083: Living Better with Parkinson’s Disease

Picture NBA player Brian Grant, known for his tenacity and fearlessness on the court. After pushing his body through conditioning, training, and contentious games, he learns he has Parkinson’s disease two years into retirement. Naturally, this came as an enormous shock. However, Parkinson’s is the fastest-growing neurological condition in the world. In fact, by 2040, the number of people living with Parkinson’s is set to double. Once Brian learned how to navigate living with this disease, he launched The Brian Grant Foundation (BGF) to “help people become their best, even when it seems impossible.” The disease not only affects your movements, but it can affect your mental health, and non-motor skills, among other functions, completely altering your way of life. And often, people experience symptoms years prior to the onset of other more prominent ailments.

In this new episode of Absolute Trust Talk, Kirsten sits down with Katrina Kahl, Executive Director of The Brian Grant Foundation. Katrina has over 20 years of experience in public health and advocacy. She is also known for her work as the Associate Director of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Together, Kirsten and Katrina discuss the science behind the disease, the causes, symptoms, and methods to help alleviate some of the issues surrounding Parkinson’s. They also talk about the origins of the foundations, some current projects, and the abundance of free resources that BGF offers to help improve the quality of life for those with Parkinson’s.

Big Three from Episode #083:

  1. Parkinson’s is not simply a movement disorder. It deeply affects your neurological functions, sleep, mood, mental health, smell, and more.
  2. Exercise and a healthy diet are the most important factors in aiding Parkinson’s symptoms.
  3. The Brian Grant Foundation provides a host of FREE tools and resources to help improve the well-being of those with Parkinson’s. Resources include expert webinars, exercise videos, cooking videos, and even mindfulness classes. For more information on how to access, visit www.BrianGrant.org.

Time-stamped Show Notes:

0:00 Introduction

0:54 April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and we’re excited to dive into some information and strategies on how to enhance the quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s.

4:39 To kick things off, Katrina shares some of the specifics of Parkinson’s, describing what it is and some of the typical symptoms.

7:05 According to Katrina, a tremor may be one of the first signs of the disease, but it could also be rigidity and slowness, even problems with sleep, smell, and depression. Here’s what you need to know.

8:11 While Parkinson’s is largely believed to be a movement disorder; it can also cause a number of other issues with cognitive functions, mood, motor skills, and more.

9:16 Start listening now as Kirsten and Katrina discuss what early-onset Parkinson’s means.

10:35 Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s. However, some treatments can help improve one’s quality of life. Press play now for more insights.

10:58 The focus of The Brian Grant Foundation is to help people with the disease improve their quality of life through education. Listen in for more details on what BGF has to offer.

11:22 There are still many things people with Parkinson’s can do to improve their well-being. The top of that list is exercise.

13:19 Outside of exercising, maintaining a healthy diet can also help ease Parkinson’s symptoms. Start listening now for more.

15:27 Did you know that the Brian Grant Foundation offers expert Q&A sessions on the second Wednesday of every month, exercise videos, cooking classes, and mindfulness sessions?

17:38 On April 1st, the foundation is launching its first podcast series hosted by Brian Grant and Heather Kennedy, a young single mom who also suffers from Parkinson’s.

18:19 In addition to BrainGrant.org, the foundation also has a Facebook group aimed at creating a network of people who can connect and support each other through their daily struggles with Parkinson’s.

20:47 Live Q&A: Do alternative approaches like acupuncture and hypnosis help with Parkinson’s?

22:00 Live Q&A: Is Parkinson’s painful?

22:41 Live Q&A: What is the average age of a Parkinson’s diagnosis?

23:52 What causes Parkinson’s?

25:13 The Foundation is returning for an in-person Gala in the Portland area on May 20th. To watch the live stream and hear from Brian Grant you can join from anywhere by watching the live stream on BrianGrant.org.

How to Contact Katrina:
Katrina Kahl
Executive Director | Brian Grant Foundation
650 NE Holladay Street | Suite 1600
Portland, OR 97232
Phone: (503) 274-9382
Email: katrina@briangrant.org

Resources/Links Mentioned in this Episode:

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