Managing Parkinson’s Disease

The degenerative disorder of the central nervous system known as Parkinson’s disease (PD) affects the motor skills and speech of the patient diagnosed with it. The disease is characterized by tremors, slowing of physical movements, muscle rigidity and also loss of physical movement.

There is no cure for Parkinson’s so the most the patient can expect is to be able to manage the symptoms and to maintain the highest possible quality of life for as long as possible. Minimizing disability, and reducing any side effects from drug therapy are goals to achieve the best quality of life.

Drugs are necessary in order to manage symptoms. They cannot stop the progression of the disease. There are many different drugs that can be used at different stages of the disease, where one drug stops working another is used to try to manage symptoms. Parlodel, tolcapone, pramipexole, trihexyphenidl, selegiline are all used in drug therapy for Parkinson’s. The patient may also be advised to make some lifestyle changes including rest nutrition and exercise.

Those with Parkinson’s should eat smaller more frequent meals and make sure to include fiber into their diet. If fiber in foods is difficult to swallow, the individual should take fiber supplements. Balance and mobility can be improved through exercise. Strength building exercises are especially helpful to those with Parkinson’s disease.

A physical therapist can show which exercises are the ones that will help with the particular symptoms the patient are experiencing. It is important when exercising not to overtax yourself, because incurring injuries while exercising can put you in a worse situation.

Other parts of managing the disease include physical therapy, and speech therapy.

It is best to be seen by a doctor who specializes in the care of patients with Parkinson’s disease. Those who have severe forms of Parkinson’s disease or when the disease is fast progressing may have no other option but to turn to surgery.

The surgical procedures used to aid Parkinson patients are Pallidotomy, which uses an electric probe to destroy a portion of the brain that becomes overactive and may cause some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s; thalamotomy, which involves the removal of the thalamus part of the brain which is responsible for involuntary movements; thalamic stimulation, which uses an electrode wire placed into the thalamus and connected to a pulse generator placed under the skin in the chest area; and also a deep brain stimulation, a procedure used to destroy small regions of the brain that cause uncontrollable movements.

There has been some research into the benefits of taking nicotine in order to control movement difficulties. Nicotine gum or nicotine patches have been studies. Nicotine actually helps the dopaminergic neurons to survive. When Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed approximately 80% to 90% of the brain cells that produce dopamine have been destroyed. Because nicotine is believed to protect these cells, by using nicotine individuals can prevent the disease.

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Originally posted 2008-10-28 18:41:35. We hope you have enjoyed this Post From the Past!

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