Getting To A Movement Disorder Specialist
If you live in a rural area or have difficulty traveling, it may be challenging to find or visit a movement disorder specialist. One option might be to travel to see a movement disorder specialist once or twice a year and follow up with a local general neurologist or primary care doctor more frequently. Any time spent with a specialist may be helpful.
Technology, too, may help. Some hospitals and services can connect you with a Parkinson’s specialist without you having to leave your home. Parkinson’s Disease Care New York, for example, offers people in the state of New York video calls through a computer, tablet or smartphone with a movement disorder specialist, a neurologist or a Parkinson’s-trained nurse at no cost. Ask your doctor or support group about telemedicine opportunities.
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You have the power to impact your future and the future of millions living with Parkinson’s disease. Explore clinical research participation today.
Members Of The Healthcare Team
Who should make up your care team? At a minimum you will need:
- A primary care healthcare provider who looks after your day-to-day medical needs. This may be someone who you have seen for many years and knows you well, or you may need to find a primary care healthcare provider.
- A neurologist who specializes in movement disorders. This is most important as a neurologist in movement disorders will likely be able to help you find others who are experienced in Parkinson’s disease to fill out your healthcare team.
- A counselor or psychiatrist or psychologist who can help you manage potential emotional and mental health problems is they arise
- Allied health professionals like physical therapists, occupational therapists, sleep medicine specialists and so forth. Your neurologist should be able to help you find the allied health professionals right for you.
- Yourself – Part of being an empowered patient is playing an active role in your care.
- Your partner – Parkinson’s disease can have a tremendous impact on relationships, and including your partner or other family members can be very helpful in managing the disease.
All of these people will, of course, need to communicate with one another, but the key figure for management of your Parkinson’s symptoms will be your neurologist. So how do you find a neurologist who is right for you?
Don’t overlook your own role as a very important member of your healthcare team, as well as that of your family.
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Risk Factors For Parkinson’s Disease
While a primary cause for PD is not yet known, certain risk factors can increase a persons likelihood of developing the disease:
- Age: PD is rare in young people. People who develop the disease are usually around 60 or older, and the risk increases with age.
- Exposure to environmental toxins: Exposure to certain herbicides and pesticides can increase risk.
- Gender: Men are more likely to develop PD than women. On average, three men will develop the disease for every two women.
- Heredity: Having a close relative with PD increases the chances of developing the disease. However, that risk is still small unless family members develop the disease at a young age.
How Is Parkinsons Disease Managed
Parkinsons disease cant be cured, but specific treatments can notably improve your symptoms. While Parkinsons disease itself isnt fatal, its complications can result in severe disability and death.
Dr. Wijemanne can recommend a combination of medications to help ease Parkinsons symptoms. None of these reverse the disease, but exercise can help and can make symptoms much more manageable. Surgery is sometimes recommended to regulate certain regions of your brain and improve your symptoms.
Dr. Wijemanne can also help you change your lifestyle so that you live a higher quality of life. She recommends you get more rest and physical activity to stay as healthy as possible.
To learn more about Parkinsons disease and how to manage it, contact Subhashie Wijemanne, MD. Use this website to schedule or call her office today.
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General Strategies For Getting The Most Out Of Your Care Team
It’s important to be an active partner in your care. Try to resist adopting the role of a passive patient who just follows the orders of the healthcare providers. Ask questions. But ask them in a cordial way in order to learn. Ask questions so that you can maximize the benefits of any treatment you undergo. Try also to avoid the opposite danger of asking too many questions and of taking over the role of healthcare provider yourself. You will have to learn to accept the care of others. Let them do their job. Learn from them. Partner with them. If you can establish this kind of partnership with your care team you and your family will find it easier to cope with all the challenges that PD will throw at you over the years.
Parkinsons Foundation Center Of Excellence
Mount Sinai Beth Israel is designated as a Center of Excellence by the Parkinsons Foundation, specialized team of neurologists, movement disorder specialists, physical and occupational therapists, mental health professionals and others who are up-to-date on the latest Parkinson’s disease medications, therapies, and research to provide the best care.
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We work hard to make quality oral health care affordable which is why we work with you on payment options. We accept all major credit cards, most major insurance plans, as well as offer alternative savings and discount plans for cash-paying customers without insurance.
At SmileKeepers, we are pleased to provide expert oral care for families in the Sheridan community. To schedule an appointment give our staff a call today at 971-247-4042 and experience the SmileKeepers difference.
