Finding The Right Doctor
Managing Parkinsons disease well can be challenging. Finding a doctor whos well-versed in PD and will help guide you on the journey makes it easier.
Its natural to begin by discussing initial symptoms with your family doctor or internist, who may refer you to a general neurologist or one specialized in movement disorders to rule out Parkinsons.
The Parkinsons Foundation recommends people diagnosed with PD seek out a movement disorders specialist one who can become a key player on your healthcare team. For people living far from an academic medical center or a specialist in private practice, we recommend a knowledgeable, nearby general neurologist for most of your care and then traveling a longer distance two to three times each year to see a specialist. Finding a specialist can seem like a daunting task, but it doesnt have to be. The Parkinsons Foundation can guide you step by step through the process of finding one.
Risk Factors For Parkinsons Disease
- Age people over 60 years old are more likely to develop Parkinsons disease, and the risk increases as people age.
- Gender men are more likely to develop Parkinsons disease than women.
- Family history if you have a family history of Parkinsons disease, you are more likely to develop it yourself.
- Exposure to toxins research has linked herbicides or pesticides to an increased risk of developing Parkinsons disease.
- Race Caucasians are more likely to develop Parkinsons disease.
- Living in a rural location people who live in a rural location are more likely to develop Parkinsons.
Treatment For Parkinsons Disease
Treatment for Parkinsons disease is always challenging, and according to modern medical science, this condition cannot be cured, but medication can help control your symptoms, often dramatically. In some more aggressive cases, surgical intervention may be recommended.
Your attending physician and neurologist may also advise some important lifestyle changes, especially exercising and occupational therapy. Physical therapy modalities that emphases on balance and stretching are also important. A speech therapist can help improve your language problems.
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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.
Natural Remedies And Treatments For Parkinsons Disease That Get Powerful Results
To successfully treat the symptoms of Parkinsons, andeven reverse this disorder, there are 4 things you must do
a) Increase your natural dopamine levels
b) Detox your body of all heavy metals andpollutants
c) Reduce all inflammation in the body,especially the brain
d) Repair the neuro pathways
These 10 natural treatments and remedies do all four. Solets not waste any more time then. Here they are in order of importance
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Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
The most common symptoms of Parkinsons disease are:
- Tremors that are felt in the arms, legs, fingers, head, jaw or neck while at rest
- Slowed movement and walking or dragging feet while walking
- Muscle stiffness in the trunk or limbs that can intensify during movement
- Stooped posture or balance problems
- Inability to perform automatic movements such as blinking or smiling
- Slurred or other speech issues
Diagnosis of Parkinsons disease
Parkinsons disease can be diagnosed in an exam with a neurologist. During the exam, he or she will take a full medical history, perform a full physical and neurological exam and evaluate your symptoms. Your doctor may order additional testing to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions that cause similar symptoms. Other testing could include:
- Medication a medication called carbidopa-levodopa can be tried to see if the brain can turn the medication into dopamine if your symptoms notably improve while on the medication, you will likely be diagnosed with Parkinsons disease.
- Blood tests Parkinsons disease cant be diagnosed with a blood test, but blood tests can rule out other conditions that may cause similar symptoms.
- Imaging tests tests such as PET , MRI , ultrasound or SPECT scans can rule out other conditions that present with similar symptoms.
What Is Parkinsons Disease
A progressive neurological disorder, Parkinsons disease predominantly affects the nerve cells that produce dopamine in a region of the brain known as the substantia nigra. When dopamine levels decrease, abnormal brain activity occurs, which then leads to the signs of Parkinsons disease.
PD typically begins in middle and later life, with those 60 years and older at higher risk.
There are many causes that contribute to the risk of PD although few neurologists take the time to investigate them. Instead, typically they inform their patients there is no cure and inform their patients that while disorder itself is not fatal, it greatly impacts function and quality of life, and the lack of mobility associated with Parkinsons disease can lead to early death.
