Part 2: Living Well With Parkinson's Disease
“I have Parkinson’s Disease (PD), it doesn’t have me!” These words were never truer and have become the mantra of many people living successfully with Parkinson’s Disease. In part one of this article, we discussed briefly two parts of managing this disease. In part 2, I will discuss other keys elements to living well with PD.
A recipe for wellness
For review purposes, we’ve already discussed how exercise and attitude are essential in neurological health, so now let’s talk about nutrition and its role in overcoming the obstacles to living a quality life with PD. I’ve heard it said, “You are what you eat” and for the most part that is a true statement. Everything we put into our mouths is absorbed into our bodies, digested and converted to essential elements necessary for physical and mental fitness. Some good, some, well let’s say less than nutritional. The rest is rejected as waste. I told you I wasn’t very scientific but at least my description is accurate.
This subject is particularly a tough one for me because it’s hard to offer advice about diet and nutrition that I don’t always follow myself. Confession number 2: Following one’s advice is harder when you apply it to your own situation. Come on! Everybody sneaks a Krispy Kreme once in a while. Seriously though, there is no substitute for good nutrition. An appropriate diet is a recipe for wellness. I’m not saying cut out sugars, carbonated beverages or meat (no offense to carnivores or vegetarians), but what I am saying is limit your intake of these luxuries. Try a more balanced approach in planning your meals. There are several resources online and in print that can help you plan. If I can do it, I know you can.
Identify your stressors
Another part of living well with PD is the elimination of unnecessary stressors in your life. Every time I think about ways to do this, I think of that song by Bobby McFerrin, Don’t Worry, Be Happy. Make a mental list of all the things that stress you out, spouse not included (or perhaps may be included!) and seek help in that area. For example, my wife, who also happens to have PD, stresses when it comes to housework and so, I recognize that and lend a hand doing laundry, washing dishes, vacuuming. It takes the stress off of her and reduces her PD-related symptoms. It really works! Other stresses include cooking, bills, shopping and for those of you with children at home, getting the kids ready for school. If you live alone perhaps you could hire a service to do some of the tasks that stress you out the most. Please realize that we cannot totally eliminate all the stress in our lives but recognizing the worst ones and asking for help is a pretty good start. Communicating your needs goes a long way to accomplishing a less stressed life.
I wanted to mention there is no one way to manage all your PD symptoms all the time and that this disease is not a cookie cutter disease. It affects people differently and therefore keep that in mind as you apply any principle or piece of advice learned here. Another thing to remember is that there is no lock on knowledge. There may be some advice that you can offer nor mentioned and we’d love to hear about it because when we share openly about what works for us, you may be helping others live well with PD.
Which of the following caffeinated beverages do you regularly consume?