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BillB70

Drugs or Diet and exercise

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I just wanted to get the opinion from the people who are living with using the drugs that get prescribed. My Father had Alzheimer and Parkinson. Which I think was more Parkinson's on what I saw. but I have been dealing with different symptoms for year. These keep getting a little worse but the Doctors will do blood test MRI and 10 min exam like to say you are healthy it is in your mind. My friends who know my exercise and diet routines that I do just to keep moving and active say I am probably masking too many things for them to get a good diagnosis. So as I feel things getting worse and have seen the things like the lose of smell and other things happening also do I really want to try to press the doctors to try to diagnose me and possibly be put on the drugs or should I keep on the diet and exercise side and not have the harmful side effects of the drugs. At first I was wanting the drugs thinking they would be a great help but now after reading many of the side effects and other things they cause am I gaining any more from them? The side effects that are scaring me more into looking into this is the loss of Memory along with other things getting worse. 

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Hi Bill,

The Parkinson’s drugs only treat the symptoms. They do not have any effect on the disease progression itself. So, essentially all you are missing out on is symptom relief...and by symptom relief, I am referring mostly to motor related symptoms (tremor, slow movement, rigidity).

If you don’t think you’re getting the right diagnosis, try a different neurologist, preferably a Movement Disorder Specialist (MDS).

And by all means, keep up the exercise. One thing I have noticed in my 5 year journey with PD thus far, is that the meds (specifically carbidopa/levodopa) help me exercise with more intensity. I’ve been using a heart rate monitor to track my exercise for the past several years, and I did see an increased ability to achieve longer periods of vigorous intensity...and improved coordination on exercises that I was struggling with.

Good luck...getting a diagnosis can be challenging. I hope the doctors you’ve seen so far are correct in not diagnosing you with PD! And whether it’s PD or something else, exercise is the right prescription for just about everything, so keep at it.

- Brett (a.k.a. Parkinson.fit)

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Hi, BillB70 --

I'd like to echo Brett's advice that you keep up your exercise routines.  If you do have Pd, that is a major factor in fighting its symptoms.  Also, if you are sure that you notice advancement of symptoms, definitely try other doctors who will listen and not brush you off with the old trick of blaming the patient.

Regarding the question of whether to start on medication(s), I think the determining factor is how much your symptoms bother you.  I ignored mine for about a year, then began taking Mirapex (pramipexole), which reversed all my symptoms and for a couple of years made me feel normal again.  But different people react very differently to specific drugs.  There are Pd patients who have horrible side effects on Mirapex, while I have none.  There are drugs (mine is Azilect or rasagiline) that can slow the progress of the disease, according to research.  If you are reluctant to start on drugs, one of those might be a wise start.  But you will need a good doctor to consult; there is usually some experimentation involved in finding the medication or combination of medications right for you.

Good luck,

J

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Without a doubt a combination of the two. My personal opinion and I think it’s that of the Doctor here is too start on sinement early as possible. I wouldn’t mess with all those other dopamine agonists at all. The sinement will kick start whatever horsepower he has left to exercise consistently. Combine both is your best bet.

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Btw I agree with Brett 100%. I just read his post he’s spot on. Brett how old are you and where are you from?. 44 y/o Florida here. PD confirmed for 4 years with datscan. Also like most everyone here I had symptoms for a few years if not more before the third doctor diagnosed me.

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Hi Maverick,

I’m 52, diagnosed at 47. Symptoms started several years earlier...but it did take 3 neurologists before I believed them when they said that it was Parkinson’s.

I immediately started exercise with a personal trainer after the initial diagnosis, and have been very active with Rock Steady Boxing for the last 3-1/2 years since a local class opened. We are fortunate in the Hilton Head SC area to have an intense RSB program with classes 5 days a week. 

I would say that exercise is my most important therapy, but the drugs help. I didn’t always think this...

I’ve been wearing a heart rate monitor when exercising for more than 2 years now, making sure that I keep pushing myself to exercise with vigorous intensity. Neither my trainer nor RSB coaches would ever have accused me of not giving it my all. But I went to a different MDS for a consultation last summer. He told me that while he could clearly see my strength and commitment to exercise, he believed that I was undermedicated. He suggested that with higher doses of C/L, I would see improvement in my exercise performance. In my specific case, he was right. I see it mostly in speed of movement, which directly impacts exercise intensity.

- Brett

 

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Hello Bill

I agree with the exercise and the meds.  In my case without the meds stiffness would win. The amount of exercise per time would be much less.

As far as cognition and memory.   IMO exercise that as well.  Make it a point to read more, type more and remember peoples names by saying their names greeting them.   Stay social.   Get out and go places.

My uncle and my aunt both ended up with Parkinson's dementia.   It dose not mean I will get it.   The people that do best on the forum live one day at a time.  Even people without parkinson's health wise can't tell you what next week will bring.   Live life.    Tom

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Brett, 

Thanks for the input. I ride the bike 5-6 days a week with light weights. Once I’m done with my workout that’s about 60% of my daily fuel for the  day. In the beginning I was doing too much and left in a cold sweat and the rest of my day was done. I think the key is too listen to your body and do something every day. Trust me there’s many days I am like screw this but I suck it up and I’m glad that I went. I’m on a other thread here because I just finished DBS pre surgery testing and I’m seriously considering it. If your ever down in South Florida please PM me. Lunch is on me.

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