Nurse Empowerment

For all of you dedicated readers, I have taken a small break, and I appreciate you all checking to make sure I am alive and still in the blogging world- fear not, your questions will be answered!!

I have taken a small break, as I have had a TON of stuff going on in my world, which you all will learn about very soon, but one of the really exciting things is a collaboration with a bunch of great innovative nurse leaders on a book about nurse empowerment.

I wrote a chapter about something very near and dear to my heart, as I spend a LOT of time every day working on this project and helping nurses improve their skills with cardiac and respiratory emergencies, through running a Mock Code program. Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 10.11.43 AM

For all of you interested in learning more about the book, Form Frustrated to Fulfilled: The Empowered Nurses’ System please check it out here.

And for those of you interested in my free giveaway to help others start a program just like mine, which I am so passionate about, please feel free to download my PDF right from here:

mock code tips

I appreciate all of your support through this process!!

In Good Health


When to head to the Emergency Room, and when you should stay home!

Emergency RoomThere is no getting around it: healthcare is expensive. Even with insurance, it can be tough to cover the co-pays, and following the rules of which healthcare practitioners you can see (and then the waiting period) can be really confusing. But two things that most people don’t realize are that the co-pay for emergency care can be quite expensive, up to $175 per visit for some insurance companies, and, depending on the city and time of day, Emergency Department (ED) waiting times can be up to 20 hours, so it really is important if you are debating going to the emergency room, to know if you need to be there, or not.


Yours in Good Health


Are White Spots on your Nails a Sign of Poor Health?

There are many myths out there about what white spots on your nails actually mean, and most of the “reasons” for the spots that you hear from people are just not true. I’m not sure why there are so many myths out there, but the truth behind white spots on your nails is a lot less ominous than people tend to lead on!

nailWhat ARE white spots on your nails?

I was always taught that white spots on your nails meant that you had a calcium deficient diet. I’ve heard some people say that it means you are deficient in zinc, and others say that you have an unhealthy liver. The good news? It’s not as much of a predictor of poor diet as everyone thinks! Most often these white spots, which are technically called leukonychia, are really just a visual indication that you had some sort of trauma to your nails. Nails grow SO slowly, that it can take up to 6 weeks for the damage that you may have done to your nail protein to show up in the nail bed that you visualize. Sometimes it can be a reaction to various nail polishes or treatments that you put on your nails, but as you remove the polish (or other offending agent), the spots will eventually grow out. If your nails turn completely white, it can be a fungal infection or a sign of liver failure, but a fungal infection is more gradual, and that is a late stage symptom of liver failure (the other symptoms would’ve brought you to your Healthcare Practitioner, HCP, long before).

So, if you have some white spots on your nails, don’t fret, it’s most likely is related to the bumps and bangs your hands took while you were moving, or working out, or….whatever you do, but just weeks ago. Most likely you have forgotten the offending issue by the time the injury shows!  Keep eating a healthy diet and living that healthy lifestyle, and don’t start boosting your calcium intake ridiculously every time you see a spot!

Yours in Good Health


Insomnia: Some tricks to try and those to skip

You’ve had those long nights of tossing and turning, alternating between staring at the ceiling and watching TV and pretending to sleep; frustration, anxiety, and irritation all building up. Then finally falling asleep only to have your alarm clock go off, and spending your day in a fog of exhaustion, and you can’t wait for sleep again….unfortunately the whole cycle happens again! Insomnia can be fun, and it affects everyone at some point in their lives. There are tons of products out there that claim to help you get a good nights sleep, without causing daytime drowsiness or without becoming “habit-forming” but not all of them work.  And poor sleep can cause some health issues like weight gain, anxiety, and depression. So, what tips/products are worth your time and money, and what should you skip?

bed1. A “nightcap”: a lot of people drink alcohol before bed, and that can help to relax you because it is a depressant, and it might help you to get to sleep, unfortunately, it messes with your REM sleep cycles and you don’t actually get a real nights sleep. Plus, this can definitely become habit-forming.

