Receiving a diagnosis of any chronic condition can be overwhelming, and Parkinson’s disease (PD) is certainly no exception. While it’s normal to feel a range of emotions after you’re first diagnosed, you might also feel a sense of relief to have a concrete diagnosis. And, with an accurate diagnosis, you can also begin your pursuit of a comprehensive PD management plan, which begins with the following steps.
Team Up with a Specialist
First and foremost, you’ll want to seek out a medical professional who specializes in movement disorders. These professionals focus on emerging treatments and can help you manage any persistent symptoms which aren’t responding to medications. You can still see your primary care provider, but these neurologists have extensive knowledge of Parkinson’s therapies and are well-worth researching.
Allow Time to Adjust
There are countless resources online to help you navigate the newly diagnosed phase, but don’t feel as if you have to learn everything right away. Give yourself time to process the news first. Then, consider joining online groups or local communities to learn more about PD management. The National Parkinson Foundation and Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research are great resources to start with.
Share on Your Terms
In time, you’ll likely want to tell everyone in your close circle about your diagnosis. Telling colleagues about your PD can help squash rumors and may simplify matters such as adjusting your schedule for doctors’ appointments. You’ll also want to have ongoing conversations with your partner and children to keep them in the loop about how you’re feeling and what they can do to support you.
Research supports regular exercise for people with Parkinson’s Disease and even shows that physical activity can help improve PD symptoms. People who started exercising 2.5 hours a week earlier after their diagnosis experienced a slower decline than their peers, for instance. While there’s no precise formula for exercising for PD, experts suggest a routine that blends stretching, cardio, and strength.
It can be tempting to withdraw from activities and others after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Yet, mental and social wellness can decline when you disengage. To that end, you may want to consider staying in the workforce if you’re still active in your career. You should also continue pursuing the social activities you enjoy, and may even want to think about joining new clubs or programs. These outlets can help promote mental and emotional wellbeing. If you want to learn more about your options after being newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease then contact a care coordinator today!