Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder where the brain cells are unable to release Dopamine a neurotransmitter. Due to dopamine deficiency the person is unable to coordinate movements of body parts. Even in some cases the thinking ability of the person is hampered leading to anxiety and depression. Parkinson’s is a degenerative and progressive disorder where the disease symptoms increase day by day if not treated with medications and exercise.
In Australia, Parkinson’s affects 1, 00,000 people with 38 people being diagnosed every day (https://shakeitup.org.au/understanding-parkinsons/).
The symptoms of disease varies from person to person .But the common symptoms of disease are tremors, rigidity, balancing problems, depression and anxiety. There is no single test to detect the disease, based on the signs and conditions the patient tells to doctor the disease is diagnosed.
Parkinson’s disease is generally thought of as an elderly disease (usually developing after the age of 60) but some people may develop it at an age of 40 or even below it also.
The disease progression is contributed by the list of genetic and environmental factors. But even drugs, infections and head injuries can contribute to the occurrence of the disease.
Disease progression and Control-
The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are not easily diagnosed as there are no standard measurements or devices to measure the progression of the disease. To decrease the chances of getting the disease the best method is control the symptoms and remain healthy.
The neurologist on the basis of symptoms advises a list of medications, diet and an exercise schedule to improve the conditions and further prevent the progression of the disease.
The best way to control the symptoms of Parkinson’s from worsening is to exercise regularly. The exercise pattern and type depends on the severity of symptoms. Before starting any exercise it is better to consult or seek guidance of a medical consultant as what type of exercise is best for the individual.
It is best do any exercise under the supervision of a Physical trainer who guides you to undertake a proper movement and helps you fight the disease by maintaining the schedule of exercises best suited to improve your condition.
Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease-
Though exercise is important to control progression of any disease, in case of Parkinson’s it becomes very essential as it helps in improving mobility and doing daily chores.
Research have indicated the fact that people with Parkinson’s who exercise regularly for 2.5 hours a week showed improved quality of life.
The type of exercise best suited by an individual depends on the severity of disease and decided by physical therapist and consultant doctor who is giving medication to the patient.
Physical exercises for Elderly-
The elderly people are at increased risk of developing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. They can control the progression as well as risk of development of disease by regular exercise.
The exercise therapy usually starts with some basic posture improvement movements followed by Walking and running on Treadmill which improves the heart rate. These are then followed by weight lifting and calf strengthening exercises which helps to improve the muscle strength.
Aerobic exercises and yoga can be done which helps in improving balancing and mood improvement of a person.
Dance and singing improves the vocal and expressive movement. Both these activities help in improving the quality of life.
These exercise therapy should be followed under the supervision of physical therapist only since Parkinson’s may hamper the control of the body parts and people may even feel tired or fall down during the exercise.
It is found that Parkinson’s disease may lead to depression and anxiety in a person since the brain cells which helps in cognitive abilities are damaged. So it is advised that the person lives in a community which helps him/her in improving the conditions of the disease.
Even the exercises indicated by the medical consultant should not be done in isolation but in an exercise class or gym since it helps the person to connect with other people and improves the mood of living and improving his/her condition.
While the benefits of exercise to be done depend on the health status of an individual suffering from Parkinson’s disease, it is studied that any exercise regime improves the overall condition of the patient. While stretching and aerobic exercises are found to be the best to be done by the patients of Parkinson’s disease improving their symptoms and overall health.
But before doing any exercise its best to consult the neurologist who has examined the patient. Community support is also required in improving the overall health of patient suffering from Parkinson’s disease since group helps in lowering the symptoms of anxiety and depression which may occur in the patient.
There is no documentation yet whether exercise is overall replacement of medication prescribed by the consulting neurologist. Hence it best to consult the doctor before any patient stops any medication.