Lifestyle Changes to Manage Parkinson Disease

Healthy habits may help manage symptoms of Parkinson disease. They may be most helpful in the early stages.

Get Enough Sleep

Try to sleep 8 hours each night. Taking 1 or 2 naps during the day may also help.

Eat a Healthful Diet

Follow a healthful diet and drink plenty of fluids. It can increase energy and manage some symptoms. The diet should be low in bad fats. It should be rich in whole grains, fresh fruits, and veggies. A dietitian can help with meal planning. Take steps to stay at a healthy weight. Losing too much weight can worsen problems.

Exercise Regularly

Exercising at least 150 minutes a week may help boost mental and physical health. It may also help manage symptoms, such as problems with walking and balance. Tai Chi is a good option. It is a type of martial art that may help improve balance in people with Parkinson disease.

Adapt the Home for Safety

Changes will need to be made to keep the home safe for a person with Parkinson disease. These may be steps like installing grab rails, removing throw rugs, and using proper lighting.

References:

Afshari M, Yang A, et al. Motivators and barriers to exercise in Parkinson’s disease. J Parkinsons Dis. 2017;7(4):703-711.
Bega D, Palmentera P, et al. Laughter is the best medicine: The Second City improvisation as an intervention for Parkinson's disease. Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2017;34:62-65.
Homayoun H. Parkinson Disease. Ann Intern Med. 2018 Sep 4;169(5):ITC33-ITC48.
LaHue SC, Comella CL, Tanner CM. The best medicine? The influence of physical activity and inactivity on Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord. 2016;31(10):1444-1454.
Michels K, Dubaz O, et al. “Dance therapy” as a psychotherapeutic movement intervention in Parkinson’s disease. Complement Ther Med. 2018;40:248-252.
Parkinson disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/parkinson-disease. Updated October 4, 2019. Accessed February 24, 2020.
Parkinson disease. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at:
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Parkinson's disease. American Association of Neurological Surgeons website. Available at:
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Accessed February 24, 2020.
Parkinson's disease information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Parkinsons-Disease-Information-Page. Updated August 28, 2019. Accessed February 24, 2020.
Last reviewed November 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 1/27/2021

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