Heath Diet – Eating for Better Medication and Food Interaction in Parkinson’s

This is not a diet as such, more a informational article about eating the correct foods to assist with the medication the patient is taking for Parkinson’s. The diet is well balanced and nutritious and will be extremely beneficial in the long run as it will increase the well-being of the patient by giving them more energy and helping their bodies work more effectively.

The most commonly prescribed drug is Levodopa [there are many more but this is the one I have had the most dealings with] and the information I am giving you is based on some of the experiences I have had in my years of nursing.

Most importantly – get the patient onto a well balanced eating plan:

* ensure the patient eats a variety of foods from each food group
* maintain the patients weight with a proper balance of exercise and food
* include the high fiber foods
* watch the protein intake – can affect the medications effectiveness [ask the doctor if you think this needs to be changed]
* use foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol
* limit or avoid sugars [refined or otherwise]
* drink up to 2 liters of water a day [no less than 1 and 1/2 liters]
* limit the salt intake
* alcohol could cause the medication to work ineffectively – limit this beverage as much as possible
* a daily vitamin supplement may also be necessary depending on how well the patient reacts to his/her new eating plan

Pointers in taking the Parkinson’s medication

This medicine generally works better on a empty stomach, give it to the patient 30 minutes before their meal where-ever possible [or wait at least 1 hour after a meal]. Ensure that it is taken with a full glass of water as this aids in the absorption of the medication [and assists with the daily water requirement].

This drug can cause nausea on a empty stomach and the doctor could try to control it by combining 2 of the ‘dopa’ class drugs [levodopa and carbidopa – named Sinemet]. If the nausea continues the patient might have to go on a separate drug to control nausea. I have listed a few tips below to try control this nausea naturally:

* avoid citrus juices – these are acidic and can increase the feeling of nausea
* do not let the patient consume fried, greasy or sweet foods – just typing that line made me slightly nauseous
* let the patient eat smaller amounts with more frequency – this could help as the patient will not feel bloated
* try not to mix hot and cold foods at the same meal – give them a hot pudding with their hot meal etc
* if the smell makes the patient nauseous – feed him or her cold or room temperature food [eliminates the smell of hot food which can be off putting to anyone with nausea]
* try getting the patient to drink between meals rather than with meals
* let them snack on light and bland foods – crackers or plain bread – if they wake up feeling nauseated in the morning [before breakfast]. Sometimes if the patient eats a high protein snack [lean meat or cheese] before going to bed they will not wake up with the nausea
* generally let the patient eat when they are feeling less nauseous [can be hard at times if you are looking after more than one patient]

REMEMBER – always consult the patients doctor before making any major changes to his/her medication or diet.

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Healthy Pets Make for Healthier Owners – Importance of Veterinary Medicine for Humans

Everyone with pets knows how much fun they are but did you know that having pets is actually healthy for you? They have been shown to actually lower heath care costs for their humans! Our pets have been able to lessen depression (don’t you feel better when being greeted by your dog or cat at the front door after coming home from a long day at work?). Then this leads to lower stress levels which certainly has remarkable benefits for your health. And who can turn down a request to go for a walk by our canine family members? This gets us out moving and helps out with our cardiovascular health and also lowering stress levels. The more you look, the more these furry guys are actually benefiting us! I’m sure you can add many things to this list.

Keeping our pets healthy therefore is going to be extremely beneficial to both them and us. The best way to do this is through regular examinations, proper preventatives (ex. vaccinations, flea / heart worm preventatives), screening blood work and plenty or TLC. Once again, the importance of regular examinations, even if your pet “appears healthy” can not be stressed enough. Early detection / preventative medicine is still the best way to help out our pets. We do it for ourselves, why not for our pets?

Most veterinarians these days should recommend yearly examinations for all patients under the age of 7 and twice yearly exams for those over 7. This allows the veterinarian to have the chance to detect things earlier and therefore make most conditions easier to control or treat.

Another important part of the preventative program that a veterinary team can help with is screening blood work. Many times veterinary patients hide outward signs of illness very well so seeing what is going on internally is very important. Monitoring kidney, liver, and other biochemical functions will help identify problems earlier than if strictly looking for a “sick” animal. Once again, this early detection can lead to better, more efficient treatment plans and better outcomes for your pet. Sometimes, radiographs or other imaging procedures are recommended during the preventative examination to help identify sub clinical disease in your pets.

Proper parasite preventatives are also a somewhat overlooked part of keeping your companion at their peak health level. Flea / tick and heart worm preventatives are recommended for year round use by most veterinarians. Living in the Florida, these are extremely important because of the warmer climate which is a perfect place for these parasites to thrive.

Lastly, proper diet and exercise for your pet plays a major part in keeping them healthy. Just like their human counterparts!

By doing these things, your pet will maintain a healthier lifestyle and therefore help you do the same!

Alexander Weber, veterinarian at Beach Park Animal Clinic in Tampa, FL

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