Parkinson's Disease - Topic Overview
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. But it can cause problems if you use it for a long time
or at a high dose. So doctors sometimes use other medicines to treat people in the early stages of the disease.
The decision to start
taking medicine, and which medicine to take, will be different for each person. 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.
Finding out that you have a long-term, progressive disease can lead to 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
- Usually this disease progresses slowly. Some people live for
many years with only minor symptoms.
- Many people are able to keep working
for years. As the disease gets worse, you may need to change how you work.
- It is important to take
an active role in your health care. Find a
doctor you trust and can work with.
- Depression is common in
people who have Parkinson's. If you feel very sad or hopeless, talk to your
doctor or see a counselor.
can make a big difference to know that you're 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.