2. Avoid caffeine: This is a solid tip that you should follow.  Drink your caffeine in the morning to help boost you awake, but stop all caffeine intake after 12p-2pm (depending on your bed time) to allow for the effects to wear off and allow you to fall asleep when you want to.

3. Over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping pills: Most of the “PM” OTC sleeping pills just contain Benadryl (diphenhydramine) which can make you tired and sleep, however, it does cause a morning “hangover” drowsiness and can become habit-forming, plus the sleep cycle is still interrupted, so you don’t wake up feeling refreshed.  Also, if you don’t need to take, for example, Advil, there is no need to take Advil PM, right?

4. Melatonin OTC: It needs to be taken for a couple of weeks until you see the effects, and not all people respond to it.  It is a synthetic version of the naturally occurring hormone that our bodies produce, and most studies show that it is ineffective, however people who use it regularly report much better nights sleep and swear by it. So I think that it is worth a try, just keeping in mind it is not a quick fix.

5. Prescription Sleeping Pills: Between anxiety medications and actual sleeping aids, there are prescriptions available, however they can be habit-forming, and taking anxiety medications long-term isn’t a great idea because when you try to stop taking them, your anxiety can be even worse (yikes!).  Plus, there are side effects with sleeping pills like sleep walking, and doing other things in your sleep, and having absolutely no recollection in the morning. These can be really effective for short-term needs though, and if you are able to get a full 8 hours of sleep at night.

6. Avoid Naps: You might be super tired during the day because you didn’t sleep well last night, but this will negatively effect you sleeping again, because your bodies normal drive for sleep will be altered.  It is better to just dig deep and get through the day, then go to bed early (if you can) rather than take a nap during the day.

7. Aromatherapy: Scents like lavender, sage, jasmine, and vanilla can help lull you to sleep, while not really “proven” scientifically to help make you fall asleep, aromatherapy is very useful with alternative therapies and to help people calm down and get to a restful state. There are pillow and sheet sprays, laundry detergents, candles, etc that can help to get the scent in your bedroom and help to calm your mind.

8. Bed is for sleep (or sex) only: You should avoid spending time in bed when you are awake, and train your body that bed is for sleep only. You can have sex in your bed, but hopefully that won’t last for hours and hours and keep you awake…if it does, then move somewhere a little more exotic (like your couch, or a guest bedroom!) So no reading, no TV, no late night phone calls in bed, just sleep, and your body will start to learn that is a place to relax.

9. Tea: Some sleepy time teas can help to relax you, and get your body ready to tune down to get to sleep. Just make sure that you read the label and that they definitely do not have caffeine in them!

10. Routine: set a routine bedtime and your body will start to adhere to it, and get ready to shut down. Just like you have a routine to shower, get ready for work, etc, have one for bed too!

11. Therapy: If you are riddled with anxiety or stress about life, you may need to make some lifestyle changes, but for the immediate, it can help to work with a therapist, or your Healthcare Practitioner (HCP) to come up with a plan to alleviate stress, os that you are better able to rest your mind and sleep.  Some times a little organization can go a long way in assisting to de-clutter someones mind, and aid in restful sleep

Unfortunately, there is no real quick fix for shutting down and getting restful sleep, but as long as you put your body into a routine, and try to calm yourself as much as possible, you can start to train your body to learn to relax and sleep. It can be a really annoying and frustrating process, but it will come, and aiding the routine with Melatonin and aromatherapy can definitely help. Also, if you think that something else might be going on, like Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) where you have trouble breathing at night, speak to your HCP about diagnosis and treatment! See what works for you, but remember that it takes time to train your body.

Yours in Good Health


Eat for Exercise: Nutrition is the key to success

It is kind of true “you are what you eat” especially when it comes to pushing yourself with exercise. I have many people that have joined me on the exercise challenges in the past few months, and I made comments about certain workout days being rougher due to poor diet the day before and that always brought on a slew of questions wanting me to clarify further, so I thought I would! Plus, it is crucial to eat correctly when pushing yourself physically, so that your body can work optimally, otherwise you put yourself at risk for overtraining and getting hurt or sick.

