Once a person has been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, he or she should build a game plan. The game plan should include at least one goal such as reducing symptoms, minimizing side effects, maintaining daily living activities, or maximizing independence. Once a goal is chosen, the patient, with the help of his or her doctor or physical and occupational therapists, should create a schedule of exercise and a nutrition, sleep, and support plan.
Exercise helps the patient keep control of his or her movements by reducing gait problems, improving flexibility, and increasing muscle strength and balance, among other healthy benefits. Having the proper diet can help people living with Parkinson's Disease avoid bone fractures, dehydration, bowel impaction, and weight loss. Sleep—good sleep—helps keep the body and mind functioning. Because nightmares are a common symptom of Parkinson's, patients should avoid stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine and go to bed and get up at the same time every day so that the body can get used to a sleep schedule.
Surgery can be used to treat Parkinson's Disease, but because the location of the target selection is different in each patient, it is only generally located until the brain is opened. Once the brain is opened, the location of the target selection is pinned down. When the surgery is successful, the patient may have to do some post-operative rehabilitation on the affected limb. The patient should also continue taking the Parkinson's Disease medications.
Once the target is confirmed, a test lesion is made for one minute. During the time of the test lesion, the patient is tested for motor dexterity, sensation, and verbal skills. If the tremor improves and no other neurological problems occur, a permanent lesion is made at 75 degrees for one minute. While making the lesion, the patient's neurological status is monitored, and the procedure is stopped if there is any type of impairment or negative changes. If the lesion is not large enough, based on physiologic responses and recordings during the operation, the lesion can be enlarged.
In addition to drug treatment for Parkinson's Disease, there are also protective treatments. Drug treatments are symptomatic treatments, as they treat the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. Protective treatments or neuroprotecetive therapies try to stop the disease, or at least delay the start of the disease.
The substantia nigra is the part of the brain that is involved in the production of dopamine. Dopamine is the substance that keeps the joints lubricated. Cell loss in the substantia nigra is the actual cause of the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. Neuroprotective treatments have been found to have some positive effects early in disease onset.
Selegiline inhibits the enzyme MAO-B. MAO-B breaks down dopamine, so the inhibition of MAO-B prolongs the dopamine action in the brain. While this drug has not been proven to stop Parkinson's Disease, in theory, it should slow the disease.
Coenzyme Q-10 affects the energy-generating mechanisms in cells. Cells must have energy to live and to work. Mitochondria is what gives the cells energy (it is the cell's “batteries”). Because the coenzyme Q-10 affects the cells, it can possibly help treat Parkinson's disease by “forcing” the cells to continue doing their jobs, which is producing and dispersing dopamine.
Maintaining muscle tone and function can help with some of the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. If a patient is on medication for Parkinson's, an exercise program designed for that patient's particular symptoms can complement that treatment. Prior to starting an exercise regimen, a patient should visit his or her doctor or physical therapist, as the doctor or therapist can help determine which types of exercises will best benefit the patient.
In addition to 10 tips (link: http://www.cnsonline.org/www/archive/parkins/park-03.html) to help a Parkinson's patient walk and keep balance, there are exercises to help with the following:
Parkinson's Disease is a chronic, progressive disease, which means that, as time goes on, the symptoms of the disease become more advanced. Because some patients have problems with psychological adjustment to the diagnosis, additional difficulties can manifest:
Patients with Parkinson's Disease have motor function degradation and loss because the brain does not produce enough dopamine, which is what keeps the joints lubricated. In addition to physical and psychological treatments, drug treatment is available. Drug treatment aims to produce dopamine, and while it won't make the disease go away, it will have a considerably favorable effect on the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease.
There are many types of different therapy that can be done to make it easier to cope with multiple sclerosis, but there is no cure for the disease. For treating secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis, a number of drugs are available: particularly Rebif®, Betaseron® and Avonex®. These drugs have shown some impact on how fast secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis advances.
There are also disease-modifying drugs. These drugs regulate the immune system and appears to correct some things that are fundamental to the advancement of multiple sclerosis.
Chemotherapy also slows multiple sclerosis. Novantrone® is a common chemotherapy drug used in multiple sclerosis patients, but if a patient takes too much of it, the patient can suffer from heart damage. The doses of Novantrone® allowed over a lifetime is regulated. Chemotherapy kills the cells the contribute to multiple sclerosis, and the hope is that, when using chemotherapy, new, healthy cells grow back.
When trying to choose a type of drug therapy for multiple sclerosis, research all of the side effects for all of the drugs. With the help of your doctor, choose the least damaging drug that can help you.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|