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Once a person has been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, he or she should build a game plan. The game plan should include at least one goal such as reducing symptoms, minimizing side effects, maintaining daily living activities, or maximizing independence. Once a goal is chosen, the patient, with the help of his or her doctor or physical and occupational therapists, should create a schedule of exercise and a nutrition, sleep, and support plan.
Exercise helps the patient keep control of his or her movements by reducing gait problems, improving flexibility, and increasing muscle strength and balance, among other healthy benefits. Having the proper diet can help people living with Parkinson's Disease avoid bone fractures, dehydration, bowel impaction, and weight loss. Sleep—good sleep—helps keep the body and mind functioning. Because nightmares are a common symptom of Parkinson's, patients should avoid stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine and go to bed and get up at the same time every day so that the body can get used to a sleep schedule.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|