What should I focus on?

There are a few different schools of thought, and it does truly depend on your goals of working out.  For example, if you are looking to build large amounts of muscle, you will need to significantly increase your protein intake (lean proteins).  But, if you are someone who is doing a workout challenge, and the goal is to tone up and perhaps slim down, you want to focus more on endurance, so that your body is able to keep up the intensity with exercise, and you aren’t starving all of the time, but you are eating clean and healthy to maybe lose a few extra pounds.

You should start your day out right, whether you eat breakfast or drink it (in smoothie form) you really should include oatmeal: it is a complex carbohydrate that is full of fiber, so it is slow for your body to digest, and it helps keep your blood sugar at a steady level, so you don’t get a sugar crash, and it will help keep up your stamina for the day. So either eat oatmeal in the morning with some fruit OR add it to your smoothie. Smoothies are great because you can get your calcium from dairy, carbs from oatmeal, and your daily fruits all in one meal!

Oats, Flax, and Chia (all parts of my morning smoothie)

Oats, Flax, and Chia (all parts of my morning smoothie)

For a snack, eat either nuts or peanut butter, almond butter, etc to boost protein and despite a high fat content, it is good for you because it gives you the energy you need, satiates your hunger, and also gives you that boost of protein power. I like to eat peanut butter on celery or carrots to get my vitamins and nutrients from the vegetables and also get that extra bit of protein. You can also make a trail mix with dried fruits and nuts to boost your energy and get in some endurance boosting proteins.

Your lunch and dinners should consist of vegetables and lean proteins. Honestly, for people on the go, the Bolthouse Farms Protein shakes are a great alternative (the salted caramel latte is my FAVORITE), and what I normally drink for lunch; at work I rarely have time for a sit down meal so they help me to get my protein and a bunch of nutrients on the go!

The vegetables that help to boost your stamina are: red beets (I really don’t like them, but they have been shown to increase your muscle stamina), spinach (filled with fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and  calcium), green cabbage (filled with phytonutrients that fight off free radicals and help heal damage), watercress (full of Vitamin A, B, C, Iron, magnesium, and calcium), and pumpkin (has anti-inflammatory effects to soothe those hard worked muscles and fiber filled). But truly, as long as you get your favorite veggies in, and they aren’t laden with butter (use extra virgin olive oil instead), your body will be happy.

Lean proteins should also be included in your diet: fish (shellfish and regular swimming fish), chicken, quinoa, chia seeds, and beans. If you are looking to boost muscle mass, you can always eat your proteins atop a protein, like eating some black beans, and maybe using the alternative of a bed of quinoa instead of rice.

You should be getting carbohydrates from your veggies, remembering that the more colorful your plate, the more vitamins and nutrients you are getting, which is good for you! And, of course you can eat breads, but make sure that they are whole grains and eat veggies with your carbs (think toast with some avocado atop it for breakfast!)

The cleaner your diet, with more protein the night before your hard workouts, along with your 2 liters of water throughout the day, your body will feel strong, you will feel good about yourself, and you will have the stamina and endurance to get through your hard workouts. Eating things that are high in fats will not make you feel good, and your workouts will reflect that….that being said, everyone has a cheat day on their diet, just make sure to use those cheats sparingly and your body will thank you!!

P.S. Don’t forget to join the June Exercise Challenge on Facebook!

Yours in Good Health


The End of the April Squat Challenge!

I must say, I appreciate all of those who joined me in the April Squat Challenge! It was a really successful challenge on MANY levels: I have met a bunch of great people from all over the world that have joined the challenge, we have supported one another throughout the process, given advice, gained muscle, and completed a common goal that I’m pretty sure none of us thought we could do.  300 squats in one day!

