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Dehydration and Parkinson's

Now that it is officially summer and the weather is warming up, it's time to think about keeping hydrated.


Dehydration is a common problem for people with Parkinson's disease. This is because the disease can damage the parts of the brain that control thirst, as well as make it difficult to swallow. As a result, people with Parkinson's may not feel thirsty even when they are dehydrated, and they may have trouble drinking enough fluids.


Although symptoms may fluctuate throughout the day, the progression of PD is very slow. If PD symptoms worsen over a relatively short time, such as days or weeks, then it is critical to search for an underlying cause, through medical providers. Medication changes, infection, dehydration, sleep deprivation, recent surgery, stress, or other medical problems can worsen PD symptoms. Urinary tract infections are a particularly common cause.


Dehydration can have serious consequences for people with Parkinson's. It can worsen symptoms such as tremor, stiffness, and slowness of movement. It can also lead to low blood pressure, dizziness, and falls.


There are a few things that people with Parkinson's can do to prevent dehydration. These include:

  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, even if they do not feel thirsty.

  • Drink water before, during and after exercise

  • Eat foods that are high in water content, such as fruits and vegetables.

  • Take medication with a full glass of water.

  • Carry a water bottle with you at all times.

  • Set a timer to remind yourself to drink fluids every few hours.

  • Keep a pitcher of water on your nightstand so you can drink during the night.


If you are concerned that you or someone you know with Parkinson's may be dehydrated, talk to your doctor. They can help you assess your risk of dehydration and develop a plan to stay hydrated.

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