What would you do if I told you that you could help end Parkinson’s disease by doing this one thing? Well, if you’re anything like me, your first response would be, sign me up! Your next response would be, what do I have to do?
I’m glad you asked! April is National Parkinson’s Awareness Month. Communities in the united states and worldwide are hosting activities throughout April. These activities help raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease. The one thing you can do to help people with Parkinson’s is find events in your area and sign up!
What Is Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease PD is a medical condition that affects the area of the brain associated with movement called the substantial nigra. People diagnosed with Parkinson’s will slowly develop symptoms including tremors in their hands, legs, or jaw; problems with their gait or the way they walk; and balancing issues. Performing routine daily activities will become difficult without assistance from caregivers or family members – simple tasks like brushing your teeth or getting dressed become almost impossible because of uncontrollable hand tremors.
Although PD isn’t a life-threatening disease, a diagnosis is life-changing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), complications associated with PD are the 14th leading cause of death. Therefore when diagnosed with PD, talk with your doctor about your treatment options, and educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about this neurodegenerative disorder.
Diagnosed with Parkinson’s – Now What?
Over nine million people worldwide live with Parkinson’s disease. Those of you newly diagnosed now know that you are not alone. Living with PD is difficult, but it is possible to continue living an independent and active lifestyle. Below are just a few things you can do to maintain your quality of life.
Maintain A Healthy Diet – eat foods recommended by the U.S Department of Agriculture MyPlate program. Following the MyPlate program will ensure you are getting the proper vitamins, minerals, proteins, fiber, and other nutrients necessary for good health and maximum energy. Stay away from too much sugar, caffeine, and fatty foods. Proper diet intake and prescribed medications for PD strengthens your bones and eliminates weight loss. Accidental falls and filling full after eating small portions of food often occur in patients with PD. Strong bones decrease the likelihood of injury after a fall, and proper food intake helps manage your weight.
Maintain Your Mental Health – A PD diagnosis causes stress, anxiety, and a whole host of other emotions for patients and their loved ones. These emotions intensify PD symptoms, one of which is mood changes. Staying on top of your emotional health is essential. A great way to maintain your emotional well-being is to seek counseling. Talking with mental health professionals helps PD patients and their loved ones get through stressful moments. Joining a PD support group exposes PD patients to other people living with PD. Two great places to start seeking these resources are The Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Parkinson’s Foundation.
Maintain Activities of Daily Living – People living with PD will experience problems with movement. The best way to remedy this is to keep moving as often as possible. Join an exercise or dance class, take daily walks through the park or around the neighborhood. Some PD patients have problems with their gait. Use a walker or rollator for balance and support. Prevent falls in the bedroom and bathroom. Install bed rails for help getting in and out of bed. Installing grab bars or shower rails make getting in and out of the bath safer. Utilize adaptive devices to help with dressing, dining, grooming, and toileting. These aids for daily living devices help PD patients remain independent and active while researchers work hard to find a cure.
What Is The One Thing You Can Do to Help Find A Cure?
There are several things you can do to help find a cure for PD. However, the one thing you can do is get involved! April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and April 11th is Parkinson’s Disease World Day. Organizations like the Parkinson’s Foundation and The Michael J. Fox Foundation have been bringing awareness to this disease since 1983. This year, those who want to help can take the #Parkinson’sAwareness quiz and share this quiz throughout social media. Another way to help is to participate in fundraising activities in your community. Visit Parkinson’s.org to find participating organizations in your area and get involved.