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How is Parkinson's Disease Treated?

Contributed by: Michigan Parkinson Foundation and MPF Professional Advisory Board


Since the 1960s, much research and study has contributed to the development of new treatments for Parkinson's disease. Although there is no cure, a variety of medications are available to control symptoms. Rehabilitation therapies are frequently used to improve function. Mental health consultation may additionally be called into use. For some, if medication management is no longer effective, surgical options are a possibility. Some people opt to enter research studies.

As the symptoms of Parkinson's disease vary from individual to individual, so does the treatment. What works for one individual, may not work for the next. The one constant is that treatment changes over time. Each person with P.D. needs to be individually evaluated with a regimen developed specifically to meet his or her needs. Family involvement is very helpful. Recommendations will change over time, as P.D. is a progressive disorder, and treatment will depend upon the person's symptoms. Finding a physician who is knowledgeable about the treatment of P.D. and with whom you can communicate is essential in effectively managing your Parkinson's disease. Learning how to monitor your responses to medication and other therapies is an important role the person with P.D. and family needs to learn. Dealing with Parkinson's disease requires patience and a good working relationship with the health care team.

Staying Healthy

Your overall health is important in maintaining optimum wellness. A healthy lifestyle contributes to your sense of well-being and is your first line of defense against illness. Managing the symptoms of Parkinson's disease can be a "career" in itself and you may overlook general health concerns. Care partners may also neglect their own health needs when a family member has care needs.

Here are ten healthy living tips:

  • Have routine health check-ups.

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Be on the alert for signs of stress and learn ways to manage them before distress takes over.

  • Eat a well-balanced diet.

  • Get adequate sleep and relaxation.

  • Maintain connections with others and the world around you.

  • Stay as active and involved as you can.

  • Be the "captain of your ship," by finding a competent physician with whom you can relate.

  • Learn to ask for help from others.

  • Educate yourself on your condition - knowledge is power.

  • Keep a sense of humor.

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