Understanding Parkinson’s Disease-Lecture Notes

Yesterday, I listened to a very informative lecture called Taking Care of Parkinson’s Disease Do’s and Don’ts, which helped me further understand many things about my father’s PD.

It was given by Dr. Shilpa Chitnis, a movement disorder specialist/neurologist in coordination with The Parkinson’s Voice Project in Richardson, Texas.

For those people who may have a hard time understanding Dr. Chitnis’ accent, or simply need the medical jargon broken down into laymen’s terms, I took notes and want to try to present them to anyone needing to know this information.

At the end of my post, I will insert the link for the actual lecture for those interested, I also shared it on Facebook.

One of the most important take aways I got from this lecture is that Dad needs to see a movement specialist, not just a neurologist; reason being, not all neurologists get the extra training for Parkinson’s Disease.

There was many more important tidbits you may not know including some common myths and misconceptions. Like you can be diagnosed with Parkinson’s even if you don’t have a tremor.

Levodopa is considered the “gold standard” medication to treat Parkinson’s but there are others that might work better for you depending on a number of factors. Response to Levodopa is one of the criteria for the clinical diagnosis of PD.

Dr. Chitnis recommends caffeine as a protective factor in the prevention of PD

A common question she gets is, “Why is there no cure yet with all the research and foundation work on PD?” her answer was because the initial trigger is still unknown.

Her theory is that poisons/toxins from one’s environment in which they were raised is likely a contributing factor. She was raised in Louisiana (as was my dad) where fishing was a common practice and pesticides were in the river.

Parkinson’s is also known as Lewy Body Disease because of the increased amount of abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein or Lewy Bodies that build up in the brain.

What are some of the more common symptoms of PD?

  • stiffness
  • shuffling gate
  • tremor
  • stooped posture
  • swallowing difficulty
  • loss of sense of smell

Studies have shown that exercise helps symptoms of this multi-symptom degenerative disease. The more you can move, the better you feel.

Which symptoms of PD affect the quality of life?

  • Lack of Levodopa responsiveness
  • Intractable (hard to control) tremor
  • Wearing off of medication
  • Non-motor symptoms (depression, anxiety, etc)
  • Dyskinesia (abnormality or impairment of voluntary movement)
  • Consipation
  • Sleep problems (these last two symptoms usually appear before the initial diagnosis)

The reason it is important to see a neurologist with extra training in PD is because they have the knowledge and experience necessary to offer holistic and individualized care.

Not everyone who is diagnosed with PD sees a movement disorder specialist because there aren’t enough of them.

Lack of funding for fellowship training and limited exposure to the specialty during residency holds doctors back from becoming specialists.

When you do get in to see a movement disorder specialist:

  • Bring an extra set of ears (this is especially handy for people like my dad who is hearing impaired)
  • Write down all of your symptoms
  • Bring all of your medications or a list of the medicine you take
  • Write down all of your questions
  • Be prepared for a longish day including testing (if this is the initial visit)

In my dad’s case, I would tell the specialist he has already had many tests and has seen several doctors who should be working as a team, but are not necessarily doing that. To me that is the biggest frustration, not getting all the doctors to come together and compare notes, etc.

If you do not feel comfortable with your MD, find another specialist in your area. (I just might do that!)

Here she inserted several helpful websites which I will include at the end of my notes.

Diagnostic Tests

MRI of the brain-Does not diagnose PD but rather compliments the diagnosis along with clinical tests.

DaTScan-a diagnostic test where a radiopharmaceutical agent is injected into a patients veins in a procedure referred to as SPECT imaging. The agent (loflupane 123 injection) distinguishes Parkinson’s from essential tremor.

Hospital Visits are Challenging for PD Patients

The reasons for this are:

  • Not getting prescribed medicines on time
  • Find out if you can bring all of your meds in their bottles
  • There are multiple reasons for worsening of PD while in the hospital, infections should be sought out and treated
  • Medication list should be updated and checked for contraindicated medications

Dr. Chitnis advice is to prevent the need for hospital visits by taking good care of yourself and taking all of your medications in the proper fashion. If you must go, have the nurse call your movement specialist with any questions.

In the Case of Necessary Surgery

  • Try to connect your surgeon with your movement specialist
  • The commonly used Propofol has been reported to cause dyskinesia’s in PD patients with and without movement disorders
  • To avoid symptom exacerbation and other adverse effects, it is recommended that the usual drug regimen continue until just before the induction of anesthesia. This is especially critical in patients taking Levodopa because of the drug’s short half life.
  • During procedures with extended anesthesia, Levodopa can be administered via a nasogastric tube.
  • Choose anesthetic agent carefully because they have been known to cause morbidity in PD patients due to drug interactions.


