No known treatment can stop or reverse the breakdown of nerve cells that causes Parkinson's disease. But there are many treatments that can help your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Your age, work status, family, and living situation can all affect decisions about when to begin treatment, what types of treatment to use, and when to make changes in treatment. As your medical condition changes, you may need regular changes in your treatment to balance quality-of-life issues, side effects of treatment, and treatment costs.
You'll need to see members of your health care team regularly (every 3 to 6 months, or as directed) for adjustments in your treatment as your condition changes.
Treatments for Parkinson's include:
- Medicines, such as levodopa and dopamine agonists. This is the most common treatment for Parkinson's disease. For more information, see Medications.
- Home treatment. There are many steps you can take at home to make dealing with the symptoms of Parkinson's disease easier, such as getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet. For more information, see Home Treatment.
- Surgery. Brain surgery, for example deep brain stimulation (DBS), may be considered when medicine fails to control symptoms of Parkinson's disease or causes severe or disabling side effects. For more information, see Surgery.
- Speech therapySpeech therapy . Speech therapists use breathing and speech exercises to help you overcome the soft, imprecise speech and monotone voice that develop in advanced Parkinson's disease.
- Physical therapyPhysical therapy . Therapists may help you improve your walking and reduce your risk of falling.
- Occupational therapyOccupational therapy. Therapists can help you learn new ways to do things for yourself so you can stay independent longer.
- Treatment for mental problems. You or your family members may notice that you begin to have problems with memory, problem solving, learning, and other mental functions. When these problems keep you from doing daily activities, it is called dementia. There are medicines that can help treat dementia in people with Parkinson's.
Your doctor, other health professionals, or Parkinson's support groups can help you get emotional support and education about the illness. This is important both early and throughout the course of the disease.
Palliative care is a kind of care for people who have a serious illness. It's different from care to cure your illness. Its goal is to improve your quality of life-not just in your body but also in your mind and spirit.
You can have this care along with treatment to cure your illness. You can also have it if treatment to cure your illness no longer seems like a good choice.
Palliative care providers will work to help control pain or side effects. They may help you decide what treatment you want or don't want. And they can help your loved ones understand how to support you.
If you're interested in palliative care, talk to your doctor.
For more information, see the topic Palliative Care.