LIVING WITH PARKINSON’S DISEASE
Once diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, it’s imperative that you seek help right from the beginning.
Parkinson’s disease produces many challenges that must be dealt with; education and support can help you deal with them. Understanding the disease and its symptoms will produce a better understanding of how to address and manage them. Working with your health care professional, you can develop a strategy to regain a sense of control over your life and how to improve the quality of your life.
While there is currently no cure for the disease, symptoms can be managed through medication, healthy choices and sometimes medical procedures.
- Exercise: Exercise can make a big difference in dealing with the mobility symptoms of Parkinson’s. Whether you continue a regular exercise schedule or begin a new one, the effects can be helpful in both the short and long term. The results of regular exercise are not limited to mobility, balance and coordination, they are also beneficial to the persons mental and emotional wellbeing.
- Diet: While there is no specific diet that is recommended to treat Parkinson’s, a healthy diet plays a role in anyone’s health. Several servings of fruits and vegetables high in fiber can help lessen constipation. Muscle cramping can also be reduced through drinking plenty of water or other caffeine-free and non-alcoholic beverages. Additionally, vegetables and fruits high in antioxidants can also be advantageous to one’s health.
- Medications: Medications are available to treat walking, movement and tremor issues brought on by Parkinson’s but none of them provide a cure. These medications increase or substitute for dopamine in the brain, which is lacking in people with Parkinson’s. They can be beneficial from the outset of the disease and throughout its progression, although their effectiveness will diminish as the disease advances. The most widely used medications include Carbidopa/Levodopa, Dopamine Agonists, COMT Inhibitors, MAO Inhibitors, and Anticholinergic agents. Treatment is based on several factors including current symptoms, side effects, age, and a person’s daily living activities.
- Deep Brain Stimulation: Deep Brain Stimulation is a surgical therapy that involves implanting an electrode into a targeted area of the brain. They may be implanted on either side or both sides of the brain depending on desired results. The electrodes are connected to a pacemaker like device implanted in the chest.
YOUR TREATMENT TEAM
Treating Parkinson’s with a Team of Health Care Professionals:Parkinson’s is not a simple disease that can be treated by one or two individuals. Heath care professionals with a variety of skills and expertise are necessary to combat the disease. Their participation and involvement will vary as the disease progresses.
Your team may include:
- Movement Disorder Specialist (a neurologist who specializes in Parkinson’s disease)
- Rehabilitation Specialists: including a physical, occupational, and speech & language pathologist
- Primary Care Provider
- Social Worker