Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurological condition known to cause stiff muscles, tremor and other muscle and movement problems. This disease is a chronic problem which progresses over time, causing more and more health issues.
There are over 50.000 new cases of PD reported every year and about one million of people already diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, just in the United States. Some facts suggest that PD may be inherited, but this is not yet scientifically confirmed. Many of Parkinson’s disease patients are people over 60 years of age, but this problem is known to appear even among much younger individuals (40 years of age). Elderly men, over 60 years of age, are found to be exposed to greater risk of developing this problem than women of the same age.
Parkinson’s Disease Info
PD affects neurons located in the substantia nigra, those producing dopamine. This disease causes death of these neurons, leading to lack of dopamine in the brain (especially in the basal ganglia of the brain) and negatively affects coordination of muscle movements. Too little dopamine provokes loss of control over movements and patients begin to experience tremor (uncontrollable shaking) in different parts of the body and rigidity of muscles.
Their posture and walking pattern change significantly because of the disease and they start to slow down when moving and experience loss of spontaneous activities. Many of Parkinson’s disease patients suffer from loss of balance and start to fall more frequently. PD is also associated with various changes in handwriting and speech.Is Physical Activity Good for Parkinson’s Disease Patients?
PD affects muscles and movement and any exercise can be beneficial. Keeping muscles strong and healthy will have positive impact on mobility and flexibility of such patients. Physical activity cannot stop the disease but can help people to improve their balance, strengthen their muscles and prevent joint stiffness. Emotional and psychological benefits are also significant, since exercise makes these patients feel better about themselves, because they feel they have achieved something.
Consult your doctor and seek for advice about type of exercise, duration, physical limitations or some professional therapists you might work with.
Therapists suggest activities and hobbies patient may enjoy doing. This could be some gardening, walking or swimming, if the person loves that. Water exercises like aqua aerobics require less balance and do not burden joints so much. Other activities that might be of interest for someone suffering from Parkinson’s disease include tai chi and yoga exercises.