Parkinson’s is a movement disorder that impacts the entire nervous system, and tens of thousands of people are diagnosed with this disease every year. Doctors still have quite a bit to learn about what causes Parkinson’s, but neurological specialists from around the world have been able to identify a few of the most common risk factors. Here’s a quick look at five risk factors that have been linked to Parkinson’s and a few tips seniors can use to reduce their risk of developing this movement disorder.
Even though Parkinson’s treatments are more effective than ever, this condition must be caught in its earliest stages to delay some of the worst symptoms. If your aging loved one has a family history of Parkinson’s, keep an eye out for the early warning signs of this disease, including tremors, a loss of smell, small handwriting, muscle cramps, and difficulty sleeping.
Early diagnosis is critical because Parkinson’s disease can be particularly challenging in its final stages, and family caregivers can easily get overwhelmed. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Green Valley Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
2. Environmental Triggers
Multiple studies have revealed that seniors with Parkinson’s tend to have high levels of environmental toxins in the brain. When those toxins attack brain cells, it can greatly increase the risk of developing this disorder. One of the best ways to limit exposure to environmental toxins is to eat organic foods from local sources. Seniors should also have their homes tested for common toxins such as asbestos and lead.
3. Sedentary Lifestyle
A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of several health complications, including Parkinson’s disease. When exercising, the body produces an abundance of dopamine, and studies have shown that low dopamine levels are tied to this disorder. Seniors should try to be physically active for at least 15 or 20 minutes a day if they want to reduce their risk of Parkinson’s and other progressive disorders. Dancing, going on walks, gardening, doing household chores, and riding a stationary bicycle are all great options for older adults.
Seniors in the later stages of Parkinson’s can live at home, but they may need assistance from a family member or other caregiver to do so safely. For many seniors in Green Valley, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.
4. High Stress Levels
When stressed, the body produces a chemical known as cortisol, which is useful in small doses, but it can damage various organs when the body overproduces it. Chronic stress has been linked to many different neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, and Alzheimer’s. To combat stress, seniors should try options such as meditating, guided breathing exercises, socializing with loved ones, and exercising.
5. Cardiovascular Conditions
Boosting cardiovascular health is another simple tactic that can greatly reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. In addition to exercising a few times a week, older adults need to stick to a diet that promotes a healthy heart. As a general rule, seniors should eat plenty of fresh produce that contains a wide variety of nutrients. They also need to limit their intake of saturated fat, processed sweeteners, and anything else that’s bad for the heart and arteries.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he or she may get a great deal of benefit from having a professional caregiver help with everyday tasks. Families looking for top-rated home care service providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones. Call us today at 520-625-2050 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.