My experiences in challenging conventional expectations about Parkinson's disease

Conventional expectations are that almost everyone with Parkinson's disease eventually will become severely disabled and many people with Parkinson's disease will become totally incapacitated.

In contrast to conventional expectations, I believe that a combination of good medical management and a good exercise program can enable many people with Parkinson's disease to function at a much higher level than previously expected, and to function at a high level for many years longer than previously expected.

When I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1997, I was afraid of what Parkinson's disease might do to me, partly because of my previous experiences as a doctor but mostly because it seemed every expert had dismal expectations.

Since 1997, I have learned to challenge conventional expectations about what Parkinson's disease is supposed to do to me. Experts tell us that we are supposed to accept that we have the disease, but we also should recognize that too much acceptance can be unhealthy. The problem is that when we accept conventional expectations that we eventually will become severely disabled, we tend to give in to despair, isolate ourselves from families and friends, and become less active, then our physical condition deteriorates because of decreased activity. Thus, the conventional dismal expectations tend to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

To fight Parkinson's disease, I try to find a healthy balance between acceptance and denial. I accept that I have the disease and I try to deny the expectation that I am doomed to eventually become severely disabled.

This website includes a few videos showing benefits that I have gained from exercise. For more videos, go to my YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/davidhblattmd

 

Services provided

Exercise training: classes, individual training

Counseling patients and families on how to cope with the many challenges of Parkinson's disease, and how to progress toward thriving in spite of these challenges

Public speaking: to patients, health care professionals, and students

Links to photos and videos

Boxing speed bag

Juggling

Alpine skiing

Hiking to summit of South Sister, Oregon (altitude 10,358 feet)

For more videos, go to my YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/davidhblattmd

Exercise is something we have to do for ourselves. No one else can exercise for us and no pills can do for us what exercise does for us. There is no such thing as an exercise pill.