We all started at different levels of fitness, different ages, etc. and we all found ways to complete the challenge. Some of the Squatters did the challenge together, with weights, with babies, in bathrooms, airports, at Disney World, and basically just completing the challenges set forth each and every day whenever and wherever we could.  We were all honest if we were unable to complete the squats one day because of life circumstances, or being sore, or just losing motivation, and everyone really did a great job of motivating one another, and it was such a great sense of community, even though most of us performed the exercises on our own, at our own pace and time, we kept honest and hit the goals!

Not everyone was public about doing the challenge, so I had some friends that checked in via text, or email, and some people I just met because of the challenge that checked in via email, but many of those that took the challenge used our Facebook page forum (which will be changing monthly for new exercise challenges!)

So, we all had ups and downs doing the challenge, but it was overall, fun, which I consider a success, and I must say that my body did transform (my booty not as much as I was hoping for…but there’s only so much a girl can do but genetics always win!) Since I made my “pre” body the face of the challenge (to which I had no idea how many people would  join the challenge…and in essence see that picture) I figured it would only be right to show my pre/post and the success of building up to the 300 squats a day (which I did weighted with either 20, 30, or 40 lbs).


Day #1- April Squat Challenge

Day #1- April Squat Challenge





Final squat booty

Final squat booty

While I cannot say that my knees can take running hills AND all of these squats for an excessive amount of time, I am going to keep squats (and the many variations of squats) as a part of my regular routine to help to tighten my core, quads, glutes, and upper body musculature (because of the weights added).

A big THANK YOU to all who joined the challenge (either right out in the open or secretly) because I think we all helped each other to hold one another to the challenge and to be a part of this transformation! And I hope that we all keep squatting, and keep up the work with the monthly challenges, as best we can to get fit, be healthy, and support each other!

Yours in Good Health



Nurse Bridgid featured on

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Go away Nemo: Blizzard Safety

For all those, like me, who are affected by the blizzard, a few ways to keep yourself safe:

1. Please do not stray too far out in the blizzard alone, with poor visibility, it is easy to get lost especially in poor lighting.

2. The same goes for your animals, off leash, they can easily get lost with poor visibility, especially with poor lighting. My two dogs are so small they are below the snow line…making this blizzard a real treat for bathroom breaks!

keeping them on leash ensures their safety....

keeping them on leash ensures their safety….

3. When shoveling, take breaks: the exercise when shoveling is a lot more exertion than people think, and it is easy to strain muscles and/or exert yourself to the point of heart attack (we see a lot of cardiac arrests during snow storm shoveling).  So please take breaks, and ask for help, or if you have a plow, do a favor for someone who might not be able to shovel themselves out.

4. Be careful with snow blowers: they can get clogged up, sometimes requiring you to pull out rocks, branches, etc. but make sure that the motor is off, and even though it isn’t as exerting as shoveling, take breaks! Being exhausted and operating any sort of motorized equipment is as unsafe as being under the influence of alcohol, so please be safe and take breaks as you can.

5. If you have chronic medical conditions, or are unwell, have a plan to get to medical assistance if necessary, and emergency services are up and running with the help of the National Guard, but they need to be safe getting to you, so times may be slightly delayed, so keep that in mind.  If you have someone driving you to the hospital, give yourself time and drive safely to get there.

6. Please be mindful of driving bans, it’s for your own safety!

7. Use common sense, it seems fun to go out and do crazy things in the snow, but temperatures are cold, visibility is low, snow drifts are higher than expected, and transportation is really difficult right now. So, if you have to get your crazies out, bring a cell phone and a friend, and let people know what you are up to/when you are going. Especially if you have been drinking to pass the time (remember to eat and to hydrate well!)

8. And a general winter warning: Don’t go skating on ponds unless it is posted that it is safe to do so.  Many times ponds/lakes appear more frozen than they are!

9. To stay healthy? Remember you don’t need a gym to get exercise when you get stir crazy, you can always rock out with some yoga, jumping jacks, burpees, squats, etc. there’s way to keep moving even when confined to your home.

