Your doctor has told you that you have Parkinson disease. This disease affects the brain and leads to tremors, problems with walking, movement, and coordination. Other symptoms or problems that may appear later on include difficulty swallowing, constipation, and drooling.
Over time, symptoms get worse and it becomes more difficult to take care of yourself.
Your doctor may have you take different medicines to treat your Parkinson disease and many of the problems that may come with the disease.
Exercise can help your muscles stay strong and help you keep your balance. It is good for your heart. Exercise may also help you sleep better and have regular bowel movements. Pace yourself when you do activates that may be tiring or need a lot of concentration.
To stay safe in your home, have someone help you:
Your doctor or nurse can refer you to a physical therapist to help with:
Constipation is a common problem with you have Parkinson disease. So have a routine. Once you find a bowel routine that works, stick with it.
Also try drinking more fluids, staying active, and eating lots of fiber, including fruits, vegetables, prunes, and cereals.
Ask your doctor about medicines you are taking that may cause constipation. These include medicines for depression, pain, bladder control, and muscle spasms. Ask whether you should take a stool softener.
These general tips may help with swallowing problems.
Eat healthy foods, and keep from becoming overweight.
Having Parkinson disease may make you feel sad or depressed at times. Talk to friends or family about this. Ask your doctor about seeing a professional to help you with these feelings.
Keep up to date with your vaccinations. Get a flu shot every year. Ask your doctor if you need a pneumonia shot.
Ask your doctor if it is safe to drive your car.
Call your doctor if you have:
The American Parkinson Disease Association -- www.apdaparkinson.org
The National Parkinson Foundation -- www.parkinson.org
American Parkinson Disease Association. Be independent: a guide for people with Parkinson disease. Staten Island, NY: American Parkinson Disease Association, Inc. 2009. Available at: http://action.apdaparkinson.org/images/Downloads/Be%20Independent.pdf?key=31532425. Accessed September 26, 2013.
Jankovic J. Movement disorders. In: Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, eds. Bradley’s Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 71.
Updated by: Joseph V. Campellone, MD, Department of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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