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It’s Important to Avoid Dehydration with Parkinson’s

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The other day I did something stupid. Really stupid. 

I love to putter in my garden on beautiful days. Only on this beautiful day, I crossed the line. My puttering turned into work, and before long, I was sweating bullets — shotgun-sized bullets on a 98-degree day.

Yet, I kept going. 

I kept going because I didn’t have the good sense to step back, sit down, take a rest in the shade, and get a drink. Like the Energizer Bunny, I just kept going and going and going. If my neighbor hadn’t come outside and reprimanded me (in a kind and concerned way), I’m honestly not sure what would have happened. I noticed while talking to her that I was stumbling around, slurring my words pretty badly, and sweating cats and dogs.

I promised her I would go inside and get some water and cool down. And I did. But I had pushed the boundaries a bit too far. 

During my last visit to the neurologist, my Medtronic rep for deep brain stimulation was talking to me, coincidentally, about how important it is to stay hydrated with a disease like Parkinson’s. He said the body is made up of approximately 60 percent water, and the brain 75 percent. For the brain to be healthy, it needs water. Lots and lots of water.

That day in my garden, I was starving my brain of what keeps it running at peak performance: water.

Water is important for all body functions.

The health advocates at That Sugar Movement note that, “Water is required by every cell in the body and important for all body functions. It helps transport oxygen and nutrients critical to the brain for optimal function, whilst providing cushioning and lubrication to the brain tissue. … So, staying hydrated is one critical factor for supporting the brain.”

Dehydration also can make you tired, mess with your cognitive abilities, lower your blood pressure, and force the brain to work even harder than a hydrated brain to do the exact same thing.

It took me over two days to bounce back from that episode, and it scared me enough to hopefully never repeat it again. With Parkinson’s disease, we’re dealing with major brain issues already. Adding self-inflicted dehydration to the mix is just plain stupid.

Take it from me. Learn from my mistake and go have a nice cold glass of water.

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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 It’s Important to Avoid Dehydration with Parkinson’s appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

With Parkinson’s, a Suntan Just Isn’t Worth It

heat intolerance

Betty slapped George hard. There was no response, so she dialed 911.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) had forced George into early retirement. He loved basking in the sun, diving into a good book, and working on his tan on their deck. Betty was in the kitchen when she saw him slumped over in the chair.

This wasn’t the first time George had responded so severely to the summer heat. He had reacted similarly to the heat two other times. His heart rate was slow, almost imperceptible. His face was ashen. Betty cradled George’s face in her hands as she waited for the ambulance, and with tears streaming down her face, commanded, “Don’t you die on me.” To herself, she said, “The suntan isn’t worth it.”

Similar stories are reported by many PD patients and their families.

Like George, the heat hits me hard. A small increase in air temperature above 75 degrees can leave me prone for hours, if not the entire day. Relief isn’t found by staying still or avoiding activities. I can have a difficult time in the shade or even in the house if the temperature rises.

I follow the recommendations to avoid heatstroke: I hydrate with water; complete any outside activities in the earlier, cooler parts of the day; and wear light, loose clothing. Our house is cooled by central air.

Despite all of these precautions, I can sense the losing battle with the heat as it rises. A comfortable summer day for others becomes a debilitating challenge for me due to heat attacks. This reaction to heat is an attack on my ability to function, a magnified response, such as my descriptions of fatigue and pain.

Researchers claim that heat intolerance is different than heat illnesses like heatstroke. Heat intolerance is usually a side effect of medications or a symptom of endocrine disorders or other medical conditions, rather than the result of too much exercise or hot, humid weather.

Up to 64 percent of PD patients report thermodysregulation, which includes symptoms of heat and cold intolerance as well as excessive sweating. PD patients have problems with their autonomic nervous system, which controls sweating. While perspiration helps regulate the body’s temperature, too much or too little perspiration can result in overheating.

Last month was the warmest July ever. It also included the worst bout of heat attacks ever recorded. It’s time for a tweak in the wellness map.

I’m trying to shift from thinking that I can work in some heat to understanding that it’s not worth the suntan. It’s not something to ignore or push through, distracting the mind from the physical issues, like hiding one’s head in the sand. It must be met straight on with reason and sensible action. Most of us are not yogi masters who can change body temperatures at will. We must use what we know and take steps to prevent serious harm from happening.

This is me telling myself not to take this risk lightly. I tend to push myself too hard.

The symptoms of heat intolerance can vary from person to person, but may include:

  • feeling very hot in moderately warm temperatures
  • excessive sweating
  • not sweating enough in the heat
  • exhaustion and fatigue during warm weather
  • nausea, vomiting, or dizziness in response to heat
  • changes in mood when too hot

If you experience any of these symptoms, time to get out of the heat! It’s just not worth the suntan.

