122 results for “parkinson's”

Parkinson’s Freezing Triggers and Fall Prevention

Posted November 30th, 2018 by

Gait freezing and falls are common among people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Take a closer look at patients’ experiences, common triggers of freezing and tips that may help prevent falls.

What is known about freezing and falls?

Researchers and movement experts have been studying gait freezing in people with PD for several decades. The exact cause of freezing is unknown, but experts believe it’s caused by PD’s effects on parts of the brain that control motor movement, such as the basal ganglia or part of the right side of the brain.

Common triggers of gait freezing may include:

  • Crowded environments or tight spaces
  • Turning corners, going around furniture or objects, or changing direction
  • Entering doorways, crossing over thresholds (especially from outdoors to inside), or changes in flooring (for example, from tile or wood to carpet)
  • Distraction or multi-tasking, such as walking and talking or carrying objects
  • Anxiety (initial research shows that this common symptom in people with PD may play a role in freezing, but further studies are needed)

Some tips and tricks may help “thaw” episodes of freezing (but every person is different, so talk with a movement specialist or physical therapist about what might work for you):

  • Visual cues — Giving yourself a visual hint may help your brain (and feet) know where to step, according to movement disorder specialists at the University of Florida Health. Visual cues include lasers on canes and U-step walkers, placing lines of tape on the floor, and stepping over the foot of another person . Some Dutch researchers are even working on laser sneakers for people with PD.
  • Auditory cues — Listening to music, counting out loud (like “1, 2, 3… 1, 2, 3…”) or using a metronome (or metronome app) can give your brain and body a rhythm to step to (check out this blog post about how Pamela Quinn, a professional dancer with PD, uses auditory cues to walk).
  • Practicing pivoting or changing direction — Check out this video, for example.
  • Check out these additional fall prevention tips — take note of potential household hazards, such as electrical cords, throw rugs or clutter on the floor.
  • Talk with your doctor about any freezing or falls you’ve experienced.Besides freezing, other factors that may cause falls include delayed reaction time, rigidity, bradykinesia, poor balance and even dehydration.

Taking your medication on time and working with your doctor to reduce “off” times is also important in preventing freezing.

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Fall feast: 3 ‘Parkinson’s-friendly’ recipes + cooking tips

Posted October 30th, 2018 by

Are you living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and looking for some dishes for Thanksgiving or another fall feast? Or just to boost your appetite? Our friends at Community Servings — a Boston-area nutrition and meal delivery organization for people with health conditions — handpicked three tasty recipes with a healthy balance of nutrients for people with PD. Plus, they’re sharing some quick pointers to help you keep on cooking with your condition.

3 awesome autumn recipes

“These are all high in fiber, have healthy fat, a moderate amount of protein, and are pretty easy to prepare,” says Alison Schlisser, a registered dietician and manager of Nutrition Services at Community Servings.

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Salad – This earthy salad features a flavorful combo of beans, squash, feta cheese, lemon juice and cilantro (with a dash of pumpkin pie spice, to boot). Serve it warm or at room temperature as a side dish or main course.

Mediterranean Sweet Potatoes – The stars of this vegan dish are roasted sweet potatoes and crispy chickpeas (spiced with cumin, cinnamon and paprika), plus a creamy tahini (sesame) sauce. This could add a nice kick to your Thanksgiving menu!

Delicata Squash & Lentil Soup – Delicatas are the long, cream-colored squash with dark green stripes. Their mild and slightly sweet flavor pairs well with hearty lentils and kale, plus a host of spices that scream “fall” in this soup.

Join PatientsLikeMe or log in to check out some other Thanksgiving recipes the PD community swapped in the forum.

Just keep in mind the timing of your meals and medications (for example, avoid eating too much protein close to when you take carbidopa/levodopa or Sinemet—see chapter 2 of the Parkinson’s Foundation’s Nutrition Matters booklet for more information). Talk with your doctor or a dietician to learn more.

Pointers for cooking with PD

Alison also passed along these pointers that could help you in the kitchen:

  • Buy pre-cut fresh, frozen or canned items to decrease preparation time. Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as their fresh counterparts. If choosing canned items, make sure to avoid added sugar and sodium (salt)!
  • Invest in some adaptive equipment for your kitchen. Angled measuring cups with well-gripped handles can be read from above, which means not having to lift the cup or having to bend over to read the fill level. Angled knives make one-handed cutting much simpler. Non-slip mats are very useful to help secure plates, bowls, and cutting boards in place when doing food prep.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation also rounded up 5 Ways to Make Cooking Easier with PD, such as sitting on a counter-height stool for much of your meal prep and using cut-resistant gloves, and a rice cooker (or slow cooker), whenever possible.

Do you have any favorite fall recipes or cooking tips to share? Sign up for PatientsLikeMe and swap ideas here with the PD community!