. Play with them. Take pictures of them. Walk with them. Love on them some more and change another diaper.

Then I’d feed them lunch, play with them again, take more pictures, and make sure they knew they were loved.

I would read to them, change another diaper, rock them as I sang over them before they would fall asleep for their nap, watch “Rapunzel” or “Swamp People” as they woke up. We’d go for an afternoon walk, picking out four M&M’s, one always red. Always more love. Always more kisses. The daily routine of having my grandkids helped me feel more in control while having Parkinson’s disease.

Watching my grandkids was “easy” most days. But on the days when the pain didn’t let up and I felt wobbly and shaky and things didn’t work the way I want them to, well, those days were so much harder.

Distractions are immeasurable around here.

OK, around me anyway. They seem to follow me everywhere. Like the other day, my husband was telling me about something … I don’t remember exactly what. But then I saw this bird and … what was I saying? Or wait. What was he saying?  

When I had my grandkids around, I didn’t have to think about organization. I just did it. It just happened. Remembering? I had someone around to help me remember. She followed me everywhere and she helped me remember everything, such as where I had left her little brother’s dirty diaper. Just kidding. I never did that, you know, forgot where I left a dirty diaper. I’ve never been that distracted, I don’t think. I don’t know. I can’t remember!

Anyone else ever feel that way? Anyone ever been that way? 

***

 

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Is It Possible to Be Organized and Focused with Parkinson’s? appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

English Rugby Star Opens Up About Father’s Battle With Parkinson’s

Retired English rugby star, Mike Tindall, appeared on British television to talk about his father’s battle with Parkinson’s disease. Talking to Good Morning Britain, Tindall explained that his father Philip had been experiencing symptoms of the disease for about 18 months before finally seeing a doctor.

MORE: Parkinson’s disease symptoms: what is “freezing”?

According to an article in the Daily Mail, 71-year-old Philip Tindall was diagnosed with the disease 15 years ago and is now cared for by his wife, Linda. Like Mike, Philip played rugby before becoming a banker, and the two would often spend days in the garden throwing a ball around. Mike shares how frustrated his father is that he’s not able to play with his granddaughters.

Mike, who’s married to the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Philips, has organized an annual celebrity golf day with proceeds going towards Parkinson’s disease charities in the U.K.

MORE: How does Parkinson’s disease affect the brain?

Parkinsons’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Source: Parkinson's News Today

8 Common Treatments for Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a long-term degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system. To date, there is no cure for the condition, but there are medications and therapies available to address some of the symptoms and improve quality of life for patients.

Here are eight of the main drugs and therapies used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, according to the Mayo Clinic:

MORE: Discover 10 early signs of Parkinson’s disease

1. Carbidopa-levodopa: Levodopa is a naturally occurring chemical which can enter the brain and be converted to dopamine when combined with carbidopa. The carbidopa also prevents the levodopa from converting into dopamine before it enters the brain.

The is one of the most effective treatments for Parkinson’s although after long-term use, the effects start to fluctuate.

Some people may experience side effects such as nausea, feeling lightheaded, and making sudden involuntary movements.

2. Carbidopa-levodopa infusion: In 2015, the FDA approved Duopa, which is a combination of carbidopa and levodopa in a gel form which is administered via a feeding tube into the small intestine.

Duopa is generally given to patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease whose response to carbidopa-levodopa is varied. The drug is infused continuously so the level of the drugs remains constant.

The risks associated with Duopa are infections at the site of the feeding tube and the tube falling out.

3. Dopamine agonists: Dopamine agonist mimic the effects of dopamine in the brain. They are generally not as effective as levodopa but the effects last longer and they can be used in conjunction with levodopa to counter any fluctuation in efficiency.

These medications can be administered through a patch, oral medications or as an injection. The side effects are also nausea and lightheadedness, but may also cause drowsiness, hallucinations and compulsive behaviors such as gambling, overeating, and hypersexuality — which will need to be addressed by a doctor.

MORE: Find out about the four possible causes of Parkinson’s disease here.

4. MAO-B inhinitors: Medications such as selegiline and rasagiline help to prevent dopamine breaking down in the brain by releasing monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) enzymes.

Generally, these types of medications should not be taken in conjunction with certain narcotics or antidepressants as occasionally patients will suffer from severe reactions. Side effects of MAO-B inhibitors include insomnia and nausea and if taken with carbidopa-levodopa they can also cause hallucinations.

5. Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors: These types of medications help to prolong the effects of levodopa by blocking brain enzymes that deplete dopamine.

The side effects are the same as taking levodopa, mainly involuntary movements and diarrhea.

6. Anticholinergics: Traditionally, anticholinergics have been used over the years to help combat tremors commonly experienced in Parkinson’s disease patients.

However, side effects such as confusion, hallucinations, memory loss, constipation, and urination problems are often more troublesome than the tremors.

MORE: Seven ways to make your home safer for people with Parkinson’s disease

7. Amantadine: Amantadine can be prescribed to patients in the early stages of Parkinson’s to offer relief from their symptoms. In can also be taken in combination with carbidopa-levodopa in the later stages of the disease to help control side effects such as involuntary movements.

8. Deep brain stimulation: Most regularly used in advanced cases of Parkinson’s disease for patients who no longer respond to levodopa, deep brain stimulation involves the insertion of electrodes in the brain which are connected to a generator implanted in the chest area. The electrical pulses sent from the generator to the electrodes can reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

The surgery carries serious risks such as brain hemorrhage, stroke, and infection. In addition, patients may need the equipment adjusting or parts replaced which involves more surgery.

MORE: Discover seven ways to help you self-manage Parkinson’s disease

 Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Source: Parkinson's News Today

Reducing Your Risk of Falling With Parkinson’s Disease

In this 2015 video from the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s, Heather Knight, a physical therapist, talks about managing the risk of falling.

MORE: Seven ways to help you self-manage Parkinson’s disease

Knight starts by detailing some of the risks people with Parkinson’s face, including tripping hazards, different underfoot surfaces, poor lighting, gait, and fatigue. She also talks about some practical tips to help prevent some of the potential hazards such as grab bars in the bathroom, stair railings, improved lighting, and decluttering.

Yoga, Tai chi, dancing and even boxing are all recommended exercises to help Parkinson’s patients with their balance, which in will turn help prevent falls. Knight also demonstrates some exercises which can aid mobility and improve balance.

MORE: Innovative boxing therapy helps patients with young-onset Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

The post Reducing Your Risk of Falling With Parkinson’s Disease appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Source: Parkinson's News Today

7 Ways to Make Your Home Safer for Those Living With Parkinson’s

Being diagnosed with a complex and serious disease like Parkinson’s is never easy. Patients and caregivers immediately start considering what changes will be necessary in order to make day-to-day life easier and safer for the recently diagnosed.

There are several things you can do to improve your daily routine while living with Parkinson’s. Many of these changes  include small adjustments and renovations to your home, which should be your safe place.

To help you with all these overwhelming changes, we’ve put together a list of tips based on suggestions from the Michael J. Fox Foundation. These tips will help you improve your life and safety while living and coping with Parkinson’s symptoms.

1. Don’t change all at once: It’s important that you don’t change the whole scene all at the same time; do it at a slow pace and start by making small changes.

Remove potential obstacles that could be dangerous for someone who has a hard time walking and balancing on their own. If you have big, fluffy rugs that could become a tripping hazard, consider moving them out of main rooms or walkways. Don’t forget to always leave space in between pieces of furniture, so that your loved one can walk freely and safely around the perimeter.

MORE: Boxing therapy can help young-onset Parkinson’s disease

2. Improve the lighting in your household: Some people may not like having a lot of light around them, but having a well-lit house can be very beneficial for people living with Parkinson’s disease.

It makes navigating each room easier and helps avoid undesired bumps and stumbles. If you can, install touch lights and lights that are sensitive to movement and sound.

3. Give your bathroom a makeover: Make sure you have a non-slip mat in the shower or bath tub.

If you can afford to upgrade your toilet, an elevated toilet seat is something several patients’ agree makes their lives a little bit easier. The extra elevation can make it easier to stand back up. Also install safety rails to help patients get up.

4. Switch your chairs to some that might be easier to get out of: Adjustable recliners or chairs with straight backs, firm seats and arm rests are the perfect choice.

Firm cushions can add height and help with standing up, as well.

MORE: See how Gregory Chandler hasn’t let Parkinson’s stop him from enjoying life 

5. Install railings along walls and hallways: Those living with Parkinson’s disease may have trouble walking or even just keeping their balance. To help with the mobility of patients, install railings and supports along the walls and hallways of the house.

