COVID lockdowns worsened condition of Parkinson’s patients

COVID lockdowns worsened condition of Parkinson’s patients, One patient stated that she experienced difficulty sleeping, nightmares, difficulty walking, fixation and motor stiffness and gained weight during the lockdowns.

About 43% of Parkinson’s patients in Israel reported a worsening of their condition during the coronavirus lockdowns, according to a new study by the University of Haifa, Israel Hayom reported on Tuesday.

The study, conducted among 150 patients by Dr. Galit Yogev-Seligmann and Dr. Michal Kafri, found that 43% of patients reported a worsening in muscle stiffness, tremors, imbalance and fatigue. Some 37% of patients reported a worsening in their ability to walk, 42% reported depression, anxiety and loneliness and 34% gained weight. About 25% of respondents reported an increase in their needs for help for routine chores and day-to-day life.

About 68% of those who reported a worsening of symptoms also reported that they believed the cause was a break in their rehabilitation treatments and physical activity, according to Israel Hayom.

The authors of the study stressed that they received reports of an increase of falls, fractures and hospitalizations of Parkinson’s patients at the end of the lockdown, saying this was an “expression of the deteriorating functional condition caused during the lockdown,” according to Israel Hayom. “The survey findings point to the need to develop solutions for the population dealing with Parkinson’s who need chronic rehabilitative care, which will allow them to maintain the treatment routine even during periods of restrictions on leaving home or social distancing.”

Michal Shoshani, 71, told Israel Hayom that she experienced difficulty sleeping, nightmares, difficulty walking, fixation and motor stiffness and gained weight during the lockdowns, when she lost access to complementary therapies such as hydrotherapy and occupational therapy.

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“The treatments were stopped completely because of the coronavirus and my health condition deteriorated greatly, especially in light of the fact that I live in the northern periphery, in a moshav near Tiberias, where there is not enough access to treatments and rehabilitation services,” said Shoshani.

Eyal Levy, director-general of the Israel Parkinson Association, told Israel Hayom that the association had recently launched Parkinet, a selection of remote physical activity classes to allow patients to maintain an exercise routine and remote rehabilitation activities.

“In addition, the association intends to continue to work to increase the medical staff who specialize in movement disorders clinics that treat Parkinson’s and to open clinics, especially in the periphery, while expanding the medical services basket, and recognizing physiotherapy treatments and communication clinics as services in the health basket,” said Levy.

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