Slowing Parkinson’s Progression [parkinson’s disease physical exercise]

Important!
Please note that the effect of these interventions is still under research. Do NOT take any medication without a prescription of a registered doctor.
The medications we have for Parkinson’s disease are very effective in controlling the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. But wouldn’t it be great to have some intervention that would slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease?

The process of slowing down Parkinson’s disease by preventing further death of Dopamine-producing cells is called “Neuroprotection”. There are no approved medications for neuroprotection. However, there are many candidate drugs and many things you can try to slow down Parkinson’s disease.

1. Stay Active:

Multiple studies have demonstrated that moderate levels of physical activity reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease. The largest such study is a Swedish study that studied more than 43,000 patients over 12 years! (Yang 2015). Physical activity can improve many of the movement problems caused by Parkinson’s disease, especially balance (Dibble 2009). Also, physical activity can improve many other non-movement symptoms related to Parkinson’s disease, such as Thinking & Memory! (Tanaka 2008).

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Exercise slows down the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

Although only a few studies have been listed here for reference, the evidence in support of exercise having a beneficial effect is extremely robust. Many prominent publications have highlighted physical activity as being an essential component of treatment in early Parkinson’s disease (Ahlskog 2011). Consider reading this article by Dr. Ahlskog in detail: Click here: Vigorous physical exercise may be neuroprotective (Alshkog 2011)

Now that, hopefully, I have convinced you that physical exercise can benefit you tremendously, the next question is – what kind of exercise? I recommend that you exercise in two ways:

  1. Aerobic exercise – Walk for 30 minutes everyday. If possible, walk for 30-40 minutes every day and make it brisk. Vigorous exercise – or aerobic physical activity for 20-30 minutes that increases the heart rate and the need for oxygen – is thought to be more protective than light exercise.
    Therefore, brisk walking or a jog might be better than leisurely walking – Although both are infinitely more beneficial than doing nothing.

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    Brisk walking is better for your health than walking slowly.

     

  2. Balance training – This is best learnt from a Physical therapist. Patients with Parkinson’s disease are at high risk for falls. They can fall because their feet get “stuck” to the ground. Also, Parkinson’s disease patients can fall because the normal postural reflexes that prevent falling are impaired. Balance training is a set of exercises that can help you maintain a better balance.
    Screenshot 20200305 150737 01
    Yoga can improve your balance & prevent falls.

    I will post a small video on balance training soon, but until that time you can meet your neighborhood physiotherapist to learn these exercises or follow the exercises posted on Mayo clinic’s website (click here) You may want to explore Yoga or Tai-Chi, many of the Yoga exercises emphasize balance. Remember: Only do the exercises you feel safe doing.

Relevant studies:

  1. Physical exercise reduces risk of Parkinson’s disease (Yang 2015)
  2. Exercise improves balance in Parkinson’s disease patients (Dibble 2009).
  3. Exercise improves thinking in Parkinson’s disease patients (Tanaka 2008).
  4. Vigorous physical exercise may be neuroprotective (Alshkog 2011)
  5. Balance exercises : Mayo Clinic website.

2. Prevent Injuries:

This one should be obvious. All measures should be taken to prevent Parkinson’s disease patients from falling down and breaking bones.

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Using a cane can prevent falls.

When it is hot outside, you wear a cap. When the ground is rough, you wear shoes. So if you are unsteady, you should use a cane, preferably one with multiple legs (picture below). There is no shame in using a cane, it should be as natural as wearing a cap in the hot sun.

Physical exercise & balance training (see above) can help a lot in preventing falls.

Patients with Parkinson’s disease should have their Vitamin D levels monitored. If they are at high risk for falls, the doctor will do a Bone density or DEXA test – these topics are covered in another article.

 

Caution: This information is not a substitute for professional care. Do not change your medications/treatment without your doctor's permission.
Dr. Siddharth Kharkar

Dr. Siddharth Kharkar

Dr. Siddharth Kharkar has been recognized as one of the best neurologists in Mumbai by Outlook India magazine and India today Magazine. He is a board certified (American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology certified) Neurologist.

Dr. Siddharth Kharkar is a Epilepsy specialist in Mumbai & Parkinson's specialist in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

He has trained in the best institutions in India, US and UK including KEM hospital in Mumbai, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), USA & Kings College in London.