Multidisciplinary Movement Disorders Clinic
Patients who come to the Movement Disorders Clinic are seen by a movement disorders specialist, a neurologist who has extra training in evaluating and treating a person with Parkinsons disease. There are no blood or imaging tests that can confirm Parkinsons disease, so diagnosis is based on visible signs and symptoms, which are reviewed during a medical history and neurologic examination.
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How Is Yale Medicine’s Approach To Treating Parkinson’s Unique
Patients at the Yale Medicine Movement Disorders Program have access to the most advanced treatments and clinical trials for Parkinsons disease. Patients’ symptoms are thoroughly assessed before doctors create a treatment plan that will give the patient a good quality of life for as long as possible.
Physicians at Yale Medicine can perform and manage surgical procedures like deep brain stimulation.
Clinicians also understand that effective care goes beyond medication and surgery. Each doctor at the practice devotes considerable time to educate patients and caregivers. The doctors understand the nuanced challenges facing patients and how seemingly small adjustmentsfrom a change to a medications dose, to a new approach to coping with tremorscan make a big difference in the life of a Parkinsons patient. “We have all the resources needed to take care of patients,” Dr. Tinaz says.
Review Your Treatment Plan
Besides these basic questions, the most important way to choose the neurologist you will work with is by listening to the treatment plan she puts together for you. Does it make sense? Does your healthcare provider discuss it with you after considering your personal needs, goals, and symptoms? Does she mention that the treatment plan needs to be flexible and be re-evaluated over time? Does she try to integrate the plan into your everyday life and needs?
You need to use your common sense when choosing a Parkinson’s disease neurologist/specialist. You cannot healthcare provider yourself. You need to trust at some point that this highly trained specialist knows what he or she is doing.
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Treatments For Parkinson’s Disease
Although PD has no cure, the symptoms of the disease are treatable.
Because each patient experiences symptoms differently, physicians base each patients treatments on his or her specific symptoms. The Movement Disorders team works closely with other UT Southwestern specialists such as those in psychiatry and speech, physical, and occupational therapy to provide patients with individualized care to manage symptoms and maximize mobility, balance, and coordination.
Treatments for Parkinsons disease include:
- Medication: Many experts now believe that medication should be initiated immediately after diagnosis. Medication can help manage problems with walking, movement, and tremor by correcting or compensating for dopamine deficiency in the brain.
- Botulinum toxin injection: UT Southwestern specializes in the use of botulinum toxin injections for a variety of conditions that result in involuntary muscle contractions. Botulinum toxin weakens the muscle that it is injected into, thus promoting relaxation of muscle spasm. These injections can be a particularly effective treatment for PD patients with dystonia , eye twitching, and drooling. Patients who might benefit from botulinum toxin are examined to determine which muscles are overactive. The botulinum toxin is injected into only those muscles. Benefits gradually develop over seven to 10 days. The treatment is usually effective for three months, so injections are repeated several times a year to maintain ongoing benefits.
Parkinson’s Disease Specialists And Care Centers
Parkinsons disease can only be diagnosed once the motor symptoms become evident, even though there may be a lengthy pre-motor symptom period and the urgency of early detection and finding disease-modifying treatments is critical. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinsons disease, youll find advanced treatment and compassionate care from Northwestern Medicine specialists.
The Northwestern Medicine Parkinsons Disease and Movement Disorders Center specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of all movement disorders. Our goal is to help our patients manage their disease and improve their quality of life by working to reduce symptoms, prevent complications, and provide support and assistance to patients and their families.
We achieve this through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to care that includes experts in neurology, psychiatry and social work who work with patients to establish the best treatment plan possible. We also offer cutting-edge pharmacological, surgical, and clinical trials for patients with movement disorders.
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Working With Your Care Team
Once you have chosen members of your care team how can you best interact with them? You and your team want the same thing: They want to give you the best possible care they can and you want to receive the best care available. Why then do so many persons with PD not get the best possible care available? One reason is that communication between patient and care team breaks down.
How can you keep the communication lines between you and your healthcare team open? Here are a few tips.
For every visit to a health professional try to have the following information written down so that you can hand it over to the secretary instead of having to repeat it ad infinitum:
- Your name
- Insurance information and member number
- Date of birth social security number
- Current medications, including over the counter medications and any nutritional supplements you use, the dose you take, and the purpose of the medication
- Known allergies or adverse reactions to medications or common medical equipment
- Current health problems and dates of onset
Don’t forget that medication errors are all too common. You should learn a few ideas to reduce the chance of a medication error.