  • Avoid changing furniture, arrange rugs and cords and use night lights to make it easier to get around
  • Don’t be resistant to help from family and caregivers
  • Avoid multitasking while walking


No one diet is perfect for PD but following a Mediterranean diet is the best choice for optimal health-low salt

Get dermatology screenings because melanoma occurs frequently in PD patients

Living Well With Parkinson’s Disease (PD)

  • So you’ve been diagnosed with PD
  • Be an effective partner with your doctor
  • Assemble your multi-disciplinary team
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise and exercise!
  • Healthy diet is ESSENTIAL and so is plenty of WATER!!! Most experts agree on this!!
  • Go to the restroom when you CAN not when you HAVE to
  • Don’t ignore the importance of good sleep
  • Sign up for clinical trials
  • Become a strong advocate for yourself and others with PD
  • Join a support group
  • Plan for the future
  • Empower yourself with the best knowledge about PD
  • Together we can fight Parkinson’s Disease!
  • Coordinate your meds with your whole team so everyone is aware of your PD

Movement disorder society journal is recommended reading

Minimize naps and try to increase exercise for quality sleep

Go to this link for the actual lecture: https://youtu.be/RHa4aXTBQM

Other helpful websites:





I hope this helps someone out there who is either dealing with their own PD or a loved one-like I myself am. In my dad’s case, another symptom he deals with is loss of the ability to speak. This came on so gradually that none of us was aware it was related to PD.

The Parkinson’s Voice Project based in Richardson Texas is a professional care oriented team specializing in speech strategy and execution. Find them here: https://www.parkinsonvoiceproject.org

Let me know if you have any unanswered questions and I will try to find the answer, also, let me know if the link to the lecture does not work, I will fix it!

Texas Slow to Change Cannabis Policy

Yet change is on the way!

Good news according to Medical Marijuana Inc, Texas turned a corner this year in terms of policy change as stated in the article Top 10 Cannabis Policy wins for 2019.

Photo credit: Medical Marijuana Inc

For supporters of Texas passing laws to legalize medical marijuana, small but significant shifts have been made, including the removal of hemp from the state’s list of controlled substances.

This means we can at least get CBD with no THC without fear of prosecution, although local law enforcement still seems cloudy on the issue. Stay tuned for changes there too.

Over the past four years, I have become a believer in the powers of CBD and as such, I support this bill myself, yet want to see medical marijuana legalized for my great state of Texas.

In July of this year, Governor Greg Abbott expanded our state’s limited medical cannabis program, including more qualifying conditions and therefore granting greater access to Texas residents.

The new bill (House bill 3703) expanded the conditions from just uncontrollable epilepsy to add the conditions terminal cancer, seizure disorders, MS, ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s disease, and more.

This bill will allow licensed, board certified physicians to treat patients that qualify by prescribing low-THC medical cannabis oil to folks uninterested in recreational use, but those who are suffering will be eased by it’s many benefits.

This news gives me hope that Texas lawmakers will use common sense and compassion when considering legalization for those living in pain in the red state.

Right now though, reform is slow and under current law, possessing under 2oz. or less could mean a 6-month jail term and a fine up to $2,000.

According to Medical Marijuana Inc article.

According to the website, cannabis legalization is one of the most popular issues for Americans and honestly, I hope the laws change soon to include growing marijuana for one’s personal consumption.

Right now, however, we will have to be happy with the many benefits of CBD oil, yet I caution everyone to do diligent research before buying just any ole brand. Make sure it is third-party tested, pure, and contains no THC.

As you may or may not know, I have tried a few different brands myself, after careful research and consideration, or, by trusting the knowledgeable shop owners at two of the respected CBD stores local to me.

For those dealing with pain, anxiety, or sleep deprivation, CBD is a godsend. However, CBD is fast being sold as snake oil, and can be altered or diluted to the point that it’s not effective, so buyers beware.


When researching online, I look for the company’s proof of lab tests, farm to manufacturer relationship, I make sure it’s 100% pure and solvent free, organically grown and THC free.

CBD supports your own ECS or endocannabinoid system, maintaining digestive health, controlling inflammation, supports better brain health, allowing you to focus-CBD acts in concert with your ECS making your body work for you.

Some companies have reward programs, offer discounts, have affiliate programs and more. My only issue with online purchasing is the addition of tax and shipping, making me want to by locally.

What I usually do is research the company online, as in the case of the Blue Moon Hemp company, then I was lucky enough to find it locally in several different locations, such as vape shops, CBD stores, and so-called “glass shops.”

A small sample of some of the CBD products I’ve tried

I admit, I have also tried a sample from a company called Hempworx, which operates like a MLM, however I did like the product.

I don’t have the time or energy to get that involved, but I will endorse the product since it worked well for me. Read this post for more.

CBD can be used in a variety of ways, it can be eaten, vaped, taken by pill, tincture, or balm. Some companies are even adding it to beauty products like body lotions, bath bombs, and lip balm.

There is still a lot of confusion about CBD and products containing THC.

I urge you to explore such sites as Leafly and Medical Marijuana Inc to learn all there is to know about the difference in hemp and marijuana.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the fda and are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Always check with your physician before starting any new supplement program.

Keto For Beginners Is Now Alternative Lifestyle

New Name, Expanded Content

Well folks, I’ve gone and done it again! I felt a change was needed so Keto For Beginners is now Alternative Lifestyle!

