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Parkinson's Disease Center

Parkinson Treatment

Parkinson treatment
Parkinson's Disease is a progressive disease with no cure.  This means that as time progresses, the symptoms of Parkinson's will usually get worse.  However, while there is no cure, there are treatment options available.  Treatment options for Parkinson's can involve medication, physical therapy, alternative techniques, surgery, a healthy diet, and changes in how you live your life. The goal of treatment is to make day to day living more easy and comfortable for you.

Although Parkinson's Disease is a progressive disease, you can take a variety of steps in order to relieve your symptoms.  Attacking Parkinson's with a variety of treatments may not provide a cure, but can provide a greater normalcy of life for you. 

Alternative medicine 
There are several alternative methods that some Parkinson's sufferers find helpful, such as yoga and tai chi.  Both of these may improve flexibility and balance, in addition to the usual benefits of exercise.  Other persons find that massage works well to release tension and cramps, in addition to promoting general well-being.  Still, some persons with Parkinson's believe that taking supplements of coenzyme Q10 (an over-the-counter supplement) helps to relive their symptoms.  Although some studies suggest that this supplement may be beneficial, further research is still needed.  Talk with your doctor before you pursue any of these alternative techniques.

Diet
Because constipation can affect sufferers of Parkinson's, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help provide the necessary fiber needed.

Lifestyle
Simple tasks-such as dressing oneself, or walking-may become more difficult and laborious with the progression of Parkinson's.  This is why it may be a good idea to find habits that aid your daily routine.  For example, you may want to give yourself extra time to dress yourself, use sweatpants or clothes that are easier to put on, and use Velcro instead of buttons to fasten your clothes.  Additionally, you may want to pay extra attention to your bodily movements when walking.  When turning, do not turn as quickly as you would do normally:  make a broader turn.  These changes in your daily life can prevent injury (as in the case of falls resulting from walking) and can make daily life tasks a little easier.

Physical/Speech therapy
You may want to see a speech therapist to aid you with talking.  Or, to see a physical therapist to improve muscle tone and flexibility. 

Medication
People with Parkinson's may take several pills of several different types of medication throughout the day.  But in general, there are three types of medication for Parkinson's:  those that relieve symptoms, those that affect non-muscular aspects of Parkinson's, and those that increase the level of dopamine in the brain.  Because Parkinson's is a progressive disease, you may have great success when first beginning treatment (e.g. with the drug levodopa), but then notice that as the years pass by, you require more frequent or higher dosages.  This is relatively common.  Additionally, if you miss your dosages, you may have more severe symptoms for a temporary amount of time that may be uncomfortable (such as being unable to move). 

Surgery
Your doctor may recommend implanting an electrode within the parts of your brain that control movement, with a device similar to a pace-maker placed underneath the skin.  This type of treatment may be used when medication is increasingly ineffective.  However, it may not help other symptoms associated with Parkinson's, such as dementia.  As with any implanted device, there are risks such as infection or stroke, or inconveniences, such as having the battery replaced. 

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