The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Food & Health

August 28, 2013

Exercise for Parkinson's

DEAR DR. ROACH: Please discuss the benefit of exercise for treatment of Parkinson’s disease. I am a 78-year-old woman who was diagnosed with PD in March and given a prescription for carbidopa/levodopa. A second opinion in June confirmed the diagnosis, but I am reluctant to start taking the meds. I work out on a recumbent cross-training stair climber for 50 minutes, plus other machines, three days a week. I do aqua aerobics on alternate days. Is this voluntary exercise beneficial as a treatment for PD?

I have a limited hand tremor and an occasional buzzing sensation in my torso, which feels like a tuning fork. There is no rigidity or fixed stare. My handwriting is normal. I am perplexed by the lack of symptoms while at rest — or is the worst yet to come? — D.D.

ANSWER: Parkinson’s disease is a disease of motor and other brain function that is progressive. Generalized slowness of movement happens in almost all people. While tremor, rigidity and balance troubles are common, they are not universal.

The progression of Parkinson’s disease is highly variable among those affected. In general, people diagnosed at a younger age may have a more rapidly progressive course. Some people have no significant disability for many years after diagnosis.

As far as exercise goes, any exercise that promotes good balance, flexibility and strength is helpful. Aqua aerobics are particularly recommended. Since you are doing well with your Parkinson’s so far and are getting very good amounts and types of exercise on your own, I don’t see a need for you to do additional exercises with a physical therapist. (As a general rule, I am a big believer in physical exercise, especially when supervised by a therapist, for many conditions, including Parkinson’s). One good study showed tai chi to be especially helpful for balance in Parkinson’s patients.

Text Only
Food & Health
  • USDA orders farms to report pig virus infections MILWAUKEE -- Farms stricken with a deadly pig virus must report outbreaks as part of a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of the disease, the federal government announced Friday. Porcine epidemic diarrhea has killed millions

    April 19, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • Study: Diabetic heart attacks and strokes falling

    In the midst of the diabetes epidemic, a glimmer of good news: Heart attacks, strokes and other complications from the disease are plummeting.

    Over the last two decades, the rates of heart attacks and strokes among diabetics fell by more than 60 percent, a new federal study shows. The research also confirms earlier reports of drastic declines in diabetes-related kidney failure and amputations.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • 4-15-14 Asparagus photo Make asparagus the center of your plate Asparagus has been a delicious symbol of spring since at least as far back as the Greeks, who called it asparagos -- literally, "to spring up." But however it is spelled, it makes me happy. Most grocers sell asparagus in a range of sizes, from thin a

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Floating stools not alarming DEAR DR. ROACH: I have read that whether stools float or sink could be an indication of one's health, even to the point of being an early sign of pancreatic cancer. Isn't it just about density and gas -- that is, doesn't most food we eat float in wat

    April 15, 2014


Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.