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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.
Choose A Neurologist Who Specializes In Movement Disorders
Your first task is to find a neurologist who specializes in movement disorders . You need someone who can tell you what to anticipate and who can put you in touch with the best resources and treatment options available. This neurologist will know when to start medications and when to adjust the dosages of those medications to achieve maximum benefit and so forth. So how do you find such a specialist?
First, ask your primary care healthcare provider for a referral to a Parkinson’s specialist. Your primary care healthcare provider will certainly be able to point you in the right direction.
You can also find a local support group for Parkinson’s patients and ask those individuals for recommendations on specialists. You can get information on local support groups as well as local specialists from the local or regional chapters of a national Parkinson’s disease organization. If you can’t find a support group in your community, check out the online support communities for people with Parkinson’s disease who live in your area. You may even be able to get an idea of a neurologist who would meld well with your own personality by asking questions and hearing others talk about their experiences.
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Parkinsons Disease Homeopathy Treatment
Homeopathic medicines treat a patient as one big system. That means when a patient begins our homeopathic treatment forParkinsons disease, there is an improvement not only in the symptoms of Parkinsons but general health improvement of the patient as well. Many patients who are receiving homeopathic treatment forParkinsons disease report general improvement after a couple of weeks of healing.
What Are The Treatments For Parkinson’s Disease
There is no cure for PD, and no treatment prevents the disease from progressing. However, treatments can usually ease symptoms.
- At first, you may not need any treatment when the symptoms are mild. A specialist may simply see you every now and then to monitor how the disease is progressing.
- A medicine that eases symptoms is usually started when symptoms become troublesome.
- Therapies such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy may also be useful as the disease progresses.
- Surgery may be an option for severe cases.
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What To Look For In A Parkinsons Disease Neurologist
Here is a checklist of basic questions for your prospective neurologist:
- How long have you worked in the field? How many Parkinson’s patients do you see a year?
- Do you have special training in movement disorders? Are you board-certified in neurology?
- Who do I see when you are not available?
- What hospital do you use for treating patients?
It’s important to understand that the online rating systems for healthcare providers are not very accurate. Or they are, in some ways, and it is not the information you are looking for. For example, many of these ratings rank a healthcare provider high if he is always on time and never backed up. If you think about the clinic setting and the inability to really control what happens in a typical day, and the healthcare provider who is always time may be the healthcare provider who never has that extra minute to give you when you need it. These ratings also often include how easy it is to get an appointment.
Of course, the healthcare provider who is exceptional that everyone wants to see ranks poor on this measure, and the healthcare provider who doesn’t have a strong following ranks high. If you do look at these rankings, make sure to read the comments, and realize that one bad comment could simply represent one patient having a bad day after being given a diagnosis he didn’t want.
Finding Other Parkinson’s Caregivers
Your will be your main caregiver for Parkinson’s. But other doctors and therapists will also be important. For instance, you might also see a specialist in internal medicine or geriatrics , a doctor who specializes in treating elderly patients.
Other caregivers you may see include:
- Speech pathologist: This person can help you use your voice better and improve your speech. Speech pathologists also treat swallowing problems that are common with Parkinson’s.
- Physical therapist: This caregiver can help you maintain muscle strength and stay flexible. also can help relieve , improve balance, and prevent falls. You may work with this therapist at a physical therapy center and continue therapy on your own at home.
- : This therapist can help you remain independent at work and at home. You may learn safer and easier ways to dress, bathe, use devices, and move around your environment.
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Other Medicines Used For Pd
- Catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitors are relatively new medicines. They include tolcapone, entacapone and opicapone. These help to stop the breakdown of levodopa by the body, so more of each dose of levodopa can get into the brain to work. A COMT inhibitor is sometimes advised in addition to levodopa when symptoms are not well controlled by levodopa alone.