Otherwise, enjoy the snow, have fun, and hopefully we will all be able to escape our homes safely soon enough!  Remember: Helping someone out is a good feeling, so if you are fit and have the means (a plow/snow blower), help someone who might be completely snowed in and unable to get themselves out.

Yours in Good Health


Canker Sores: How to prevent and treat them

Everyone has suffered from a painful little oral lesion: the canker sore. These dreaded little lesions can pop up and cause some serious oral pain, and most often they appear out of nowhere and really put a damper on ingesting most foods and beverages for a few days (at least).  So, a little helpful info on these horrible ulcers to prevent them and how to treat them if you do get them.

What are canker sores?

They are little round or oval oral ulcers  with a white or yellow inside and a read border. They are also known as aphthous ulcers that are usually found on the soft tissues inside of your mouth (inside of lips, cheeks, tongue, base/roof of mouth), and they can cause a lot of pain when eating and drinking. They usually heal all on their own in a week or two, and they are not contagious to other people.  Canker sores are not the herpes simplex virus as some people tend to think.  If you have a canker sore that is really large or not healing, you should speak to your Healthcare Practitioner (HCP) about it, because they really should heal on their own, and if it’s not healing, it might not be a canker sore!

canker sore


What are the symptoms?

As stated above they are usually pretty small round ulcers that can have a white/yellow middle and are usually red around the border of the lesion and they are normally pretty painful.  Some people feel a tingle the day before they occur, but I must say, I don’t think I have every felt a tingle…I just feel the pain when they arrive.  There are some cankers known as major canker sores and they are much larger and deeper and can take up to 6 weeks to heal. And there are also cankers sores that can occur and they are in clusters of small little ulcers, and they make take three or four weeks to heal.  By far, the most common type of canker sore is the one I first described and are called minor cankers.

However, there are a few symptoms that you may have, and you should see your HCP about:

– Non-healing ulcers OR new ones occur before the others heal (constant cankers)

– Really large cankers

– Canker sores that spread onto the outside of your lips

– Extreme pain, causing you real discomfort, and causing difficulty eating/drinking

– If you have a fever or any other symptoms along with the canker sores

What can cause Canker sores?

– Highly acidic (like citrus) or spicy foods, a burn (from hot food), teeth grinding, or anything else that can cause swelling/inflammation

– Food allergies or sensitivities can lead to inflammation, then the sores can form

– Hormonal shifts (women, you may notice an increase in canker sores when you are about to menstruate. Another reason being a woman is awesome!)

– Emotional stress

– If you are immunosuppressed due to a chronic disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or are on medications to suppress your immune response, you may get more canker sores than most people.

– Also, people with certain chronic diseases are more at risk: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Chron’s disease, or Behcet’s disease.

How can I treat/prevent them?

So, know that we know what causes them, we can try to prevent some of the stuff that causes them, and/or preferably treat them!  Avoiding spicy foods or highly acidic foods (like citrusy foods) and sometimes adding folic acid, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and zinc can help these ulcers from occurring. But, once you have them, or know you are going to get one, especially if they are major canker sores, your HCP can order you for a mouthwash that has the steroid dexamethasone in it to help decrease the inflammation and aid with the pain, and in some cases they may also add an antibiotic rinse (depending on the suspected cause). You can create a mouthrinse of your own using water with a teaspoon of baking soda in it to ease the pain. You can use orajel, or other over the counter (OTC) oral pain relievers, or dab some Milk of Magnesia on it twice a day to seal the ulcer and to help with the pain and allow the ulcer to heal on its own. Some histamine-2 blockers, like pepcid, may help to prevent the inflammation and prevent the ulcers form occurring, if it is related to any sort of allergy or sensitivity, which means that you can also swish liquid Benadryl orally, as a mouth rinse, and it can help to ease the symptoms as well. And if you have recurrent canker sores that cause you trouble with eating and drinking, and nothing else works, they may cauterize (burn) the sore to help decrease healing time, but the procedure can be quite painful and is a very invasive treatment.

