Summer Care for Parkinson's
Updated: Oct 19, 2020
Summer can be a lot of fun when you do it right!
That being said, what are some things to think about before enjoying the sunshine? The sun is a powerful force of nature that can cause both melanoma and dehydration. Melanoma is considered to be an invasive skin cancer characterized by malignant tumors from melanin-producing skin cells. Its environmental cause is primarily by the ultraviolet radiation given off by the sun. Despite its contrast to PD (cell degeneration), melanoma (cell proliferation) is one of the few cancers that PD patients have an increased risk of developing. The neurons affected by PD, have dopamine depletion and contain Lewy bodies, also contain melanin and are able to become cancerous. Unfortunately, the reasoning behind the connection between PD and melanoma is not fully understood at this point in time. So what can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones? Firstly, sunscreen is always important and works to block UV radiation from getting to the skin. Physical sunscreens (look for: titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) deflect the sunrays whereas chemical sunscreens (look for: avobenzone and octisalate) absorb them. It is also important to consider the sunscreen's SPF or sun protection factor: SPF30 blocks 97% of UVB rays from hitting your skin whereas SPF50 blocks 98%. This tells us that sunscreen alone cannot protect the skin 100% and thus covering up and keeping in the shade can help.
Additionally, checking your body for spots and monitoring present ones can help get treatment before they become more of a problem. This can be done by yourself, a trusted person and by scheduling regular screening with a dermatologist. Dehydration is another concern increased during the summer months when it gets hotter outside. PD patients that experience swallowing disorders, diarrhea, vomiting and increased sweating are more at risk for being dehydrated without the help of warm weather. Similarly, there are some prescription medicines that can cause dehydration as a side effect. Thus, it’s important to be prepared before spending time outside to make sure that you are drinking water regularly. Additionally, some PD patients may experience a decrease in the thirst sensation and would therefore need help remembering to drink.
Have a happy summer everyone!
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @queensforpdkingston
References Adler, L. (2017). Dehydration in Parkinson's symptoms, risks & tips. [online] https://www.neurologysolutions.com/…/dehydration-in-parkin…/ Bose, A., Petsko, G. A., & Eliezer, D. (2018). Parkinson’s disease and melanoma: co- occurrence and mechanisms. Journal of Parkinson's disease, 8(3), 385-398. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6130416/ Richard, E. G. (2019). All about sunscreen. [online] https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer- prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen/ Wallis, A. (2017). Preparing for summer. [online] https://www.parkinson.org/blog/tips/preparing-for-summer