- Other medicines are sometimes used to help relieve symptoms. They have various effects which try to correct the chemical imbalance in the brain. They include beta-blockers, amantadine and anticholinergic medicines. One of these may be tried when symptoms are mild. However, you are likely to need levodopa or a dopamine agonist at some point.
Various things may influence which medicine is advised. For example, your age, severity of symptoms, how well your symptoms respond to treatment, if side-effects develop, other medicines that you may take, etc. Your specialist will advise on the best medicine for you to take. Whatever medicine or medicines you are prescribed, read the leaflet in the medicine packet for a full list of possible side-effects. Mention to your doctor if you develop a troublesome side-effect. A modification of the dose, dose schedule, or the type of medication, may be possible to help keep side-effects to a minimum.
Is The Doctor Benefiting From Pharmaceutical Payments
While I would not judge the quality of treatment provided by a doctor solely on the fact that they have taken money from pharmaceutical companies, I believe the potential exists that a doctor might be swayed to recommend certain treatments over others.
One doctor I visited received payments from pharmaceutical companies averaging over $200,000 for a two-year period. That doctor received the second-largest payment from the pharmaceutical company that produced the medication I was prescribed during those two years.
Treatment Of Parkinsons Disease
There is not a cure for Parkinsons disease. The goal of treatment is to maintain quality of life and reduce the severity of symptoms. At Mercy Health, a team of specialists including neurologists, neurosurgeons, social workers, speech pathologists, physical therapists, dietitians and internists who work together to treat Parkinsons disease.
A common treatment for Parkinson’s disease in deep brain stimulation. Deep brain stimulation is a neurological procedure used to treat late-stage Parkinsons disease patients who are not responding to medications. Goals of the procedure are to reduce symptoms such as tremors, rigidity, stiffness, slowed movement and walking problems.
During the procedure, a lead is placed in the area of the brain that is causing your symptoms. The lead is attached to a pulse generator that is implanted in the chest. The pulse generator sends signals to the brain that block the nerve signals that cause Parkinsons disease symptoms.
Medication for treating Parkinson’s disease
The other most common type of treatment for Parkinson’s disease is medication. There are a variety of medications that may be used to treat Parkinsons disease. Parkinsons disease medications include:
Over time, medications may become less effective in treating the condition and may have to be used in conjunction with other medications. Or, dosages may have to be titrated up or down depending on symptoms.
Who Is Brain Tune Up For
Looking for answers can be frustrating, especially if you get the same ones over and over again. If you are looking for an alternative functional medicine treatment for Parkinsons disease, one thats effective and improves the quality of your life, Brain Tune Up! is for you.
Here are some of the other reasons people join Dr. Sharlins program:
- They want a drug-free solution
- They want to work with someone they can trust an experienced professional with the right qualifications who knows what they are talking about
- They want to find the root cause of their condition, rather than settling for band-aid solutions
- They want personalized care that views each patient as a whole individual
- They believe in the benefit of a functional medicine approach and want to try it for themselves
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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.
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.
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How Is Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosed
There is no test that can prove that you have PD. The diagnosis is based on you having the typical symptoms . In the early stage of the disease, when symptoms are mild, it may be difficult for a doctor to say if you definitely have PD. As the symptoms gradually become worse, the diagnosis often becomes more clear.
PD is sometimes confused with other conditions. Some conditions can give ‘Parkinsonism’ features – that is, symptoms similar to PD but caused by other conditions. For example, some medicines used to treat other conditions can cause side-effects which resemble symptoms of PD. Some rare brain disorders can also cause similar symptoms.
Therefore, it is normal practice in the UK to be referred to a specialist if PD is suspected. The specialist will be used to diagnosing PD and ruling out other causes of the symptoms. They will usually be either a neurologist or a doctor specialising in elderly care. If there is still doubt about the diagnosis, sometimes a scan of the brain is carried out. This helps to differentiate PD from some other conditions that can cause Parkinsonism features. Other tests sometimes needed include blood tests and tests of your sense of smell.