There are plenty of ways to ease the discomfort of these little ulcers, but if you eat something that tends to cause them, use one of the at home oral rinses (baking soda or benadryl) to help and prevent them from occuring.  And remember, if they are really large or not healing, you should get checked out by your HCP.

Yours in Good Health


Parkinson’s Disease: Am I at Risk?

My grandfather suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, and while we did all we could to keep him on the latest and greatest medications, he still had a rough path, which he navigated with grace, but he eventually succumbed to it.  When he was suffering with the disease, very little was known about it, and even though there is no cure now, because it is in the public eye, thanks to the strength of Michael J. Fox along with many other celebrities who have chosen to talk about their experience with the disease, we have raised awareness, which has led to funding of tons of research, so we now know much more about the process, and ways to slow it.  Despite people talking a lot about Parkinson’s, and roughly 7 to 10 million people worldwide with this disease, not many people know what it actually is, and if there is anything you can do before you even have any signs of the disease to prevent it.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

It is a chronic, progressive neurological disease, that decreases your muscle movement and gets progressively worse over time.  It can start with very subtle symptoms like a hand tremor, stiffness in joints, or an inability to move muscles quickly.  People with Parkinson’s tend to have very little or no facial expressions, and speech becomes slurred or very soft and mumbled. As the disease progresses, the symptoms become much worse, and as I said before, there is no cure, but there are medications that can treat the symptoms and slow progression.  As well, there is new research being done all the time to find ways to slow the onset of the disease and possibly prevent it.

What are the Symptoms?

Everyone’s disease progresses at a different rate, and the symptoms can start differently in everyone.  For example, some people only experience symptoms on one side, and others are on both sides, some may shuffle first, while others pill roll or slur words.  Plus, the symptoms can be subtle at first and not really noticeable, but if you experience any of the symptoms, you might want to talk to your healthcare professional (HCP) and find out what your risk might be.  Some of the symptoms are:

Tremors: An uncontrolled trembling or shaking of your hands or limbs, also rubbing your forefinger and thumb together (known as “pill rolling”).

Changes in writing: Possibly due to the tremors or shaking, but people with Parkinson’s tend to change their writing style over time; it may become smaller and become more illegible.

Muscle stiffness: Can be painful, stiff muscles that some people might think is arthritis related. It can make daily activities difficult.

Slowed movements: With the progression of the disease, your ability to move becomes more and more impaired, and patients tend to shuffle when they walk, not picking up their feet because it becomes almost impossible to do so.

Speech Changes: Due to impaired muscle movement of the tongue and mouth muscles, speech can become slurred and mumbled, also you can lose your ability to fluctuate your voice because of loss of muscle movement in the throat.

Changes in posture and balance: Because of loss of muscle strength, your posture usually worsens and people become much more stooped over, which leads to changes in balance, and you can have trouble balancing, and feel like you are tipping or fall over more easily, which can be quite dangerous.

*All of these symptoms can lead to other problems such as depression, because people are noticing these changes and assuming they are aging or just due to difficulties with everyday movements. The loss of muscle movement can also lead to sexual dysfunction, with a decreased ability to perform AND a decreased sex drive.  The bladder and GI tract are also controlled by muscles, so there can be a loss of bladder control and the slowed GI tract can lead to constipation. In the end stages of Parkinson’s there is also significant dementia that does not respond to medications, which is difficult for the patient and for the family members/loved ones, and make caring for them much more difficult.

Are there any Causes/Risk Factors?

Genetics: If you have a family member with Parkinson’s you may have the gene mutation that causes Parkinson’s.  Unless you have numerous family members with the disease, then your risk is probably lower, but you should still watch for signs.

Age: Most people start to notice symptoms of the disease later in life, and the risk increases with age.

Environmental Factors: There is some theory that some toxins and various chemicals (herbicides) can lead to Parkinson’s.

Sex: Men are more likely to have Parkinson’s than women.

