Parkinson's Disease - Topic Overview
There are no lab or blood tests that
can help your doctor know whether you have Parkinson’s. But you may have tests
to help your doctor rule out other diseases that could be causing your
symptoms. For example, you might have an
MRI to look for signs of a
How is it treated?
At this time, there is no cure
for Parkinson's disease. But there are several types of medicines that can
control the symptoms and make the disease easier to live with.
You may not even need treatment if your symptoms are mild. Your doctor
may wait to prescribe medicines until your symptoms start to get in the way of
your daily life. Your doctor will adjust your medicines as your symptoms get
worse. You may need to take several medicines to get the best results.
Levodopa (also called L-dopa) is the best drug for controlling symptoms
of Parkinson's disease. But it can cause problems if you use it for a long time
or at a high dose. Sometimes doctors use other medicines to treat people in the
early stages of the disease. This lets them delay the use of levodopa. But
other medicines have more side effects and don't control symptoms as well as
levodopa. And the long-term problems caused by medicine are the same, no matter
what medicine is used first.1 The decision to start
taking medicine, and which medicine to take, will be different for each person
with Parkinson's disease. Your doctor will be able to help you make these
In some cases, a treatment called deep brain stimulation
may also be used. For this treatment, a surgeon places wires in your brain. The
wires carry tiny electrical signals to the parts of the brain that control
movement. These little signals can help those parts of the brain work
There are many things you can do at home that can help you
stay as independent and healthy as possible. Eat healthy foods. Get the rest
you need. Make wise use of your energy. Get some exercise every day. Physical
therapy and occupational therapy can also help.
How will Parkinson's disease affect your life?
Finding out that you have a long-term, progressive disease changes your
life. It is normal to have a wide range of feelings. You may feel angry,
afraid, sad, or worried about what lies ahead. It may help to keep a few things
- No one can know for sure how your disease
will progress. But usually this disease progresses slowly. Some people live for
many years with only minor symptoms, such as a tremor in one hand.
- Many people who have Parkinson's disease can and do keep working
for years. As the disease gets worse, you may need to change how you work. You
can get support to learn ways to adapt.
- It is important to take
an active role in your health care. Learn all you can about the disease. Find a
doctor you trust and can work with. Go to all your appointments, and get all
the treatment your doctor suggests.
Depression is common in
people who have Parkinson’s. If you feel very sad or hopeless, talk to your
doctor or see a counselor. Antidepressant medicines can help.
can make a big difference to know that you are not alone. Ask your doctor about
Parkinson’s support groups, or look for online groups or message
- Parkinson’s affects more than just the person who has it.
It also affects your loved ones. Be sure to include them in your decisions.
Help them learn about the disease and get the support they need.
Frequently Asked Questions