Call 022-4897-1800

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NeuroPlus Epilepsy & Parkinson's Clinic - Dr. Kharkar IconNeuroPlus Epilepsy & Parkinson's Clinic - Dr. Kharkar

near LIC, Dr Balabhai Nanavati hospital, near LIC, SV Road, LIC Colony, Vile Parle

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    Dr. Kharkar is truly exceptional. He is extremely knowledgeable. But simultaneously, he is extremely patient and kind - taking the time and care to respond … More to all the questions. It is rare to come across a doctor who is not in a hurry to get on to the next patient, but instead, focuses on the one in front with full attention, expertise and compassion. A great experience.
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    We visited Dr. Kharkhar for treatment regarding my mum - who is a multi-stroke patient and has aphasia. Certain medications were creating complications … More with her condition and Dr. Kharkhar was able to help mitigate the issue. We found him and his approach to be incredibly compassionate, considerate, individualized and patient-friendly. He advice is astute, up-to-date and empathetic. His treatment always comes from a deeply human place and is about seeing how to help the patient and their caregivers feel more at ease. Something that is quite rare and refreshing within the medical community.We feel that he genuinely cares about the patients that he is treating and is always kind and respectful in his communication. Moreover, his admin team is very efficient and prompt and it's a pleasure to deal with them.Would highly recommend Dr Kharkhar himself - though we must say our experience with Nanavati hospital itself has been less than ideal.Hope this helps.
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    Exceptional experience with an expert,Dr. Kharkar is a knowledge house. It is rare nowadays to find doctors with patience, knowledge, and a flair for … More handling patient’s questions, besides Dr. Kharkar’s bedside manners are exemplary. I am privileged to be treated by such an amazing soul. I have told him and will repeat it here that “I am advancing my move back to India although I am a US Citizen, because I know I am in good hands and will be well taken care of. Thanks Dr. Kharkar for your selfless service!
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    Great doctor!! Really appreciate.The doctor diagnosed to my sister correctly and start treatment, she has good improvement after taking medicine prescribed … More by doctor as no epilepsy attake. We have good experience with the doctor. Thank you
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    We have visited the hospital and meet the Dr. S. Kharkar. And my personal experience is very much better and exilent. My father is very well recover as … More we thought. Thanks to Nanavati Hospital and Dr. S. Kharkar.
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    My experience with Dr Siddharth Kharkar was really awesome. It’s always great to be in the presence of someone who is a renowned expert in his field & … More it brings peace of mind that the advice will obviously be the correct one. In addition, his ability to convey complex workings of the human brain in such simple terms that a layman like me could easily understand was something I really appreciated. I heartily Thank Dr Kharkar for his astute advice & gladly recommend him to anyone who needs a neurologist.
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    Best Dr. we have ever meet. Dr. Listened to us patiently and gave us the proper solution. No unnecessary test or didn’t frighten us. Thank you so much … More Dr.
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    Great doctor!! Really appreciate.The doctor diagnosed me correctly and start treatment that will help me a lots to improve my condition. The doctor is … More really good, calm and his nature is down to earth, gives confidence to patient!!! Thank you!!!
  • Avatar Bianca D'silva ★★★★★ 9 months ago
    We had been looking for a specialist in parkinsons for a while now, for my father and when we found Dr. Siddharth Kharka's details on Google, we were … More partly relieved. Partly because, we were all very anxious not knowing how would our visit turn out. I appreciate Dr. Kharkar and his team. He was very clear in his explanations, his knowledge about parkinsons. He took the time to answer the questions we had, went over the diagnosis and started necessary treatment immediately. The only drawback we experienced was the waiting time. Overall, we left the clinic satisfied, knowing much more than when we walked in. We would highly recommend him to anyone looking for a specialist.
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    I have visited the doctor clinic for the first timeBut he gave good advice and helped me overcomeMy doubts and queries. It was a good experience.I am very … More thankful for cooperation.
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    Hi Sharing my experience with Dr KharkarI had consulted with dr regarding my husband’sProblems of tremors. Dr immediately diagnosed on video consultation … More and could help him to control the tremors s of Parkinson’s disease.I found him genuinely polite and free to talk n patiently listening to the patients problem.Now my husband regained his balance n tremors controlled. Many many thanks to Dr Kharkar
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  1. “Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It will always be useful to read through content from other authors and practice a little something from their web sites.”

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India Today Magazine - 2021Noted as one of the Best Neurologists in Mumbai