Aging and Parkinson’s Disease (PD)

My body may be a temple, but the roof leaks, the electrical wiring needs updating, and despite the upkeep, my landlord has months of weekend fixes to make. Part of aging well with Parkinson’s disease and remaining healthy is avoiding injuring ourselves, by listening to our body. Knowing our limits can reduce our risk. Exceeding our limits can result in improvements or a visit to the doctor. Do not fear exercise but find the right regimen that you and your doctor can agree upon. It took me a few years to get moving but, I have seen benefits in strength and balance in my Rock Steady Boxing class even with it being online.

Making Sense of the Signs

Whether or not you have a chronic illness, we are all aging as that is an unavoidable imperative. We are all exposed to chemicals and toxins that are all around us. Avoiding chemical exposure and its impact, is not totally within our control. Some of us will have the immune system, genetics, resilience, or luck to avoid what some of us might not. The question remains, how, what, when, who, and why we get sick, at least for some illnesses? Exposure and lifestyle have proven that there can be a wide variance of symptoms and illnesses depending on some known and many unknown factors. Good health depends on more and more uncontrollable variables. Some of these factors (water, foods, genetics, herbicides, and pesticide exposure) are understood and some are yet to be discovered, how they may change our body over time.

As a person with Parkinson’s disease, who has been living with PD for over thirty years, the uncertainty of this illness has almost always been there, but as it mounts over time, there is a greater need for tools and resources as well as better medicines. The young onset Parkinson’s disease (YOPD) population of people living with this illness are embarking on an unprecedented voyage as they travel through chemical exposure due to the elements combined with their prescription medications.

Young Onset Getting Older or Something Else?

If you are early or young onset Parkinson’s disease diagnosed (before age 50 or 60) the progression of this illness can be more than tricky, and not knowing whether aches and pains, stiffness, rigidity, cramping, or soreness is just from the last workout or something more. It requires awareness. Monitoring your body for even the smallest of changes, takes vigilance and care. Paying close attention to your body is a critical element to remaining free of extensive medical care. Close monitoring and keeping on top of those little pains may fend them from becoming more sizeable pains or worse.

As much as we do not want to admit it, we are getting older. Aging is most likely the largest impending change with which we must contend. The difficulty with having Parkinson’s disease and aging is being able to distinguish what symptoms are treatable and which may be harbingers of an urgent red flag action. Paying close attention to the impact and trauma to our body and mind may have an even greater impact on our being, just due to age and sensitivity. As I age, I reflect and ponder what repercussions the pills that keep me moving and functioning may have on my system over the long-term?