Health Plus: Parkinson's Disease - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Parkinson's Disease

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Terry Hertges was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease six years ago. Hertges said when the diagnosis came, she remembers feeling lost, and scared.

"You jump right to the worst, or I jumped right to the worst. Thinking about the worst."

Her experience with the disease changes on a daily basis; one day she might be shaky, another day she might have a shuffle in her walk and other days she shows no side effects.

Hertges has been going to the fitness classes for Parkinson's patients at Covenant Wellness Center for several years. She said not only is the exercise beneficial, she also enjoys the company of the people around her.

"Exercise our arms, exercise our legs, it's nothing real vigorous but it does wear you out. It just works muscles that you wouldn't work ordinarily."

Timi Brown, the Med Fit Facilitator at Covenant Wellness Center, said while there is medicine to help alleviate Parkinson's disease symptoms, exercise is still one of the best treatments.

"We know for circulation, we know for movement, we know for coordination, all those things can be achieved by exercise," Brown said.

The fitness class focuses on gross motor skills; larger movements as opposed to fine motor skills. Brown said the class can best be described as 50 percent exercise, 50 percent support from the others in the class. Hertges agrees, and said she loves the comradery.

"Do you have any advice, have you done this, do you take this medicine, do you take that medicine... We really help each other a lot."

Hertges said she wants people to know that Parkinson's affects everyone differently, and not to be afraid to talk about the disease.

The fitness class at Covenant Wellness Center meets twice a week: Wednesday and Friday at 1:30 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. Anyone with Parkinson's disease is welcome to attend.

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