If you’re looking for a way to fight Parkinson’s disease, diet and exercise may be your best bet. Studies have shown that people with Parkinson’s who eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise tend to have less severe symptoms and a slower progression of the disease. Here’s what you need to know about using diet and exercise to fight Parkinson’s.
What is Parkinson’s disease and how many people does it affect worldwide?
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that occurs when certain nerve cells in the brain die or become impaired. These cells are responsible for producing dopamine, a chemical messenger that helps regulate movement and coordination. When these cells die, dopamine levels drop significantly, which can lead to physical symptoms such as tremors and unsteady movements. In addition, mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and memory problems can also occur.
The primary symptom of Parkinson’s is tremors or shaking in the hands and arms. Other physical symptoms include rigidity or stiffness of the muscles; slow movements; difficulty walking; changes in posture and balance; loss of facial expression; difficulty speaking; difficulty swallowing; drooling; fatigue; constipation; urinary problems; sleep disturbances; and skin problems such as seborrhea or excessive oiliness of the skin. Additionally, cognitive decline has been linked to Parkinson’s disease in some cases.
It is estimated that more than 10 million people are living with Parkinson’s disease worldwide. Men are slightly more likely to develop the disorder than women (1.5 times more likely), but both genders are affected approximately equally once they reach their 80s. In addition, while most cases of Parkinson’s appear after age 60, early-onset cases (before age 50) make up about 15 percent of all diagnoses each year.
Parkinson’s disease can be managed with medication and lifestyle modifications such as physical therapy and exercise. However, there is currently no cure for this devastating disorder yet—although researchers continue to work diligently towards finding one in the near future.
How can diet and exercise help to fight the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?
Diet and exercise have been proven to reduce the severity of symptoms in those who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Eating a diet rich in healthy fats, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables can go a long way in minimizing the impact that this condition has on someone’s daily life.
Working with a nutritionist or dietician can be hugely beneficial for overcoming many health-related issues. For example, if an individual is suffering from Parkinson’s disease and is struggling to manage their weight, a nutritionist or dietician could create an individualized meal plan suited specifically for their needs. To assist even further, online virtual consults allow people to access the expertise of online dieticians from the comfort and safety of their own home.
Exercise also helps keep symptoms at bay, as physical movement can relieve stiffness and rigidity associated with the disease. A monitored workout regimen will not only target physical health but also mental focus and energy, providing numerous benefits for those living with Parkinson’s.
In order to maximize the effect, it is important to work closely with doctors to ensure proper compliance with treatment plans.
What are some specific foods and exercises that have been shown to be helpful in fighting Parkinson’s disease symptoms?
Eating a diet full of whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, and healthy fats can drastically improve the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease. Incorporating omega-3 fatty acids and limiting processed foods can also help combat adverse effects of the condition.
Specific exercises like tai chi, yoga, stretching, walking, strength training, and even dancing have been proven to aid in managing issues related to balance, coordination, mobility, and mental stability that often arise as a result of Parkinson’s.
Optimally combining these nutritional strategies with regular physical activity may be one of the best courses of action for those looking to reduce their Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
How can you make sure you’re getting enough of the right nutrients and exercise if you have Parkinson’s disease?
Depending on the severity of your Parkinson’s disease it may be beneficial to speak with your doctor or nutritionist in order to come up with a diet plan that aligns best with your body’s specific needs. Certain vitamins and minerals are important for people with Parkinson’s, such as iron, Vitamin D, and B12, so maintaining a healthy balance in those areas is vital.
In addition to eating right, exercise is another great way to help manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Outdoor exercise classes that offer neuroactive exercises can be especially beneficial for people with Parkinson’s disease as they can help improve flexibility, balance, strength and coordination. Neuroactive exercises are specifically designed for people with movement disorders such as parkinsonism and are aimed at activating nerve networks associated with movements.
Are there any other treatments or therapies that can help people with Parkinson’s disease manage their symptoms effectively?
While medication is the most commonly prescribed mode of treatment for Parkinson’s disease, alternative therapies can offer additional relief. Examples of these include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and even surgery.
Physiotherapy helps people to stay stronger by reducing muscle rigidity and increasing flexibility. Occupational therapists advise on ways to make day to day activities easier as motor skills worsen. Speech therapists help those with developing communication issues that come with Parkinson’s. Surgery can be an option for advanced stages of the disease, such as deep brain stimulation using electrodes to send electrical pulses which reduce tremors, stiffness, and other symptoms.
While it is important to work closely with healthcare professionals when exploring treatment options, research into all available alternatives so you find the best possible course for managing your Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s disease is a serious condition that affects millions of people worldwide, but there are things that patients can do to help manage their symptoms.
A healthy diet and regular exercise have both been shown to be effective in helping to fight the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and there are specific foods and exercises that can be especially helpful. Making sure you’re getting enough of the right nutrients and exercise is important for everyone, but it’s especially critical for those with Parkinson’s disease. In addition to dietary and lifestyle changes, there are also other treatments and therapies that can help people with Parkinson’s disease manage their symptoms effectively.
Have you or someone you know been affected by Parkinson’s disease? What tips would you add for managing the condition?