If you can afford these home improvements, invest in them. They can be extremely helpful with improving balance and preventing falls.

6. Try to make more significant renovations: Even though it might be expensive, if you can afford to, try and adapt your house as much as possible.

Building ramps, stair lifts and wider doorways can make an enormous difference to someone living with Parkinson’s.

7. Don’t forget to invest in comfort: Rest is very important and one can only rest well if they feel comfortable. Make sure your bedroom is the most comfortable room in the house; invest in your mattress, bedding, window treatments.

MORE: Willie Geist and Ryan Reynolds team up with Michael J. Fox to beat Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

The post 7 Ways to Make Your Home Safer for Those Living With Parkinson’s appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Source: Parkinson's News Today

7 Ways to Self-Manage Your Parkinson’s Disease

Living with Parkinson’s disease can be difficult and the condition poses many challenges, however, there are ways that you can manage it to make your everyday life more comfortable. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of seven ways to self-manage Parkinson’s disease based on information from Parkinson’s UK.

Educate Yourself
The more you know about Parkinson’s disease, the more you can be prepared for what it has to throw at you. Keep up to date with all the latest research about the disease, find out if there are any clinical trials you can participate in, and if you’re on the newest medication.

MORE: The role of dopamine in Parkinson’s disease

Healthy Lifestyle
Try to stay as active as possible — walking, swimming and practicing yoga are great low-intensity exercises that you can take at your own pace. Talk to your medical team about physiotherapy if you are unable to move much on your own.

Eating a balanced diet and keeping your weight at a healthy level are also good ways to help self-manage your Parkinson’s. If you’re losing weight because you’re finding it difficult to swallow or have no appetite, talk to your doctor about ways to increase your caloric intake.

Hobbies and Socializing
If you have hobbies then try to continue with them, or find new pastimes that will help take your mind off Parkinson’s disease and give you something else to focus on. Try to keep up with friends and family on a social level so that you don’t become isolated.

Complementary Therapies
There are many complementary therapies that may help you with the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Meditation, acupuncture, use of essential oils and reflexology are among the many therapies you may find useful.

MORE: Boxing therapy can help young-onset Parkinson’s disease

Mobility Aids
Think about investing in mobility aids before you actually need them. This way you can ensure you know how to use them when they are needed. Everyone is different, and people will find different aids more beneficial than others.

Keeping Your Independence
While it is undoubtedly easier to have your carer do things for you, you should try and maintain your independence for as long as possible. If you can dress and bathe yourself, prepare simple meals and do household tasks then continue to do so, even if it takes you twice as long.

Join a Support Group
See if there is a local support group in your area for people with Parkinson’s disease. If there isn’t, find an online group. You’ll be able to share your experiences with people who really understand what you’re going through and get tips and information that will help you in your everyday life.

MORE: The four possible causes of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

The post 7 Ways to Self-Manage Your Parkinson’s Disease appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Source: Parkinson's News Today

9 Super Foods to Boost the Immune System

With winter just around the corner, it’s time we all started to look after ourselves a little more. Avoiding germs is one thing, but we can also try and boost our immune systems by getting plenty of sleep and eating the right foods.

Here are nine foods well-known for their immunity-boosting qualities according to prevention.com.

1. Yogurt
Providing you can eat dairy without any side effects, the natural probiotics found in yogurt are great for keeping the gastrointestinal tract healthy and in order. Opt for ones without added sugar or sweeteners if possible.

MORE: Get inspired by Gregory Chandler’s Parkinson’s story

2. Oats and Barley
Adding oats to your diet in the winter is easy, you can start your day with a hot bowl of oatmeal and you can switch barley for rice with your evening meal. Both of these grains are gentle on the stomach and are high in antioxidants — important for fighting off those winter bugs.

3. Beef
Beef is full of zinc, which many of us are low in over the winter months. Zinc helps to form healthy white blood cells which are important in the fight against winter illnesses. To get the most out of beef aim for organic, grass-fed beef.

4. Garlic
For optimum garlic power, you should eat two cloves of raw garlic a day. However, if this sounds unpalatable then you can either take garlic capsules or use lots of garlic in your cooking. The allicin in garlic is great for helping to fight off colds and flu.

MORE: Did you know that there’s an eye test that can help detect Parkinson’s before first symptoms show up?

