Shining a light on Parkinson’s disease

Posted on: 5/04/2023

World Parkinson’s Day takes place on 11th April every year to raise awareness of Parkinson's.

Not enough people understand what it’s like to live with Parkinson’s. They don’t know it’s a serious condition. They don’t realise that treatments are limited and that there is no cure.

However, if more people understand Parkinson’s, the more people can fundraise, can fight for fair benefits, can support their local communities, and, ultimately, can get us closer to that cure.

What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson's disease is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years. Around 127,000 people in the UK have Parkinson’s: equivalent to one in every 500 people.

What are the symptoms of Parkinson's disease?

The 3 main symptoms of Parkinson's disease are:

  • involuntary shaking of particular parts of the body (tremor)
  • slow movement
  • stiff and inflexible muscles

A person with Parkinson's disease can also experience a wide range of other physical and psychological symptoms.

These include:

  • depression and anxiety
  • balance problems (this may increase the chances of a fall)
  • loss of sense of smell
  • problems sleeping
  • memory problems

How to live well with dementia

Parkinson’s disease affects everyone differently. Whatever your case gives you, there are habits you can work into your daily routine to help you deal with your symptoms and live life more fully.

  1. Exercise Regularly

Moving and stretching your body every day will boost anyone’s health. When you have Parkinson’s, it can help give you:

  • more flexibility
  • better balance
  • less anxiety and depression
  • improved coordination
  • added muscle strength

Talk to your doctor before you start any kind of physical activity. They may recommend that you team up with a physical therapist to help you find your best fitness fit. You may want to try:

  • walking
  • swimming or water aerobics
  • gardening
  • stretching
  • dancing
  • tai chi
  1. Prevent falls

Balance problems can make falling a real concern when you have Parkinson’s. As you move around, especially during exercise, be smart. For instance:

  • Plant your heel first when you take a step.
  • Don’t move quickly.
  • Work to keep your posture straight as you walk and look ahead instead of down.
  • Change directions with a U-turn instead of a pivot.
  • Try not to carry anything when you walk.
  • Don’t walk backward.
  • If, despite taking these steps, you find yourself falling, think about using a cane, walker, or other device to help you move safely.
  1. Eat well

It’s common for Parkinson’s disease to come with things like bone thinning, dehydration, weight loss, and constipation. Keeping a close eye on your nutrition can help.

Remember to:

  • eat a variety of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits every day
  • watch how much fat you eat (especially the saturated kind)
  • limit sugar, salt, and sodium
  • go easy on alcohol (and be sure what you do drink doesn’t interact with your medication)
  • drink plenty of water
  • load up on foods packed with vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin K, and calcium for bone strength
  1. Sleep Well

Sometimes, Parkinson’s can stand in the way of restful shut-eye. Parkinson's disease can cause sleep problems or abnormal dreams. Set yourself up for success by keeping a good routine by considering these steps:

  • Create a relaxing pre-bedtime routine and follow it every night.
  • Stick to a schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Get plenty of natural light during the day. Avoid screens and keep your room dark at night.
  • Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, and exercise for at least 4 hours before bedtime.
  • Keep your bedroom cool at night.
  • Make sure your mattress and pillow are comfortable and support you well.

Where can I get support with Parkinson’s?

Parkinson's UK is the main Parkinson's support and research charity in the UK.

They can help if you're living with the disease and let you know about support groups in your local area.

You can contact them by:

  • calling their free helpline on 0808 800 0303 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm, and 10am to 2pm on Saturdays)
  • emailing

We hope that this article has helped to shine a light on Parkinson’s disease and highlight that there is support out there to help live well with Parkinson’s.