Parkinson’s disease is a central nervous system disorder with far-reaching effects on the daily lives of its sufferers. People with Parkinson’s often struggle with movement problems, including tremors, difficulty walking, limb stiffness, stooped posture, and a slow, shuffling gait. In addition to these common physical symptoms, Parkinson’s patients can experience sleep disturbances, depression, and dementia.
For people with Parkinson’s, good nutrition is key to maintaining quality of life and preserving independence. However, the physical symptoms of Parkinson’s can make it more difficult to shop and prepare meals. Additionally, psychiatric symptoms, like depression, can lead to a loss of appetite. Some medications used to treat Parkinson’s can have side effects, such as nausea, that also lead to a loss of appetite. Among people with Parkinson’s, skipping meals or simply “forgetting to eat,” is common. However, a balanced diet is essential, particularly when combating Parkinson’s symptoms: weight loss and malnutrition can lead to a weakened immune system, loss of bone mass, and muscle deterioration.
A balanced diet that includes plenty of protein, complex carbohydrates, calcium, healthy fats, and other essential nutrients is especially important for people living with Parkinson’s. Calcium-rich foods can combat bone thinning, while high-fiber foods and plenty of liquid can help to ease constipation. Enough protein is essential to maintain muscle mass, and healthy fats, such as those found in nuts, olive and vegetable oils, and avocados, can help to prevent weight loss and promote the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals. It can be beneficial for people with Parkinson’s to consult with a dietitian to make sure that their diet is adequate for their needs, and to help them make adjustments if necessary. As the disease progresses, diet may need to be adjusted to address new developments, such as difficulty swallowing, rapid weight loss, or increasing severity of side effects from medications.
Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care of Parkinson’s disease. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.