How Is Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosed
Currently there is no single laboratory or blood test to diagnose Parkinsons Disease. Instead, neurologists generally take a detailed history of the patients symptoms, conduct a physical examination, rule out current and past medications and note patients response to medication that cause improvement in symptoms. Parkinsons Disease can be difficult to diagnose accurately and your neurologist may request brain scans or laboratory tests to rule out other diseases.
Preparing For The Initial Visit
- Laboratory or other test results from previous treatment for Parkinsons symptoms.
- Films or CDs of brain imaging.
- Names and contact information for all doctors you see .
- Lists of your movement and non-motor symptoms .
- List of all medications you take and the actual pills, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements .
- Your insurance or Medicare card.
- Perhaps most importantly, bring a family member or friend who can take notes and help ask and answer questions. You will receive a lot of information during this visit. Later, it may help you to talk it over with the person who went with you.
The Benefits Of An Expert
General neurologists and specialists have a lot more experience diagnosing and treating Parkinsons than a general practitioner. Recent research underscores this point. A 2011 study showed that people newly diagnosed with Parkinsons who went to a neurologist lived longer than those who saw a primary care provider, they were less likely to need placement in a skilled nursing facility and they seemed less likely to have experienced injuries from falls.
Another study that year found that people diagnosed with PD by a neurologist were more likely to receive an anti-PD medication prescription immediately upon diagnosis the standard of care recommended by the American Academy of Neurology than those who were diagnosed by a non-neurologist.
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Finding The Right Movement Disorder Specialist
Having the right partnership with your doctor can make a difference, not just in managing your Parkinsons symptoms but also in how supported you feel overall. Its important for you to feel confident in that relationship and to have access to a treatment team that meets your needs.
Finding a good movement disorder specialist is a lot like hunting for a good dentist or a good mechanic: You need to ask around. Your primary care doctor or neurologist may be a good place to start. Or ask people in your support group, if you attend one, whom they see. You can also try contacting one of the national Parkinson’s organizations.
In choosing a doctor, consider how much the doctor knows and how well the doctor listens. Remember, no two cases of Parkinson’s disease are alike. Having a doctor who understands this, and who listens to you, is crucial.
With any Parkinson’s doctor, you are a partner in your care. Educate yourself about PD. Parkinson’s is different for everyone, and you can’t get the best care unless you’re specific about what you are experiencing. It’s okay to ask why particular treatments or therapies are being recommended , and it’s okay to get another opinion.
The MDS Movement Disorders Specialist Finder can help you locate a doctor in your area.
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What Is Parkinsons Disease
You might have heard the term Parkinsons disease when famous figures like Michael J. Fox and Alan Alda announce their diagnoses. What you might not know, however, is how Parkinsons disease affects a person.
The disease is neurodegenerative, meaning it affects your nervous system. It targets specific neurons in the brain called substantia nigra that produce dopamine. Dopamine is a brain chemical that sends messages between nerve cells and that helps modulate movement.
When these nerve cells abnormally break down or die, lower dopamine levels cause abnormal brain activity, reducing your movement and causing other symptoms of Parkinsons disease.
Doctors Who Treat Parkinsons Disease
Primary care physicians are often the first to see patients with symptoms of Parkinsons disease. Symptoms of Parkinsons disease mimic those of other conditions, and Parkinsons disease is widely misdiagnosed. Since early and expert intervention can ensure proper diagnosis and effective treatment, it is important to be evaluated at an advanced brain center as soon as possible.
The multidisciplinary team at the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Centers Movement Disorders service expert neurosurgeons along with their team of physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, physical therapists, and pain management specialists provide comprehensive, integrated care for patients with Parkinsons disease and many other conditions of the brain. Patients receive a complete continuum of care, from diagnosis to treatment and recovery.
We generally begin with nonsurgical, non-invasive options to treat Parkinsons disease, usually managed by one of our expert movement disorders neurologists . For patients who do need surgery, we offer the latest in minimally invasive and non-invasive surgical techniques using state-of-the-art equipment. Patients respond faster, have less pain, and get back to their normal daily activities sooner than they could with older surgical methods.
At the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center, patients with Parkinsons disease may also be seen by:
- Associate Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery 718-780-5176
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