Parkinson’s disease is very challenging to live with, as it causes progressive changes to the motor function to the body, it also causes many other non-motor symptoms, including but not limited to depression, insomnia (sleep problems,) pain, and, brain disorder ex. memory loss inability to reason intellectually
The disease greatly impacts the quality of life on not only the patient but also the ones caring for the patient. Although there is much about PD that we are unable to control by, taking an active role in treatment, including following instructions with medication schedule and making healthy lifestyle choices, can provide a sense of control and help people with PD live their lives to the fullest.
It can be very overwhelming when first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. There is still a lot to learn about the disease, its symptoms, and the different options in treating this disease. However, research is continuing and learning about the disease can help us to better understand it and may help us in taking control of the symptoms and hopefully finding a cure.
Assistance and modifications
Living with Parkinson’s Disease can make normal daily activities very challenging but there are many devices and adaptations that can make it easier to cope with the symptoms. Assistive devices are available that can help with walking, eating, getting dressed, and making writing easier. There are utensils that are now available to make eating easier for people who experience the tremor or shaking of PD.
Some utensils are made with larger and, weighted handles that make it easier to grip, some even has a sensor in the handle that neutralizes the tremor, keeping the utensil steady. Many people with PD also find it helpful to use travel cups with lids and/or straws attached, as well as plates with a scooped edge to avoid spills.
Getting dressed is challenging, for Parkinson diseased patient especially when it comes to fastening buttons, zippers, and shoes.
Weighted Button Aid has a large grip handle that makes pulling a button through its hole much easier.
Zipper pulls attach a ring to the tiny handle on zippers, making them easier to grasp and zip up or down.
Magnetic buttons provide the shirt that has buttons on the outside that close with magnets on the inside.
Shoes with Velcro or elastic shoelaces are easier to fasten than those with shoelaces.
Home also has to be made safe for the patient due to their risk of falls these alterations can be small and easy to be added. Changes at times can also be a major building project that requires construction.
The bathroom should also be made safe, There are also a number of things that can be done to make bathroom safe and accidents in the bathroom rear Handlebars can be added, to tubs and showers to make it easier for the patient getting in and out Non-skid mats or decals are also good an idea helps in reducing the risk of slipping.
Tub chairs or benches can be used for sitting in the tub so standing while taking a shower won’t be too tiring, and raised toilet seats or grab bars near the toilet can make it easier to sit down and get up.
Electric toothbrushes and electric razors will help to make daily grooming easier, and turning on the faucet can become difficult touch faucets can be installed that turn on the water with a simple touch
Driving and Parkinson’s disease
The ability to drive safely can be impacted by PD, as the disease has multiple effects on motor, cognitive (thinking), and visual functioning. However, patients with PD should be assessed before allowing a person with PD to drive especially if the symptoms are at an advanced stage.
Coping Emotionally with PD
Patients dealing with PD usually have problems coping emotionally they have trouble adjusting to the fact they have lost some of their independence and they now have to be dependent on others for assistance for doing the most personal task.
Be well-informed about all your medications. Ask your doctor if your medications should be taken with food or on an empty stomach, what the possible side effects are, and if there are any interactions to avoid
Take special notice on how your medications make you feel, particularly note how long it takes before the medication starts working (your PD symptoms lessen) and how long it takes for your symptoms reoccur
This information is important to share with your doctor this will tell you, doctor, if your medication needs to be increased in strength or in frequency.
It is best to have all your prescriptions filled at one pharmacy. Using one pharmacy for all your prescriptions helps your pharmacist understands everything you’re taking and can detect any mistakes that may be made in your prescription.
Be sure to get your prescriptions refilled early. It’s best not to wait until you run out of your medications before getting a refill, as this may cause you to skip a dose or taking it later than usual may greatly impact your PD symptoms.
Schedule refills at least a week before you run out to ensure you will have your medication.
Use a pill dispenser. Pill dispensers make it easy to see if you’ve taken your dose of medicines, pill dispensers have separate compartments and are labeled for each day. Some pillboxes have different compartments different time of the day morning, noon, and night.
It is very important to keep a list of your medications. It’s helpful for you or your caregiver to keep a list with all the medications, supplements, and vitamins that you take in one place.
This list will be needed if there is an emergency and you need to go to the hospital this list should include the name of the medication, the dosage, and the time schedule of when it is taken.
Doctors need to understand everything you are taking to help manage side effects and prevent adverse drug interactions.
. Pay attention to side effects. If you notice any change in how you are feeling, physically, mentally, or emotionally, contact your doctor right away. Side effects can be serious and should not be ignored. It may be possible to switch medications or reduce the dose
Coping with the side effects of medications
Unfortunately, medications that are the most effective in alleviating the motor symptoms have some side effects an example of this is the medication Levodopa-carbidopa therapy but it has been shown that long-term treatment with Levodopa may cause dyskinesia (spontaneous, involuntary movements).
Dyskinesia can greatly impact a person’s quality of life, it causes the body to shake involuntary and some people find it very disturbing. While there are currently no treatments for dyskinesia.
There are some medications that are used to treat PD can cause impulse control disorders, behavioral disorders in which the person acts out repetitively, excessively, and compulsively in ways that interfere with major areas of life functioning. The most common impulse control disorders seen in people with PD are excessive shopping, unusual or increased sexual behavior, compulsive gambling, and compulsive eating. Identification and treatment of these behaviors are critical as they can have devastating effects on the patient’s and caregiver’s lives.
There is a higher incidence of some other disease that can affect a person with Parkinson Disease these diseases include g diabetes, melanoma (a type of skin cancer), osteoarthritis, gastrointestinal diseases, genitourinary dysfunction, and cardiovascular disease. Many people with PD also have a vitamin D deficiency.
In conclusion, we can see that living with PD can be very stressful, painful. and emotionally draining but with the right mindset and making adjustments in our daily living and being careful in making sure to take the medication and relaying to the doctor any changes you may notice eating properly and doing some exercise will make living with the disease a little easier to cope.
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