Lifestyle Changes to Manage Parkinson Disease
for Managing Parkinson’s Disease
Living a healthful lifestyle is thought to help control symptoms of
Parkinson disease. Lifestyle changes seem to be particularly helpful in the early stages of Parkinson disease and may help you delay the start of medications.
Get Adequate Rest
Try to sleep approximately 8 hours per night. Consider taking 1-2 naps during the day to stay refreshed. Consult your doctor if symptoms, such as
restless leg syndrome
, rapid eye movement (REM)-behavior disorder, tremor, or difficulty turning in bed at night, are interfering with your ability to sleep.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Consider consulting a dietitian to learn about a
. Eating well can give you more energy and help you manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Later in the disease, changes may have to be made to your diet because of swallowing difficulties. This may include a diet of soft or chopped foods, or thickened liquids. It is important to keep an eye on your weight, especially weight loss. Malnutrition can worsen the symptoms of Parkinson disease.
- Increasing strength
- Improving stamina
- Optimizing coordination
- Decreasing rigidity
- Improving flexibility
- Delaying progression of disease
Your doctor can recommend a physical therapist for you to work with. You may also want to try
, a type of martial art that is used to promote health. This form of exercise has shown benefits in improving balance in those with Parkinson disease.
Your doctor can give you information about fall prevention if balance and coordination are a problem. If needed, you can also use a cane or walker for further support.
Participate in a Speech Therapy Program
Speech therapy can be useful in some people who have verbal communication impairment. Impairment may include an inability to speak loud enough.
Manage Your Stress
Stress is known to worsen the symptoms of Parkinson disease. Learning
can help control your symptoms.
Facing a chronic, progressive disease is very stressful for everyone involved. Depression
is extremely common in people with Parkinson disease. Talk to your doctor about support groups in your area. It can be extremely valuable to share your challenges and triumphs with others who are also coping with the condition.
If you experience depressive symptoms that last 2 weeks or longer, contact your doctor. Depression is treatable.
Modify the Home to Enhance Safety and Access
Many individuals require access to safety equipment that can assist in improving quality of life. Occupational and physical therapists can assist in determining when equipment such as tub rails, raised toilet seats or other home modifications may be useful.
Alonso-Frech F, Sanahuja JJ, Rodriguez AM. Exercise and physical therapy in early management of Parkinson disease. Neurologist. 2011;17(6 Suppl 1):S47-53.
LaHue SC, Comella CL, Tanner CM. The best medicine? The influence of physical activity and inactivity on Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord. 2016;31(10):1444-1454.
Managing your PD. Parkinson’s Disease Foundation
website. Available at:
Accessed November 29, 2016.
Parkinson disease. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115172/Parkinson-disease. Updated November 14, 2016. Accessed November 29, 2016.
Parkinson disease. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/movement-and-cerebellar-disorders/parkinson-disease. Updated September 2015. Accessed November 29, 2016.
Parkinson's disease. American Association of Neurological Surgeons
website. Available at:
http://www.aans.org/en/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Parkinsons%20Disease.aspx. Accessed November 29, 2016.
2/17/2012 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115172/Parkinson-disease: Li F, Harmer P, Fitzgerald K, et al. Tai chi and postural stability in patients with Parkinsons disease. N Engl J Med. 2012;366(6):511-519.