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Parkinson's Patients May Be at Higher Risk for Malnutrition

Parkinson's Patients May Be at Higher Risk for Malnutrition

A recent study published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease found that approximately 30 percent of patients with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease (PD) are at risk for malnutrition.  Researchers from the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden theorized that people with PD may experience difficulty with food preparation and ingestion, as well as chewing and swallowing. Additionally, depression and constipation, two things commonly experienced by people living with PD, may also lead to a decreased appetite.

The study was conducted with two groups of people from Iran, 143 patients with mild to moderate PD and 145 patients of the same gender and age. Patients suffering from chronic conditions (e.g., diabetes, hypertension) that would impact nutrition were excluded.

Participants answered questions on diet, appetite and self-perception of health, and researchers assessed body mass index (BMI), weight loss and arm and calf circumferences.

While the people living with PD did better than control participants on some measures, such as psychological stress, weight loss and consumption of fruits and vegetables, arm and calf circumference was dramatically lower in the patients with PD.

A well balanced and regulated diet can play an important role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle when living with Parkinson’s. Visit the Diet and Parkinson’s Disease page for tips on adjusting your diet to align with your treatment regimen.

Photo credit: Michael Harland Turken, recipe courtesy: Chris Cosentino   

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