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Parkinson's awareness month - April 2024


Parkinson Disease Overview

Parkinson Disease (PD) is a progressive disorder of the brain, occurring when there isn’t enough of a body chemical, ‘dopamine’, being produced in the brain. This lack of dopamine can cause a range of different problems within the body, meaning that Parkinson’s can present in many different ways from person to person. Overall, it has a great impact on the individual’s ability to complete activities of daily living (ADLs) and quality of life.

 

The symptoms of PD can be categorised into two groups.

Motor/Physical symptoms

Non-Motor symptoms

Slow movement

Cognitive impairment

Tremor

Memory issues

Involuntary movement

Mental health disorders

Rigidity

Sleep disorders

Trouble walking

Sensory disturbances

Imbalance




PD and Exercise

Over the last few years, there has been an abundance of research focused on how exercise can assist in the management of PD. The results of these studies have concluded that physical activity can have positive impacts on both the motor and non-motor symptoms, improving an individual’s overall quality of life. Additionally, exercise modulates a range of supporting systems for brain maintenance and plasticity, which can assist in slowing the progression of the disease and forming new neural pathways.

 

Developing a regular exercise routine also has general benefits in reducing risk of other health complications, including diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular/heart problems, falls prevention by assisting in balance, and improving overall strength and mobility.



Now, where to get started! What exercise should you be doing?

Well, the good news is, as long as the exercise is specific to you: your symptoms, needs and goals – it is beneficial! Whether it is going for a walk, attending a dance class, doing strength training, or yoga, exercise has the potential to assist in managing your Parkinson’s, and has been increasingly considered as a complementary strategy to PD medications.


The key factor before starting any exercise regime is getting it tailored to your individual needs by a qualified health professional, and that is where we come in 😊. Together, we can develop a plan that is based around managing your Parkinson’s in a safe and effective way and work towards your individual goals.





References


Ernst, M., Folkerts, A. K., Gollan, R., Lieker, E., Caro-Valenzuela, J., Adams, A., Cryns, N., Monsef, I., Dresen, A., Roheger, M., Eggers, C., Skoetz, N., & Kalbe, E. (2023). Physical exercise for people with Parkinson's disease: a systematic review and network meta-analysis. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 1(1), CD013856. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD013856.pub2


Health Direct. (2023). Parkinson's disease https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/parkinsons-disease 


World Health Organisation. (2023). Parkinson disease.

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/parkinson-disease#:~:text=Overview,muscle%20contractions%20and%20difficulty%20speaking.


Xu, X., Fu, Z., & Le, W. (2019). Exercise and Parkinson's disease. International review of neurobiology, 147, 45–74. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.irn.2019.06.003



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