Living a quality life with Parkinson's disease

April is dedicated to raising awareness of Parkinson's disease.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- April is dedicated to raising awareness of Parkinson's disease.

Dr. Ravi Sandhu of SYNERGY HomeCare Fresno is all too familiar with Parkinson's Disease, as he specializes in memory care.

He also knows many people can go years without realizing they have the disease because symptoms may begin slowly and subtly, and it's also difficult to predict who may be at risk.

"It's really hard to say who's going to get it sometimes. It can be hereditary. It's mostly seen in men. But it's really hard to tell if you're going to get it or not at an earlier age," Dr. Sandhu said.

The cause remains unknown, but Dr. Sandhu said it could be a combination of genetics and environmental factors.

Here in the Central Valley, this includes air pollution or pesticides.

"It's exposure to irritants, right," Dr. Sandhu said. "These are the type of things that can stimulate something like this to happen."

A person with Parkinson's will experience slow, stiffening movements, as well as instability.

According to Dr. Sandhu, some can confuse the shaking related to Parkinson's with a tremor.

"A person with essential tremors will start shaking when they're starting to do something, like for instance, if they're grabbing a cup of coffee, they'll be shaking. When it comes to Parkinson's, they'll be shaking at rest," said Dr. Sandhu.

Parkinson's can take over someone's life -- leading them to anxiety or depression.

Dr. Sandu suggests at least 2.5 hours of exercise a week to improve the person's physical health.

Just as important, mental health -- find activities to stimulate the mind.

Dr. Sandhu said cooking with someone with Parkinson's is fun and engaging.

"So you're moving, right? At the same time, you're mentally stimulated because you're also looking at your recipes and trying, tweaking things," he said.

While living with Parkinson's is challenging, Dr. Sandhu said living a quality life isn't impossible.

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