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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 With Parkinson’s, a Suntan Just Isn’t Worth It appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Is What You Eat Making You Stink?

balance

If you’ve had Parkinson’s disease for any amount of time, you’ve most likely heard that one of the symptoms is a loss of the sense of smell. You may have experienced it yourself.

I pondered this reality one day and became concerned. I wasn’t bothered so much by being unable to smell skunks or detect a foul odor upon entering recently vacated restrooms. I actually consider those loss-of-smell experiences a blessing.

What concerned me was if I smell stinky to others but can’t smell myself, and therefore can’t remedy the situation.

This concern led me to look into foods that are known to make you stink.

Everyone has heard the little ditty, “Beans, beans, the magical fruit. The more you eat … .” Ah, now you remember. It’s just a fact that you don’t need to be told: Beans give you gas. The resulting emissions can rate from minimal to extreme on the odor scale. 

But what are some other foods that can cause you to produce unbecoming body odor that you may not detect because of your loss of smell due to Parkinson’s?

Garlic and onions are popular BO culprits, but did you know that beets can cause your skin to give off a fishy odor?

Cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and others) can create quite a melody of flatulence, but there are great reasons to eat these veggies. Kristen Smith, of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told Health magazine that these foods “have a lot of fiber and contain plenty of beta-carotene along with vitamins C, E, and K as well as folate. In addition to being good for general health, there’s some evidence they may also help prevent certain types of cancer.”

Did you know that caffeine naturally stimulates your central nervous system, thereby causing the sweat glands to become active? And because coffee is also highly acidic, it dries out your mouth right away. People with Parkinson’s may already struggle with dry mouth issues. Bacteria can grow in a dry mouth, leading to bad breath.

Although lentils are on the really-good-for-you list, they tend to cause a pretty smelly atmosphere. This high-fiber food increases the gut bacteria — something found to be extremely important for people with Parkinson’s — but it can also cause some intensive bloating and gas. 

Some other foods that tend to make you “odorous” are red meat, spicy foods, and soy. 

Our bodies all react differently to foods. What makes one person painfully gassy may have little or no effect on someone else. If you’ve been struggling lately with odor or flatulence, you may want to examine your food choices and see if there is something that is not agreeing with you. 

Also, ask a loved one to tell you if they notice a bad odor emanating from you. If you’ve lost some sense of smell, you might not be aware of it. 

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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 What You Eat Making You Stink? appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Parkinson’s Disease Is Enough of a Stinker Without Sweat Problems

Sherri Journeying Through

Parkinson’s disease can be difficult to live with, and excessive sweating adds to the mix. People with PD have a higher likelihood of emitting unfavorable odors because a person with PD can perspire more than someone who doesn’t have it.

“When Parkinson’s affects the autonomic nervous system, it loses its ability to regulate the body, which can cause changes in the skin and sweat glands,” Melanie Haiken wrote in a column for Caring.com. “Some people find themselves sweating uncontrollably when there’s no apparent reason, such as heat or anxiety. For a woman, these attacks may feel much like the hot flashes of menopause. The official term for this symptom is hyperhidrosis. … This condition can also show up in the form of excessively oily skin or an oily scalp resulting in dandruff.”

In the summer here in Southern Oregon, where I live, it can get rather warm. I love to garden, and so I can often be found outside soaking up vitamin D while working in my yard. I don’t, however, like the endless perspiration it creates. It has been quite embarrassing, on several occasions, when a neighbor has walked by to say hello and I turned around to acknowledge their greeting with sweat pouring down my face and dripping onto my shirt below. Their response was one of concern when they looked at me, diagnosing me with an imminent heart attack if I didn’t go in immediately to cool down and rest.

Because I have Parkinson’s and they don’t, and because I know excessive sweating can be part of the disease and they don’t, it leaves much room for frustration. And, as we are all aware, excessive sweating leads to excessive unfavorable odor. For the person with PD, this can be a quandary in that we can be physically challenged in yet another area: sense of smell. It may be slowly deteriorating or may have left altogether.

Therefore, it is important to stay on top of your hygiene tactics. For example, give someone you trust permission to let you know if you are ever giving off a foul odor. If they are a trusted friend, spouse, caregiver, whatever, they will be telling you in love. Try different deodorants until you find one you like.

Hang in there. This journey can be stinkin’ hard, but we’re in it together.

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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 Parkinson’s Disease Is Enough of a Stinker Without Sweat Problems appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Source: Parkinson's News Today