Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Start Slow, Then Taper


The calendar shows that it’s the beginning of summer, but we’re already deep into our third heat wave this year on the Mid –Atlantic seaboard.  I will not complain though, considering the misery many of our fellow citizens are suffering from floods and tornados. God help them.

This weather  does get me to wondering why I am  less tolerate to heat then when I was younger.  Is it just the aging process?  Is it the Parkinson’s?  Is it the medication?

Like all good Citizen Scientists, I scoured the internet. (Saving Dear Reader the task.) It turns out the answer is yes, yes yes. It is the perfect trifecta of factors that add up to misery in the heat.

As we age, our ability to adapt to the heat becomes more difficult. This is true for the entire population.  Now add PD to the mix. Since everyone with PD has their own personal path, it’s hard to make blanket statements.

Dr. Michael Okun, M.D. states that “Any stress can affect PD. In particular very hot days, sleep deprivation, and dehydration as well as stressful situations hit our patients hard!” I suppose that, because we sweat, heat brings on the double whammy of heat stress and dehydration, making us particularly vulnerable.

My unscientific and informal polling of those I know with neurological disorders all report sensitivity to the heat. It is just one more environmental thing to which we must adapt.

My solution? I follow the example of my friends from South Carolina. When it comes to working in the heat they advise us to “Start slow,  then Taper.”

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