I think the fact that I’m stuck at home unable to cook inspired this change, but I’m happy with it. It’s been brewing in my mind for a minute!

I will be writing about all the things I did and more on Keto For Beginners, yet I felt like I needed a broader scope so I could cover products, reviews, recipes, brands I like and use…whatever helps us live the alternative lifestyle.

I may even discuss music from time to time since my tastes definitely run to the alternative. Just ask my friends and family! 😉

I’m well-rounded really, I like all kinds of music, yet I’m passionate about hard rock, some metal, and other alternative sounding stuff.

We might discuss anything from my use of essential oils to controversial products like CBD, it’s all open for debate. I might review related books, or point you to an interesting YouTube video.

I hope you all stay with me as I add new content, well-researched articles, and explore a wider array of content.

Check out my updated pages and let me know if anything is glaringly wrong or could be improved. As always, I welcome your questions and suggestions. Thanks for being loyal followers, readers, and welcome new bloggers too!

I’ve changed some of the pictures in my header as well to reflect the new title and to showcase some of my favorite products. I’ll be adding more as I go along.

If you like my new name, let me know, if not, give me a better suggestion, I’m open to it.

Let me know if there is anything else you’d like me to cover or include in the blog, what subjects you want to know more about, etc.

Thanks for putting up with me as I further expand my horizons and welcome, I’m glad you’re here to join me!

Can Packaged Food Be Keto?

Although we all know that whole food is best on the Keto diet, many companies are jumping on the bandwagon to formulate packaged low-carb foods, so the question is can packaged food really be Keto?

I think it’s okay sometimes in moderation, for instance my breakfast this morning was some Skinny Pop low-carb popcorn and some Duke’s Shorty sausages.

Not whole food but not half bad either 😊

The macros worked out to 10g of carbs, 21g of fat, and 10 g of protein. There was only 1g of sugar and the sausages had no nitrates, were gluten free, no gmo, and most importantly, tasted delicious!

Here’s the backs showing nutrition info 😊

Relatively low carbs for pkg food

Remember an earlier post I showed you about the Nice cheese puffs exclusively from Walgreens? They have the same amount of carbs. One just needs to adjust accordingly the rest of the day.

Here’s the thing, with me in my current condition (on crutches, in a boot, can’t put weight on it) I need quick, convenient meals until Dave gets home at night to fix us a nutritious dinner.

Luckily, I had previously scoped these snacks out on a hungry trip to Walgreens and Dave has been making sure I have a good stock ever since! Along with these I discovered Ice brand now has delicious fizzy sugar-free waters!

Not only are they tasty on their own, they make great mixers for Keto adult beverages! Vodka has no carbs!

ICE Brand Sparkling Flavored Water

Yes, the sweetener is Sucralose, but every now and then, in moderation, I think it’s fine. Remember, I kind of practice lazy Keto, so as long as the macros fit, I call it a win!

I have a great source for more Keto snacks, it’s called Keto Farms on Amazon! Here’s a link to the article I read. https://ketofarms.com/blogs/keto/crunchy-keto-snacks-amazon

Of course, some other great snacks are real food, like cheese sticks, celery with cream cheese, salami, pickles, olives, pure peanut butter, veggies and Ranch dressing, avocados, the list goes on.

My lunch today was 2 pieces of salami wrapped around a cheese stick, a handful of baby carrots and a Tbsp of spicy hummus, a boiled egg, and a square of sugar-free chocolate with a dab of peanut butter smeared atop. 😊

My lunch

The worst thing I ate? You guessed it…the baby carrots. Luckily, I only ate about a 1/4 cup-so about 5 carbs. I know right?? But, it’s the sugar. Sometimes, I just get a craving, ya know?

What are your favorite snacks and how do you feel about the occasional use of packaged snacks? Would you, could you, or are you a Keto purist? Maybe yall can give me some new ideas!

A Quick Update

Morning everyone, and how is your Sunday going?

Today I just wanted to give you all a quick update for my readers who may not know the latest status on me and my ever-changing situation.

I may be absent, or not, due to yet another setback to my condition. I suffered a fracture to my ankle on Wednesday night. This is on top of the two injuries I was already dealing with.

This was the first night. The fracture is right of my ankle I think.

Tomorrow I see my knee doc who also does ankles, thank goodness. Hopefully he will see things my way, stabilize my ankle and go ahead with my knee surgery.

More than likely though, he will stabilize my ankle and make me wait even longer to do my knee surgery. I also had a back injury that left me with sciatica all down my right leg.

Luckily, all the injuries are on my right leg. If you want the whole story, it’s over on my other blog, Words on a Page.

I’ve been forced to sit pretty much all weekend, as it’s hard to get around on crutches (no weight bearing on my right foot) and Dave has had to do for me on top of all he has to deal with (which is a lot right now.)

What is so frustrating is that as healthy as I try to be, my body keeps falling apart!

I appreciate your prayers, and patience as I work my way through all this, I’m more likely to post on the other blog right now since I can’t cook, or create anything to write about here. Thanks again, and have a blessed Sunday!!