Parkinson’s Disease – Support for You

Posted on

Dec 07, 2017

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A diagnosis of Parkinsons is a life-changing moment. However, with advances in treatment and the right support there is much an individual with Parkinsons disease can do to live every day to the fullest.
The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) is the countrys largest grassroots organization serving those touched by Parkinsons disease. What makes APDA unique is that we are in cities, towns, and communities across the U.S. Throughout our nationwide network of Chapters and Information & Referral Centers, Centers for Advanced Research, Specialized programs in Young Onset, Veterans and Rehabilitation Resources, and countless support groups, we are able to quickly reach people and connect them to resources that will provide the best outcomes as they navigate Parkinsons disease.
Parkinsons disease is a progressive neurological movement disorder. Over one million people live with Parkinsons and there are 60,000 new cases each year in the U.S. alone. It can begin with a tremor, difficulty writing, stooped posture, stiff muscles, or slightly slurred speech; symptoms are different for every person.
APDAs mission is to provide information, education, and support to all impacted by the disease and to fund scientific research into the causes, prevention, treatments and ultimately the cure. We take pride in the fact that we are in your community and many others across the country serving people with Parkinsons disease to provide support from the day of diagnosis throughout the Parkinson journey. We have also been a funding partner in most major Parkinsons disease discoveries and we will continue to fund research initiatives that can stop the devastation of living with this disabling disease.

APDA is here to help with:
Health and wellness initiatives delivering programs to help people maintain independence and optimism starting at diagnosis
Education and support programs connecting people with Parkinsons in local communities
Expedited and innovative research to develop promising clinical approaches and better outcomes and funding the next generation of scientists dedicated to finding new treatments and a cure.
To learn more call the American Parkinson Disease Association at 800-223-2732 or visit our website at
For information about Massachusetts programs, call 800-651-8466 or visit the APDA MA website at
This article was submitted by Stephanie Paul, Vice President,

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Parkinsons Disease Early DetectionApril is Parkinsons Awareness Month. Parkinsons disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, after Alzheimers. Most people will develop symptoms of Parkinsons disease around age 60. At Healthcare Network, within our senior primary care services, we watch for signs and symptoms of Parkinsons disease as well as all potential illnesses that impact seniors.Early detection of Parkinsons disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects more than 1 million Americans, is important to slowing disease progression. But many other illnesses share similar symptoms with Parkinsons disease, including slowness, stiffness, tremors and imbalance. Age can make people more prone to falls and certain diseases, even without Parkinsons disease.Sometimes, people dismiss early symptoms of Parkinsons as the effects of normal aging. Therefore, it is especially important for seniors to establish a relationship and health history with a primary care team who can detect potential health problems early before they become severe. About 85% of older adults have at least one chronic health condition. Sixty percent have at least two chronic conditions.Importance of a Primary Care Physician in Treating Parkinsons DiseaseSeveral healthcare professionals are needed to effectively manage Parkinsons disease and its impacts on quality of life, according to For example, primary care providers focus on immediate and overall health needs while helping patients manage symptoms of the disease. Primary care providers often also coordinate care with other health professionals including neurologists and movement disorder specialists who assess disease progression and prescribe medications.Overall, primary care physicians (PCPs) play a key role in senior care because they know the patients history and background. The PCP is often the first point of contact for the patients and provides comprehensive care for chronic, preventive and acute conditions, according to addition, recent surveys have shown that strong patient-physician relationships result in healthier outcomes. Your PCP can connect the dots, spending less time on your past and more time on the future.Research has shown that people who live in states that have more primary care physicians have better health outcomes. This includes fewer deaths from cancer, heart disease or stroke. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, respondents with primary care received more high-value care compared with those without primary care. Enhanced treatment included filling prescriptions, routine preventive visits and screenings.According to Harvard Health, PCPs work in teams that keep the patient as the center of all diagnostic and treatment activities. The explosion of medical knowledge and treatment alternatives makes it important to have a primary care provider to interpret and advise on the best course of action.Senior Care Helps to Manage Multiple ConditionsParkinsons disease occurs when nerve cells around the brain that controls movement become impaired and/or die. As the disease progresses and changes, so do care needs. Establishing care with a PCP provides continuity and consistency in care that can help Parkinsons patients avoid using costly urgent care or emergency rooms for acute needs.In addition, many people with Parkinsons disease experience mood disorders because of their condition. Our integrated mental and behavioral health model, where medical and mental health professionals work side-by-side, allows these concerns to be addressed seamlessly during primary care visits.Another advantage of having a dedicated PCP when dealing with Parkinsons is they can watch for the impact of medication changes, infections, dehydration, sleep deprivation, stress and other medical conditions that can worsen Parkinsons disease symptoms. A PCP can consider other conditions and medications and adjust with the patients overall health in mind.People with Parkinsons can expect to live almost as long as those who do not have the disorder. Medications, as well as physical and occupational therapy, can improve a persons quality of life. Early detection and coordinated care are key to reducing complications. By being aware of the common chronic conditions associated with aging, your PCP can take steps to practice smart preventative care, manage complex chronic conditions like Parkinsons and improve health outcomes.Make an AppointmentTo make an appointment at one of our many locations with a care provider, call 239-658-3000. Already a patient of Healthcare Network? Visit our secure Patient Portal to access medical information, request appointments, and manage prescriptions 24/7. Learn more.About AuthorDr. Reiner Ramirez is a Healthcare Network family care provider who focuses on specific health concerns faced by seniors. Healthcare Network provides integrated health where medical and mental health professionals work side-by-side to address patients physical, mental and emotional health.

