Today we are providing you with tips on treatment for Parkinson’s as well as steps for coping if you or someone you know is suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
What is Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease. It is a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms may continue and worsen over time.
Common Symptoms of Parkinson’s
There are several symptoms commonly associated with Parkinson’s disease. The most common symptoms are:
- Slowness and stiffness
- Impaired balance
- Rigidity of the muscles
Other symptoms those suffering from Parkinson’s may notice include:
- Soft speech
- Problems with handwriting
- Stooped posture
- Sleep disturbance
Treatment for Parkinson’s
There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, however, there are several ways for those suffering from Parkinson’s to treat their symptoms.
The main treatment for Parkinson’s is drug therapy. According to the Parkinson Society of Canada, the decision to take medication for Parkinson’s depends on the individual and on a variety of factors such as:
- The nature of the symptoms
- Whether a person is working or retired
- The kinds of activities the person enjoys
The purpose of drug therapy is to relieve symptoms, help you function on a daily basis, and improve quality of life. It is important to understand that drugs will not stop the progression of the disease.
Another treatment option for Parkinson’s is surgical treatment. Procedures involve inserting a probe into the brain and targeting specific areas that may control tremor or involuntary movements.
Surgery is not a standard treatment for everyone with Parkinson’s, but can be considered after drug therapy has been tried. The Parkinson Society of Canada suggests you talk with your neurologist to determine whether you might be a candidate for surgery.
Coping with Parkinson’s
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, here are some steps to consider when coping with the disease:
- Consult a doctor- Ask a doctor about the best treatment options for you or your loved one
- Look to reputable sources for information on Parkinson’s- The Parkinson Society of Canada is a great place for information, as they have a variety of resources that can help you understand the disease and how to live with it from day-to-day.
- Create a resource file- Use a binder, folder or file box and fill it with pertinent information such as dates, locations, and phone numbers for medical appointments, as well as contact information for doctors and other medical professionals you may want to have on hand.
- Stay active and exercise regularly- A good exercise plan can help your body cope better with Parkinson’s. Regular exercise can help maintain flexibility and good posture, keep muscles strong and joints supple, and improve circulation to the heart and lungs.
- Maintain an active social life- Stay connected to family and friends so you don’t become isolated. If you feel depressed or anxious, talk to your doctor.
- Consider volunteering- Volunteering for Parkinson’s related causes can be a great way to meet other people coping with the same things you are.
- Eat well- It’s important to recognize that Parkinson’s may present some eating-related challenges and some dietary modification may be needed. Talk to your doctor or consider asking for a referral to a registered dietitian if you are concerned about you or your loved ones diet.
- Look for help and support- Contact the Parkinson Society of Canada to find out what’s available in your community and consider joining a support group. This can offer a safe place to talk with others who understand what you’re going through. Many people find support on the internet helpful as well.
- Plan for the future- Avoid putting off important decisions about your future. Talk to your family about your concerns, and if you are working, have a good understanding of how Parkinson’s may affect your ability to perform the specific tasks of your job, now and in the future.