Unfortunately, it is not really clear what truly causes Parkinson’s, but there are many theories and this is an area that is being heavily researched. So, I am hoping that in the near future we will know more about what causes Parkinson’s.

How am I diagnosed?

There are no tests to determine if you have Parkinson’s, it is diagnosed based on your presentation, your past medical history, and the symptoms that you have. Sometimes HCPs will give you a medication, carbidopa-levodopa which is a medication that is used to improve symptoms related to inability to move muscles from Parkinson’s, and if your symptoms improve, then you are diagnosed as having Parkinson’s.  I know, not the most scientific based diagnosis, but it is the only option we have at this point,

What are the Treatments?

There are many different medications used to treat the symptoms and help to slow progression of the disease, like carbidopa-levodopa, and they can be very helpful at off-setting the symptoms but the side effects of the drugs can be almost intolerable, and most of them have side effects of hallucinations, which can be scary for the patient and the family members around them. And for people who are unable to tolerate the medications, you can have a surgically implanted Deep Brain Stimulator (DBS) that pulsates specific parts of the brain to increase muscle movement such as sowed movements, tremors, etc, but it cannot usually offset issues with communication and cannot prevent the dementia.  There are always risks from surgery such as bleeding, infection, stroke, brain damage, and death, but if you cannot tolerate medications, it may be your only option.

What can I do to Promote Wellness?

Since there are both balance and mobility issues, you may talk to your HCP about having an Occupational Therapist come to help you with various activities at home that are causing you problems; they can you with you to improve balance and hone in on alternative ways to do the activities that may work with the muscle strength that you have.  Also, they can help you with assistive devices and to make sure that you are safe in your home, ensure things are off the floor so you won’t trip, suggest handrails for stability, etc. It is also really important to east a healthy diet full of fruits and veggies and fiber, to offset the constipation that can occur, along with lots of water.

There are also some alternative therapies that are suggested that can help you cope with the disease process, such as: massage, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and Coenzyme Q10 supplements can improve muscle function (it is a fat soluble vitamin that is found in low levels in Parkinson’s patients.) There is new research suggests that cycling (riding a bike quickly) can help to improve muscle function, in patients with early Parkinson’s. Basically, it’s an “if you don’t use it, you lose it” type of theory; strengthen and utilize the muscles you have through exercise (the study was specifically done on cycling) and your symptoms will decrease as long as you consistently strength train.  They are just starting to study the intensity of exercise needed to see results and other types of exercise that may be beneficial, as it is brand new research.

 Is it Preventable?

At this point, no. We cannot prevent a disease that the true risk factors are not even known.

How do we live with this disease?

Living with Parkinson’s (or a loved one with Parkinson’s) can be difficult; there are times of depression and frustration, it is normal to be scared, feel exhausted, and just have days when you don’t know how to feel. The best way to cope with it is to talk about your feelings and what you are experiencing.  There are also support groups that your HCP can set you up with so that you (or your loved ones) can find people to talk to about living with the disease. The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) is also a great resource for those living with the disease and The Michael J. Fox Foundation is am amazing resource, that has a goal of finding a cure for the disease, and is actively and aggressively working towards that goal. The Michael J. Fox Foundation has funded over $300 Million to research to find a cure for Parkinson’s and they actively have 51 clinical trials on-going. Not only is it a great resource to learn more about the disease, it is also a place where you can learn how to become more active to also work towards finding a cure, and find resources for support and coping to help deal with the disease for you or a loved one.

It is not always easy having a disease that there is so much unknown about, the upside is that there is a ton of research currently going on, and there is an increased public knowledge.  It is important to talk to your HCP if you think you are at risk or have any of the symptoms because early diagnosis and intervention is key.  And even though it can be a struggle, there are people out there going through a similar situation, whether you have the disease or live with someone with it, so talk to others, appreciate your time together, and know when, as a caregiver you need a break.  Be open and honest, and talk to your HCP, there may be studies you are eligible for, or various resources to assist with care and treatment.

Yours in Good Health