58 posts tagged “Parkinson’s Disease”

Driving with Parkinson’s disease: Safety considerations + turning over the keys

Posted 2 weeks ago by

Are you still driving with Parkinson’s disease? Check out some safety considerations and pointers for determining if it’s time to turn over the keys. Plus, explore how others with PD have handled this tricky topic and see some alternate ways of getting around.

Considerations for driving with PD + 7 questions to ask yourself

“You will likely be able to drive safely and legally for several years, depending on your age and general physical condition,” according to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. “However, Parkinson’s disease eventually affects reaction time, ability to handle multiple tasks, vision and judgment.”

Everyone with PD is living with their own mix of motor and non-motor symptoms, rate of disease progression, and reaction to medication (such as levodopa “ons and offs”) — all of which can affect driving abilities.

There are currently no set guidelines for neurologists to determine someone’s fitness to drive, so doctors consider patients’ skills and symptoms on a case-by-case basis, according to ParkinsonsDisease.net. They recommend considering these questions to help determine if you’re still fit to drive:

  • How is my vision? Can I see well at night? Can I distinguish colors, such as in traffic lights?
  • Would I be putting my passenger (friend or loved one) at risk?
  • How fast is my reaction time? Could I safely avoid a surprise obstacle in the road?
  • Has anyone (friend or family member) commented negatively on my ability to drive?
  • Can I handle multiple activities at the same time (whether driving or not)?
  • Can I effectively and quickly turn the wheel or step on the brake with enough strength?
  • Do any of my medications cause side effects like sleepiness, dizziness, blurred vision, or confusion?

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety published this self-assessment quiz and booklet for the general population of drivers ages 65+, but your own evaluation of your driving (and even your doctor’s assessment) may not capture all the true risks.

Driving assessments

PatientsLikeMe members have talked about how you can get a driving assessment to help you independently determine your driving abilities (click here to learn more about different types of professional driving assessments; note: these assessments are not covered by Medicare or private health insurance and you should ask if the results may be shared with your state and affect the status of your driver’s license).

Older drivers can also attend a (confidential) CarFit event, where a team of trained technicians and/or health professionals work with you to ensure you “fit” your vehicle properly for maximum comfort and safety.

Your community’s experiences

Join PatientsLikeMe or log in to see what members have said about the challenges of giving up their keys — as well as the potential bright side, such as no longer having to stress about driving (and associated costs, like car payments, insurance and gas) and — more importantly — possibly hurting someone.

Karl Robb (our blog partner), who has young-onset PD, has written about how he realized he gave up driving at age 30 because of worsening dyskinesia. “Relinquishing the keys to your car is a selfless act of caring and compassion,” he says in a piece for the Parkinson’s Foundation. “It shows that you care about yourself and those who may be put in harm’s way.”

Getting around town

Thinking about giving up or reducing your driving? Look into public transportation or free/reduced-cost transportation services in your area, and ask friends and family for rides (it can help to plan ahead and have a set calendar or day of each week for running errands with them).

“Turns out it is a good time to be a non-driver,” notes one member. “Surely you have heard of LYFT and Uber? They offer inexpensive rides in many US cities. maybe your family could set you up with one.” (See the growing list of cities that Lyft and Uber serve, as well as ever-expanding delivery services, like Instacart for groceries and medications/pharmacy goods.)

Also, explore these other transportation resources:

Join PatientsLikeMe and this PD forum discussion to add your thoughts, questions or concerns about driving. The community is here for you!

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Parkinson’s disease and hyperhidrosis: Sweat struggles + solutions

Posted 2 months ago by

PatientsLikeMe members with Parkinson’s disease (PD) have talked a lot about excessive sweating (aka hyperhidrosis) and heat intolerance with Parkinson’s disease. It can be a “stinker,” as one blogger who has PD recently shared in Parkinson’s News Today.

Can you relate? Read on for more information and some possible adjustments or life hacks that others have tried.

One study found that over 60% of patients with PD experience sweating disturbances like hyperhidrosis (over-secretion of sweat) or hypohydrosis (under-secretion of sweat, which is less common).

The Parkinson’s Foundation and Parkinson’s Victoria cover these issues in their guides to skin, scalp and sweat changes related to PD. In addition to hyperhidrosis, many people with PD experience an extra-oily scalp (or other parts of the body), drenching night sweats and general difficulty with temperature control.

Some of these problems may stem from PD itself, which affects some of the body’s automatic functions, such as blood pressure and temperature regulation.

Research has shown that hyperhidrosis also seems to occur along with “off” times in levodopa treatment and with dyskinesia (jerky movements without tremors).

Possible solutions and hacks

Maria De Leon, M.D., a neurologist with young onset PD, writes on her blog that she understands firsthand the impact that sweating (and related body odor) issues can have on people’s lives. A few things you can try? Dr. De Leon suggests:

  • Talking with your doctor about possible levodopa treatment adjustments and even other treatments that may help, such as propranolol (see what PatientsLikeMe members with PD report about propranolol)
  • Taking lukewarm showers or baths
  • Wearing lightweight cotton clothes
  • Drinking extra fluids, especially water
  • Using antibacterial soap to help prevent body odor, and thorough towel drying before getting dressed
  • Trying clinical or “industrial” strength antiperspirant/deodorants. Dr. De Leon says these “work best if you apply at night before bed time not after showering or will wash off; it takes 6 to 8 hours for antiperspirants to enter sweat ducts and properly clog pores plus the body is cooler at night. But do reapply at least once during the day.”

Elsewhere online, people with hyperhidrosis recommend wearing solid dark colors or clothes with prints to help camouflage sweat marks, using underarm sweat pads, wearing leather shoes to help stave off odor, and bringing a small towel and a spare shirt just in case. A New York Magazine writer with hyperhidrosis (but not PD) rounded up his favorite products for over-perspiration.

Talk with your doctor about any skin- or sweat-related issues you’re experiencing. Dr. De Leon says that anxiety, thyroid problems or other health conditions can also cause or add to excessive sweating.

Join PatientsLikeMe to see what the community says about excessive sweating and heat intolerance with PD, or add a comment below based on your own experiences.

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