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  • Writer's pictureEngage PT, OT, SLP Therapy and Wellness

Newly Diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease? Focus on a game plan.

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

Receiving the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease is life changing. You may feel many overwhelming emotions including sadness, anger, and uncertainty. We are here to help you develop an action plan to meet your needs and address questions you have as learn how to live your best life with PD.

Here are some basics for a game plan to keep you moving:

Exercise: Exercise is medicine in Parkinson’s. Research has found that exercise, especially higher intensity exercise assists your brain in using dopamine (the neurotransmitter which is lower in PD). Aiming for 30 minutes a day 5-7 days a week is supported by research. Try and find exercise avenues which are in a group. This helps build in accountability and can also make it more fun. Check out your local Parkinson’s Foundation for local resources.

Stay hydrated: Aim for 8 glasses of water a day (64 oz). Staying hydrated can help with medication absorption, assist with constipation, assist with dizziness associated with low blood pressure, and muscle cramps.

Stick to a schedule for your medication: Staying consistent when you are taking your medication can assist with keeping you moving and minimize “off” times.

Focus on nutrient dense foods: There is emerging research about the connection between the gut and the brain. Try to eliminate highly processed foods and foods with sugar. Focus in on foods that bring you more energy and avoid foods that make your symptoms worse. It may be beneficial to meet with a nutritionist to get ideas to build in fruit and vegetables.

Focus on sleep: Get enough sleep at night and plan daytime activities, such as exercise or social time with friends and family. Set and follow regular bedtime and wake up times with a goal of spending at least 7 but not much more than 8 hours in bed each night. Take short naps during the day (not more than 30 minutes). In the early afternoon, quick rests can be refreshing and boost energy.

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