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10 Tips to Improving Your Life with Parkinson’s Disease and Other Health Conditions

10 Tips to Improving Your Life with Parkinson’s Disease and Other Health Conditions

Parkinson’s disease is an illness that may require varying strategies. It may take new and different tactics to work with the ever-evolving changes that may pop up over time. Here are a few pieces of advice to consider as they may help you as they have helped me:

10) Intake Matters – Consider everything that you put into your body. Stay hydrated! Eat as cleanly as you can (local organic fresh vegetables, balanced diet, pay attention to your nutrition) and going easy on processed foods. Try reducing and even eliminating soft drinks. Avoid artificial sweeteners! Diet and Parkinson’s disease seem to go together; which makes complete sense, as reams of research seem to point to the gut as a possible culprit for the illness. Since going vegetarian, by vastly reducing my soft drink intake, increasing my water consumption, and reducing my reliance on processed foods, I have noticed digestion and medication absorption both, seem to have improved.

9) Keeping Social and Well – Informed – Creating and maintaining a social life keeps you involved, knowledgeable, engaged, and active. A social network and/or a support group is an opportunity to connect with other like-minded individuals who are dealing with your condition. Sharing information together provides you with a resource for experience and wisdom from those who are living with illness as well as those who are caring for loved ones. Having a sounding-board of experienced people can be very helpful when trying to learn about medications, navigate local resources, find therapies, and share stories about your health care providers. Seek support!

8) Lowering Your Stress Level and Keeping Anxiety Down – There are techniques and complementary therapies like massage, yoga, meditation, Reiki, and Tai chi, which can reduce stress anxiety, and calm the mind; these are but a few of the many therapies that you might consider trying. Several of these therapies can help teach breathing techniques and ways to lower anxiety. Finding that balance of your mind, body, and spirit can have a significant impact on your health.

7) Special Doctor – If you have Parkinson’s disease or another kind of movement disorder, find a neurologist who is specially trained as a Movement Disorder Specialist. They have extra training and an understanding in neurological disorders.

6) Keeping Positive – A positive attitude is contagious. Making the choice of staying positive and identifying the good instead of the negative is important to create a healthy and conducive environment. Remember that you have a choice!

5) Gratitude – Hold on to your joy for life and the gratitude for all that is in your life! Appreciate what may seem like small things but really are not, is a good start. Medicine, doctors, clean water and air, a good meal, friends, family, and just being alive are all to be appreciated. Add the awe of a sunrise, a sunset, a good laugh, great conversation, and helping someone else, are all acts to be cherished.

4) Doing What You Can – Do as much as you can, while you can, and maximize your good days! Take advantage of everyday and make the most of them!

3) Be Heard – Get involved in your community through advocacy groups, local organizations, and share your voice about your journey with illness. Educate those around you about your illness and encourage friends and family to learn with you on how to improve the Parkinson’s community.

2) Do Something – If you are in denial, apathetic, or depressed, it may be very difficult to motivate yourself to do what you need to do. It may be helpful to seek help from a counselor or someone who understands depression. This may take small victories and small steps. It may take learning about the disease in small chunks. Know this, that everyone’s journey is different and that you can’t gauge one patient by another. The more proactive and motivated you are, the more prepared you will be. Being flexible and staying open to new opportunities can be very helpful.

1) You are Not Powerless – Realize that you are in the driver’s seat to your healthcare! You must be your own best advocate and make sure that you are doing your very best. Be proactive with conventional medicine, skeptical but open to other non-invasive therapies, and a willingness for change. A little hope and faith can go a long way!

I really do believe that we have the power to help ourselves. We have the power locked inside ourselves, we just need the right key to unlock it. I think it is up to us to find that key.

My Zelapar Follow Up

To my few but loyal followers, I apologize for the brief hiatus that I have taken in keeping my blog up to date. I am publicly making my declaration that I will try to commit more time to keeping this space current and relatively entertaining. I ask only this, of you the reader, if you think this, my blog, to be of worth, that you pass it on to a friend, a collegue, or even just someone that you feel a need to get back at–well, okay that might be a little cruel and unusual punishment. 

I realize that I never got back to you, my friends, what the final outcome was from my nightmare account with Zelapar, a drug that I only took for 3 days but stayed in my bloodstrem for over 21 days. If you missed my saga with this drug, just check out my earlier postings to learn how this drug dragged me through the proverbial ringer.

At this time, I think that I can honestly conclude that I have no residual side effects or known damage from my stint with Zelapar. Yes, it caused weeks of frustration, weeks of aggravation,  and much more dyskinesia than I am normally accustomed to, but in the end, I came out alright. As best as I can tell, I seem no worse for wear.

I can’t say it enough: Every PD patient is different and every med is going to help, do nothing, or challenge him or her.  If I can offer any advice, from personal experience and not from a medical perspective, the patient can best serve themself if he or she monitors his or her condition closely as to best be aware of any encroaching side effects or changes in condition. What works for some may not work for all–it’s just that simple with this disease–at least from where I sit.

No thanks to the makers of Zelapar or the FDA, both with whom I filed concrns with, only to be lost in the vapor. No follow-up call, email, or contact of any kind. I would think that there would interest by someone in one of these large institutions that actually give a damn–but no! Then today, this piece of news slippped below my radar:

Aug 20 (Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday it will examine the potential heart risks of Novartis AG’s (NOVN.VX) Parkinson’s drug Stalevo, a combination of two treatments for the debilitating brain disease.

I am not on Stalevo but I have many friends who are taking this drug. I encourage you to keep up with the constant flurry of PD data, breakthroughs,and warnings through the power of Google and the web, whether you are on Stalevo or not. If you are on Stalevo, I would suggest that you closely monitor the outcome and keep in touch with your Neurologist about where this goes.  Remember, that’s just my humble opinion and not medical advice.

Let me know what you think and please subscribe to my blog. Thanks!

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