5. Sweet Potatoes
Full of beta-carotene which is great for your skin, sweet potatoes make a healthier alternative to regular potatoes and are much lower on the GI scale.

6. Oily Fish and Shellfish
Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring are great sources of omega-3 which can help protect lungs from infections. The selenium found in shellfish such as prawns, oysters and mussels increases the amount of cytokines in the white blood cells which helps to fight off winter ailments.

MORE: Did you know that Parkinson’s disease patients may benefit from dancing?

7. Mushrooms
Mushrooms are also good for keeping our white blood cells healthy, and they are a great source of vitamin D — which is in short supply in the winter months. Add some to your favorite dishes for an immune boost.

8. Chicken Soup
The go-to meal when you’re feeling under the weather, research shows that we should be eating chicken soup as a preventative dish as well as a restorative one. The salty brine helps to thin mucus, and the onions and vegetables added to the soup also provide bug-fighting nutrients.

9. Tea
Black and green tea both contain lots of cold-busting antioxidants, even the decaffeinated varieties. Add lemon and honey instead of milk and sugar for a blast of vitamin C and antibacterial goodness.

MORE: Did you know that drinking coffee can lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer?

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Source: Parkinson's News Today

What Causes Anxiety in Parkinson’s Disease?

Anxiety is a state of mind which can give the sufferer feelings of agitation and nervousness. Moods can often be foreboding and difficult to snap out of. People who live with Parkinson’s disease may also suffer from anxiety for several reasons.

MORE: The five stages of Parkinson’s disease

According to the National Parkinsons Foundation, chemical changes occurring in the brain due to Parkinson’s disease can trigger mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. People living with Parkinson’s often have extremely low levels of the chemical GABA, which has been linked to the onset of anxiety and depression. If this is the case, then medication can help rebalance the brain’s chemicals and reduce anxiety.

Intermittent bouts of anxiety can occur due to the effects of motor changes, which can often be extreme and result in severe anxiety attacks.

As well as biological factors, psychological factors can also play a role in the onset of anxiety for Parkinson’s disease patients. The effects of coping with a chronic disease can often have an adverse effect on a person’s mental health. In addition, patients may experience anxiety attacks when their medication has worn off and is no longer working.

MORE: How does Parkinson’s disease affect the brain?

Parkinsons’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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Source: Parkinson's News Today

18 Tips for Getting Dressed With Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease can affect a person’s ability to do everyday tasks and chores, making even the easiest things complex and frustrating. Getting dressed requires both fine and gross motor skills which may pose difficulties to those living with Parkinson’s disease, but there are ways to make getting dressed easier, according to the National Parkinson Foundation.

MORE: The evolution of treatment for Parkinson’s disease

  • Allow yourself plenty of time to get dressed in the morning as rushing may only increase stress and worsen Parkinson’s symptoms.
  • Gather all of the clothes needed in one go, rather than making multiple trips to the closet.
  • If possible, wait until your medications have begun to work before you attempt to get dressed.
  • A few gentle stretches may help loosen and warm up muscles, making getting dressed a little easier.
  • If one arm or leg is stiffer than the other, put the stiff one into clothing first.
  • Sit down while getting dressed, using a supportive chair with armrests.
  • Sitting on the edge of the bed to get dressed can lead to loss of balance and falling forwards.
  • A footstool will help you put on socks and shoes.
  • Fabrics such as velour, velvet or nylon tend to rub together and create friction which can hinder getting dressed.
  • Avoid tight socks which are difficult to navigate over the feet.
  • Non-skid socks are preferable to slippers as they won’t fall off your feet causing a tripping hazard.
  • Choose lightweight shoes with either Velcro or elastic shoelaces.
  • Replace awkward fasteners and buttons with Velcro or magnetic buttons for easy undoing.
  • Replace standard shoelaces for either elastic laces or lace locks.
  • Choose simple loose-fitting clothes with as few fastenings or buttons as possible.
  • Elastic waistbands are preferable to fly zippers and buttons.
  • Choose soft and stretchy fabrics for comfort.
  • Oversized coats, pullovers and sweaters are easier to put on and take off.

MORE: Five benefits of cannabis tea for chronic illness

Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

The post 18 Tips for Getting Dressed With Parkinson’s Disease appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Source: Parkinson's News Today