If you’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, you might worry about how uncontrolled motor symptoms and other physiological abnormalities will impact your daily life. While medication is often the first-line treatment, not every patient responds favorably to this drug. Some medications can cause undesirable side effects that can worsen the condition of Parkinson’s, while others are useless at treating its underlying causes.
In some cases, however, medication can help control the development of Parkinson’s. This is why it’s so important to thoroughly discuss medications and treatments with your doctor. You should also find out what your treatment options are in terms of diagnosis, prognosis and management of the disease. Your medical history provides information about the types of treatments used in the past and about your risk for developing new problems. Knowing these things can help you work with your doctor to establish the best course of treatment for your particular case.
To make Parkinson’s disease a lot easier to understand, it helps to know what the disease is, how it develops and what causes it. Parkinson’s is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that affects a person’s ability to move his or her limbs. It’s a progressive disease that gets worse over time, meaning that even the slightest symptoms might be enough to set off a full-blown episode. Early symptoms include having a tremor (a series of jerking movements of the arms and legs) combined with decreased motor coordination and slowing of brain function. As the disease progresses, more symptoms become apparent.
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One of the symptoms that are the most frequently reported is a tremor that begins in early childhood and sometimes does not seem to stop. Other symptoms of Parkinson’s include rigidity of the muscles (that means you may not be able to bend over or stand without feeling pain), an increasingly difficult time performing simple tasks, brash movements (that means you may not be able to get dressed or sit down without feeling strain), severe foot or mouth pain and loss of balance. Since most of these signs are cause by a breakdown of neurological function, they mean that there is already something wrong inside the body. Signs of possible problems inside the body include difficulty breathing, dizziness, poor muscle tone, persistent sweating, urinary or bowel incontinence and even liver or kidney failure. If any of these problems are found, your doctor will order tests to determine what, if anything, is wrong.
Parkinson’s disease affects the body’s neurological system and gradually makes it unable to control certain movement functions, so the key to treating and eventually curing it is understanding the way it progresses and responding appropriately as it progresses. Early diagnosis gives the patient a better chance of successfully dealing with the condition, since he or she can begin to actively monitor the changes and difficulties occurring. As the disease progresses, it’s important to continue monitoring the progress through periodic clinic visits and office visits, as well as keeping the patient’s weight and body mass index in check.
The first treatment options for Parkinson’s include medications and therapy. Anti-depressants can relieve tremor-like symptoms and reduce overall muscle weakness. In cases where the disease is not triggered by a known triggering factor, anti-depressive drugs are not effective, and instead anti-anxiety drugs may work. While these medications do offer relief from the initial symptoms of Parkinson’s, they do nothing to slow or reverse the progression of the disorder. For this reason, many patients choose to supplement these medications with various other therapies, including exercise and yoga.