What is Parkinson’s Disease? PD is a very complex, ever changing, unpredictable, progressive brain disease that increasingly affects a person’s ability to move, speak and function independently. Early detection and treatment can help people lead satisfying, productive lives while education can help family and friends better understand their role as care partners.
So, what does PD look like? The 4 motor symptoms are:
1. Tremors - a shaking in an arm or leg when the limb is at rest but is less noticeable upon moving the limb. However, not everyone with PD will experience tremors.
2. Stiffness which often occurs in the arms and legs and can cause extreme pain and severely limit movement. (Almost all persons with PD experience stiffness and rigidity.)
3. Movements slow down in many ways which can include:
- a decreased arm swing when walking
- handwriting gets smaller and smaller
- a weakened voice
- shuffling or dragging a foot when walking
4. Problems with balance and coordination resulting in a much greater risk of falling
Be an advocate for your own healthcare and for those you love!!
The Importance of Exercise
Exercise not only improves our physical and emotional well-being, but the proper types of exercise can actually help slow down the progression of PD symptoms for some people living with the disease.
Walking is an extremely important type of exercise to provide feelings of self-worth and help keep muscles active and flexible. But when it comes to fighting the progressive effects of PD, walking is not enough!!!
Exercise regimens should be designed with your doctor and a physical therapist. Often these regimens include stretching and yoga-type exercises. An excellent and highly respected exercise program specifically designed for persons with PD is called LSVT BIG. BIG is a copyrighted program with instructors certified in the unique techniques of big, repetitive exercise to re-train the brain to right itself. Several of our partners offer this program in the Lexington area.