Parkinsons Boxing Classes

Non-contact boxing inspired classes can delay, reduce, and even reverse the symptoms of Parkinsons Disease.We are learning every day that there are ways in which people with Parkinsons disease can enhance their quality of life and even build strength, flexibility and speed! By exercising with coaches who know the ropes, you can fight your way out of the corner and start to feel and function better.These classes have proven that anyone, at any level of Parkinsons, can actually lessen their symptoms and lead a healthier and happier life.Why Boxing for Parkinsons?Various studies in the 1980s and 1990s supported the notion that rigorous exercise, emphasizing gross motor movement, balance, core strength, and rhythm, could favorably impact range of motion, flexibility, posture, gait, and activities of daily living. More recent studies, most notably at Cleveland Clinic, focus on the concept of intense forced exercise, and have begun to suggest that certain kinds of exercise may be neuro-protective, i.e., actually slowing disease progression. Discovery of a cure may be many years away but there is evidence that progress is made in all stages of the disease by those participating in the Rock Steady Boxing program.The Parkinsons ChallengeParkinsons disease is a degenerative movement disorder which can cause deterioration of motor skills, balance, speech and sensory function. Rock Steady Boxing is the first program in the country dedicated to the fight against Parkinsons. In our program, exercises are largely adapted from boxing drills. Boxers condition for optimal agility, speed, muscular endurance, accuracy, hand-eye coordination, footwork and overall strength to defend against and overcome opponents. At Rock Steady Boxing, Parkinsons disease is the opponent. Exercises vary in purpose and form but share one common trait: they are rigorous and intended to extend the perceived capabilities of the participant.Types of Rock Steady Boxing ClassesTraining classes include an exercise program that attacks Parkinsons at its vulnerable neurological points. While focusing on overall fitness, workouts include: focus mitts, heavy bags, speed bags, double-ended bags, water bags, core work, cognitive activities, voice activation and circuit weight training. No boxing experience is necessary and people of all ages are invited to participate. There are four levels of classes offered, depending on the participants level or Parkinsons and overall fitness. All classes at Rock Steady Boxing SRQ are mixed-level at this time.Medical Evidence Supporting Rock Steady BoxingThe value of exercise has been corroborated in several studies, including some at Lakehead University in Ontario and University of Utah in Salt Lake City. According to a Cleveland Clinic study, aerobic fitness can be improved in Parkinsons patients following forced and/or voluntary exercise. Studies are showing that exercise induces brain repair and accompanying behavioral recovery. Some suggest that continuous, intensive training may confer neuro-protection, and subsequently, slow, stop or reverse the progression of Parkinsons or promote neuro-restoration. (References to any studies are for informational purposes only and do not imply endorsement of Rock Steady Boxing by the researchers.)Because of the promising results seen through Rock Steady Boxing, the organization was selected to be a part of research to document the impact of boxing and rigorous exercise on the progression of Parkinsons. Rock Steady Boxing has also drawn the attention of university researchers who are in the process of quantifying and evaluating the results in people who have continued with Rock Steady Boxing.Can Anyone with Parkinsons Participate?Nearly everyone with Parkinsons disease can participate and receive benefit from Rock Steady Boxing. An intake evaluation process is conducted prior to the first class to determine the boxers ability and evaluate balance risks. Some participants will require a caregiver partner to assist in class. Individuals of all ages are benefiting from the Rock Steady Boxing program.We strongly encourage you to discuss Rock Steady Boxing participation with your physician prior to your first workout.Rock Steady SRQ Class FormatOur typical class has the following format:Warm-up including voice activation. We warm up our bodies and voices together.Glove up while coach Leslie goes through the boxing combos for the day.Go to bags and start punching. 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Refusing to let his friend go down without a fight, Vince turned to his experience as a Golden Gloves boxer to design a program that attacks Parkinsons at its vulnerable neurological points. His intuitive insight is now proven to have merit through an increasing body of medical research. Realizing that their experience might be replicated for others, Scott and Vince founded Rock Steady Boxing as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. As word of this unique program spread and the demand for the classes increased, Rock Steady Boxing created classes to meet the fitness levels at all stages of Parkinsons from the newly diagnosed to those who had been living with it for decades plus.

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