Taking Control Of Your Health

Start Taking Control of Your Health

Many people with Parkinson’s see a neurologist just a few times a year. While those visits may be supplemented with other provider appointments, PDers have lots of time to take control of their health.

Be Brave“We are convinced that the one with the biggest interest in ones health, as well as the opportunity to do something about it, is oneself,” a young woman writes. “I want to work together with the healthcare system to achieve the best health I possibly can. After all, my health is my responsibility.

This young woman started experiencing Parkinson’s disease symptoms when she was just 13, and was diagnosed in her early thirties. Her op-ed in The Guardian explains how living with symptoms for so long has helped her hone a set of valuable self-care skills:

“I visit my neurologist two times a year, for about 30 minutes. The rest of the year’s 8,765 hours, I spend in taking care of myself the best way I can.”

She uses an activity tracker to measure the number of steps she takes each day, how much sleep she gets and the quality of her sleep. She says her “strongest weapon against Parkinson’s disease is self observation,” and has used that motto in professional research as well. As a doctoral student in health informatics at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, she works with other people with Parkinson’s disease to develop tools and technology to help everyone with the disease manage symptoms better.

She’s also involved with patient advocacy groups that work to empower patients.

The PD Magic Bullet Is In Us

Taking Control of Your Life

Silver Linings

“OK, so I have a new strategy.
Truthfully, it is not a new one. For those of you who know me, you know I’ve been trying to fix myself for the past 2 1/2 years. I was looking for the magic bullet to stop my PD which has progressed more than I’d like to admit since its inception 14 years ago. However, I have come to find out the magic PD bullet does not exist.

But rather the bullet is a combination of numerous things, including diet and exercise along with medication schedule that helps the most. Moreover, the trick is we are all different; what works for one may not work for someone else.

In short, we have to figure out what works best for us…we have to become the magic bullet.

Yesterday I started a gluten-free diet and added more fruits and vegetables. I also increased my water intake. So far I’m feeling great on day two.

I’m going to keep a chronicle of this adventure on my YouTube channel. Check it out.

I urge you to make small changes today. Start exercising, stop drinking soda, particularly diet soda, eat fruit, vegetables…small changes can make big differences. Believe me, you’ll feel better.”

Is Coffee the New Miracle Drug?

Studies show coffee may decrease the risk for liver, colon, prostate, ovarian and oral cancers, basal cell carcinoma, stroke and heart disease. It may also prevent Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Type 2 diabetes.

Interestingly, caffeine and smoking both are reported to help PDers? Maybe smokers die before they have a chance to catch PD, hence the low prevalence of PD among smokers. Chemicals in cigarettes seem to have a neural therapeutic effect related to PD, but little research has been done to answer what and why.

Seems such an odd counterintuitive connection…smoking and PD…in an earlier post I display an old advertisement (1950’s ?) that says…”More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.” Maybe these doctors knew something, maybe they were worried about contracting PD. They preferred to die prematurely from smoking.

I doubt we can find a neurologist who would recommend taking up smoking for his/her patients that are at a risk for PD.

“Think I’ll just have a cup of joe.”

Gout and PD

I know I shouldn’t make light of a serious condition like PD, but I can’t resist.

Evidence shows that eating the most unhealthy food you can imagine, think the diet of kings in 17th century England, so you contract gout, will help reduce risk of PD. Observational studies showed people with higher levels of urate had lower risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and, if diagnosed with PD, slower disease progression.

Gout is a form of arthritis in which excessive amounts of uric acid build up, creating sharp urate crystals in the joints or surrounding tissue. The crystals cause episodes of sharp pain which gradually subside into long-lasting discomfort. Gout often has been associated with royalty of European countries, probably from diets rich in meat, fats, sugar, and few vegetables.

Allopurinal is a med used to treat people with gout, kidney stones, or certain cancers, including leukemia.  I was given Allopurinal during my infusion therapy 2011, 2012.

Mass General and Rhode Island hospitals are currently doing studies using Inosine to ward off symptoms and perhaps stop the progression of PD.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation awarded $5.6M in 2008 to Michael Schwarzschild, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital for a Phase II trial of inosine, a precursor to urate antioxidant.

An Odd Conclusion

In sum, a run through this statement and an earlier post shows incidence (new cases of PD) are directly related to:

  1. living on a working farm or carrying bags of fertilizer for job
  2. inheriting genes that are PD precursors
  3. an immune system weakened by  stress, anxiety, not being fit, and
  4. being diagnosed with PD by a neurologist

and indirectly related to:

  1. smoking
  2. drinking lots of coffee
  3. eating a poor diet (gout)
  4. having “clean” genes
  5. avoiding health care providers (early death)