Parkinson's Disease

Treatments for Parkinson's Disease

Geriatric Nurse

A geriatric nurse is available in many Parkinson's Disease clinics, to provide support, information and counselling. A geriatric nurse can also monitor response to treatment and give advice on how to adjust medication if necessary.

Therapies

For example:

  • A physiotherapist can advise on posture, walking and exercises.

  • An occupational therapist can advise on such things as home adaptations which may ease many tasks.

  • If difficulties with speech, swallowing or saliva occur, a speech and language therapist can help.

  • The advice of a dietician and other therapists may be needed for some people.

  • A psychologist may be able to help if you have problems with depression.

Surgery

Surgical techniques are being developed which may help some people who have had Parkinson's Disease for several years. Surgery does not cure Parkinson's Disease but may help to ease symptoms when medicines are not working well. For example, chronic deep brain stimulation is a technique that involves putting a pulse generator (like a heart pacemaker) in the chest wall. Fine cables are tunneled under the skin to electrodes placed in the brain. The electrodes stimulate the parts of the brain that are affected by Parkinson's Disease and can help to ease symptoms. The long-term safety of this surgery is not certain and a trial is underway to look at this.

Complementary Therapies

Complementary therapies do not affect symptoms or the course of the disease. However, some therapies are good at easing stress and anxiety, which may help in your general well-being. Beware of any treatment that claims to 'cure' Parkinson's Disease.

Some Other General Points

Stay as active as possible. Exercise regularly as much as you are able. This may not be possible when the condition is more advanced. However, it is something to consider when symptoms are not too bad. You may walk more slowly than before, but a daily walk is good exercise and may help to loosen up stiff muscles. Well-meaning relatives or friends may tell you to rest and take things easy. However, as much as possible and for as long as possible, resist the temptation for others to do things for you just because it may be quicker.

Constipation is common in people with Parkinson's Disease. Help to reduce the chance of this by drinking lots of water and eating plenty of vegetables, fruit, and foods high in fiber. Exercise can also improve constipation. Sometimes laxatives may be needed to treat constipation.

Some medicines taken for other conditions can interfere with dopamine and make Parkinson's Disease worse. These may be prescribed for such things as mental illness, sickness, vertigo and dizziness. Check with your doctor if you are unsure about any medicines that you take.

Medication. Make sure you know exactly when to take your medication. Dose schedules and timings are important. A pharmacist will be able to advise and help if you have difficulty in getting tablets out of blister packs, have difficulty in remembering when to take your medicines, or have any other queries about medication. Report any suspected side-effects to your doctor. For example, seeing or hearing things (hallucinations), confusion and mental changes are possible side-effects of some medicines used to treat Parkinson's Disease.

Driving. If you are a driver, you should tell the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) and your insurance company if you develop Parkinson's Disease. Your insurance may be invalid if you do not. Depending on the severity of symptoms and the medicines that you are taking, you may still be allowed to drive following a medical assessment.

Depression is common in people with Parkinson's Disease. Depression can cause symptoms which may seem as if Parkinson's Disease is getting worse (such as lack of energy and becoming slower). If you seem to become worse quite quickly, over a few weeks or so, depression may be the cause. Tell your doctor if you suspect this. Depression can often be treated.

Some practical tips may help. For example: it is easier to get up from a high chair than from a low couch; consider using Velcro fasteners instead of buttons; carrying a cane when out may increase your confidence if unsteadiness is a problem.

How Do Symptoms Progress and What is the Outlook (Prognosis)?

The symptoms of Parkinson's disease tend to become gradually worse over time. However, the speed of progression varies greatly from person to person. When symptoms first begin, you may not need treatment when symptoms are relatively mild.

Most people with Parkinson's Disease can expect to have some time of relatively mild symptoms. Then, when the symptoms become worse, they can expect several years of good or reasonable control of the symptoms with medication. But everyone is different and it is difficult to predict for an individual how quickly the disease will progress. Some people may only be slightly disabled 20 years after Parkinson's Disease first begins, whereas others may be very disabled after 10 years.

Research into Parkinson's Disease is active. For example, one main aim of research is to find medicines that prevent the damage to the affected cells, rather than just treating the symptoms, which is the main value of treatment at present. Further research on these medicines continues. Research is also underway using stem cell therapy to help treat Parkinson's Disease.

Some medicines that are used to treat Parkinson's Disease:

~ Apomorphine

~ Levodopa

~ Dopamine Agonists

~ Monoamine

~ Oxidase Inhibitors

~ Tolcapone

Closing Information

The Michael J Fox Foundation is a great source of information on Parkinson's Disease. They raise millions of dollars every year in search of a cure for Parkinson's Disease. At the Oasis Assisted Living Home, we have staff that are dedicated to taking excellent care of your loved ones. We have nurses that are trained in geriatric medicine and will ensure that your loved ones are well taken care of. We have a family atmosphere in our assisted living facility that makes them feel at home and loved.

When searching for an assisted living facility or nursing home for your loved one, you want to make sure that the caregivers are skilled in senior care. This is very important as geriatric care is a specialty nursing talent that you should be looking for. There are lots of retirement communities out there, so just make sure you are selecting the best one that fits your loved one’s personality and health situation.

Elder care is a growing industry with the aging of baby boomers. You probably want to select a home that is near family. The Oasis Assisted Living Facility is located in Pueblo West, Colorado, but is convenient for anyone located in or around the Pueblo, Colorado area. Choosing the right retirement home for your loved one is an important issue, and we at the Oasis Assisted Living Home would enjoy helping you make that decision, whether we are the senior home you choose or not. Give us a call or stop by our location in Pueblo West!


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