Maintaining Optimum Wellness
If you have recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, it is important to recognize that the condition is one that demands adaptation, not despair. Learning to pace yourself, prioritize goals, and make timely use of physical, occupational and speech therapies will enhance your physical, intellectual, and emotional well-being, and can make all the difference in how you enjoy life and maintain your independence.
Numerous strategies beyond the use of antiparkinson medications can help you achieve and maintain optimal health status. These include such interventions as establishing an exercise program, learning the most efficient methods to perform routine activities of daily living, and improving nutritional status.
It is important to seek out physicians and other healthcare providers for your "advisory team" who are both competent and compassionate. Consider choosing a minimum of two physicians: a neurologist who can advise you regarding adjustments in the antiparkinson medications, and an internist or family physician who is aware of how Parkinson's disease affects your overall health and can manage health problems outside the Parkinson's arena. Primary care providers may also include physician assistants and advanced practice nurses. It is important that the providers in neurology and primary care collaborate to share information about your health status to ensure the best care possible.
It is a good idea to maintain a personal health file at home, including dates of any major diagnoses, pertinent test reports, immunization records, dates of any serious illnesses or surgeries, allergies to medication, and a list of current medications, including non-prescription drugs and supplements.
Maintaining a positive attitude is one of the healthiest things you can do in response to a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. At first, it is admittedly hard to have confidence that the disease is not a sentence to decline and disability. But given time, people with good self-esteem and an optimistic attitude develop a healthy determination to cope with the illness and sustain the energy, activities, and relationships that give life meaning and joy.