It is natural when you or someone you love has a diagnosis of a chronic condition such as Parkinson’s disease to put all of your focus on that one element of your health. But the truth is that it is only a part of the health picture which can affect or be affected by other elements of your overall wellbeing.
Make sure to schedule and keep regular appointments with the rest of your care team. Your Primary Care Physician will check your general health issues, including among other things, your blood pressure and cholesterol, and, when necessary, refer you to other specialists. Your dentist will keep an eye on your teeth and your gums; problems here can affect your circulation and other elements of your health. Your cardiologist will make sure your heart is functioning properly and responding well to your exercise program. These are just a couple of examples among the many appointments you should conitinue to keep on a regular basis.
It is also important not to neglect mental health. Depression and anxiety, both common symptoms of Parkinson’s, can be treated through clinical interventions which may or may not include medical therapies. Good mental health can allow you to get outside and find activities you enjoy, improving how you feel overall.
Exercise is so important for overall health. We’ve talked before about the benefits of exercise on Parkinson’s, including making muscles more receptive to movement. Exercise can improve cardiovascular health, allowing both the heart and lungs to work closer to capacity. Mood can often be improved with exercise as well.
Don’t neglect your overall health to focus on just one aspect. While Parkinson’s may be with you throughout the remainder of your lifetime, so will your heart, lungs, arteries, eyes, mouth, gums, etc. Take care of the whole person.