By Dr. Beth Templin
Getting a Parkinson's diagnosis can initially be devastating, especially if you don't know much about the disease or how to manage it.
Even if you've had your diagnosis for a while, it's hard to stay up to date on all of the new treatment options available, and know which ones are best for you. This is why it's best to surround yourself with a team of specialists.
The literature states these 5 tips in order to get the "best outcome". What does that actually mean? It means slowing down the progression of the disease while maintaining your quality of life as long as possible.
Top 5 Recommendations:
#1 - Work with a Movement Disorder Specialist. These are neurologists who have had an additional 1-2 years of training specific to the management and care of Parkinson's. They have additional training in common symptoms, medication issues, Botox injections, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery, and clinical trails.
#2 - Work with Parkinson's trained therapy team. This includes Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy. From my experience, working with a therapist who has specialty training in your disease process makes a big difference.
We are not only able to create a program specific to helping you fight back against your disease, but we also understand the normal progression of the disease. We are able to identify when something is off, like a change in your medical status, or when you may be due for a medication adjustment.
#3 - Exercise and have a program specific to your problem areas. Even though people with Parkinson's have a similar group of symptoms, everyone is affected differently. It's important to identify the areas you have the most trouble with, and focus on those areas specifically. That's how you can ensure you're getting the most out of your exercise routines.
#4 - Ongoing exercise and support. The research clearly shows that exercise is one of the best things you can to to slow down the progression of Parkinson's, which means you need to prioritize exercise for the rest of your life. As your disease progresses, your symptoms will also change. This means you need to be seen by a specialist on a regular basis to update your exercise plan, and maybe even your medications.
At HouseFit, we check in with our Parkinson's clients at least every 6 months. This ensures we are identifying any declines early and able to address them timely. It's a much better approach than waiting until you experience a major decline.
#5 - Add exercise as early as possible. The sooner you start, the slower your progression will be. High intensity, Parkinson's specific exercise helps protect the dopamine cells you have left in your brain. Even if you haven't started exercising yet, you can still reap the benefits of slowing down the progression - the sooner you start the better. As one of our members, Ron, told us "there's lots of hope you can live a good life with Parkinson's, but you've got to exercise to get there."
At HouseFit we love working with the Parkinson's community, and have additional training, specifically with Parkinson's Wellness Recovery or PWR!Moves. These specialty moves are designed to address the most debilitating symptoms of Parkinson's, keeping people independent as long as possible. This month, Dr. Kim reviews one of these specialty PWR!Moves. Check out page 3 to get started.
? Dr. Beth
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Dr. Beth helps adults 55+ maximize their independence and fitness, so they can continue to enjoy a full and active life.