Posted on 18/04/2016

Living with Parkinson's Disease

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Living with Parkinson's Disease

Every hour, someone in the UK is told they have Parkinson's Disease - a brain condition that turns lives upside down, leaving a future full of uncertainty.

This week, people across the UK will be hosting events and taking part in a variety of activities to raise awareness of how Parkinson’s changes lives, whilst also raising funds to support people affected by the disease.

Being diagnosed can be a frightening and isolating experience, which is why we’ve put together this short, simple guide to explain Parkinson’s and offer advice on how to best continue living independently with the condition.

What exactly is Parkinson’s Disease?

There are structures in the middle of the brain which are involved in co-ordinating purposeful movements of the body. These movements are possible due to communications between the brain cells, involving chemicals known as neurotransmitters. With Parkinson’s, the ability of these brain cells to use neurotransmitters is affected, meaning they are less able to function and communicate effectively.

Spotting the symptoms of Parkinson’s

Tremors are a typical symptom of Parkinson’s, particularly those affecting the hands, as is rigidity of muscles – commonly causing stiffness of movement and difficulty standing up or turning over in bed. Other signs include difficulty in starting a movement or suddenly stopping when walking. If you have any signs or symptoms you are concerned about, you should consult your GP as soon as possible. There is no specific diagnostic test for Parkinson’s such as a scan or blood test; instead, a neurologist (specialist of diseases affecting the brain) would make the diagnosis after a careful evaluation.

What to expect after diagnosis

There is currently no cure for Parkinson's, but treatments are available to help relieve the symptoms and maintain your quality of life. After diagnosis you may find that your symptoms initially improve after you have suitable treatment and support. The right medication can help manage Parkinson’s and it’s also important to stay active, with advice from a physiotherapist. Parkinson’s Disease is unique, and affects individuals in different ways – this is one reason why living with Parkinson’s can be challenging.

Improving your quality of life

A Parkinson’s specialist nurse can really help as they have best practice knowledge of managing this condition. Additionally they can offer support regarding medication, so you can maintain your independence and mobility, and are also great at supporting your emotional needs.

Parkinson’s UK are also a valuable resource. As a voluntary organisation, they offer advice and information about all aspects of living with Parkinson’s, and also provide support to family carers.

When it comes to independence enhancing equipment, there are a number of items which can make daily activities easier. If you have difficulties with eating and drinking, due to stiffness or tremors in your hand, try an Easi 2 Drink mug or a set of Kura Care Cutlery. The Easi 2 Drink mug has a specially designed insert which reduces spillages due to tremors whilst the contoured handles of the Kura Care Cutlery set make the utensils easier to grip for those with stiffness in their fingers.

Other useful equipment

  • A Pill Popper is a simple aid that can help you get medication out of blister packs.
  • A Week Day tablet Wallet will help you organise and manage your medication correctly.
  • The Geemarc 100 Photophone Big Button Phone has larger buttons for easy dialling – helping those with a lack of fine motor control.
  • The 2 in 1 Bed rail could help ease rigidity by helping you to reposition and rise from your bed.
  • A common difficulty with Parkinson’s is getting up from a sitting position. Our Free Product Advice line can help you buy the right raiser to fit your chair or sofa.

NRS Healthcare is a British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) member, and has recently been selected to join the Google Certified Shops program due to our track record of on-time shipping and excellent customer service, so you can be confident of buying from a trustworthy retailer. We also offer free delivery on orders over £40, excluding VAT.

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