Health Care

Tips for Navigating Life With Parkinson’s Disease

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Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological illness that impacts the nervous system and the parts of the body controlled by your nerves. Symptoms start gradually. Your first symptom may be a hardly noticeable tremor in one of your hands. Tremors are common, but the disorder may also cause stiffness or slowing movements.

While there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, there are helpful ways to manage it so you can continue leading a meaningful life. Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms along with tips for effectively navigating life with Parkinson’s disease.

What Are the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson's disease symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. Early symptoms can be mild and barely noticeable. Symptoms typically begin on one side of the body and stay worse on that side, even after symptoms begin to affect the limbs on both sides.

Parkinson’s disease symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety, depression
  • Bradykinesia, or slowed movement
  • Constipation
  • Impaired balance and posture
  • Lack of facial expression
  • Loss of automatic movements
  • Lost sense of smell
  • Rigid muscles
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Speech changes
  • Tremor
  • Writing changes

Reach out to your health care provider if you have any combination of the symptoms above — to diagnose your condition as well as to rule out other causes for your symptoms.

How Do You Manage Parkinson’s Disease?

Getting a Parkinson’s diagnosis will change your life. It can feel devastating and certainly fill your life with unexpected hardships. But there is always hope and ways to manage your symptoms so that you can live a beautiful life.

Here are some tips to help you navigate life with Parkinson’s:

Build Your Care Team

Empower yourself with information on Parkinson’s disease management therapies that work best for you. Having a team in place with a variety of health care professionals with Parkinson’s expertise to manage your symptoms on an as-needed basis is important.

Get Mental Health Care

Mental health care, including counseling and psychotherapy, is essential for your emotional well-being if you’re diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. It’s important to look for reasons to feel supported and maintain hope. Consider looking for a therapist versed in radical acceptance therapy. Radical acceptance is learning to acknowledge and honor the reality of your life as it is right now. It can free you to direct your energy toward activities that give you meaning, purpose and hope.

Allow Yourself to Grieve

Change is a fact of life. Relationships, jobs, careers and roles can instigate dramatic change that continues to evolve with a Parkinson’s diagnosis. When uncertainty feels like your constant companion, life can be challenging. Honor your feelings of loss and give yourself grace surrounding any major life changes that result from having Parkinson’s disease.

Be Good to Yourself

It’s essential to recognize the challenges you face and take time for self-care. Practicing mindfulness can help you process change and practice radical acceptance. Getting fresh air and physical activity can ease depression and other Parkinson’s symptoms such as muscle stiffness.

Ask for and Accept Help

Health challenges are easier to bear when you’re surrounded by a support system of people you trust. Sharing your worries, struggles and joys, and listening to the experiences of others walking their own path with Parkinson’s are good reminders that you’re not alone.

Whether talking to a faithful friend, reaching out to a local support group, connecting through an online discussion group or trusting your care team to help you stay well, you can begin to open up about your hopes and bewilderment about living with Parkinson’s disease.

Whole-Person Neurological Care for Parkinson’s Disease

Our compassionate team of neurology experts is here to put a name to your symptoms and care for you with life-improving medications, exercises and minimally invasive surgical techniques.

If you have more questions about Parkinson's disease or think you or a family member might benefit from an evaluation, visit us here to learn more. We want you to feel whole no matter your diagnosis.

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