Diagnosing and Treating Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a devastating and debilitating disease. You will observe your loved one trembling, shaking, displaying both behavioral and mood changes, and with an increased slowness in their movements. Knowing these symptoms could help your loved one see a doctor sooner in the progression, and if the final diagnosis is truly Parkinson’s disease you will be able to respond quickly getting them the help they need.

Parkinson's diseasePatients will first ask, “What is the cause of Parkinson’s disease?” Research has shown us that Parkinson’s disease is caused by the deterioration of the brain, but unfortunately we still have a lot to learn about the true Parkinson’s disease causes. We know that there is a lack of dopamine that results in the loss of control of the body’s movements. There is evidence that Parkinson’s causes could be genetics, but for others suffering from it there is no known cause or events that have a clear connection to the onset of Parkinson’s. A relationship has not been established between Parkinson’s and any other factors, although future research will continue to explore the connection between certain medications, drugs, and toxins in the environment.

This disease cannot be reversed, so all Parkinson’s disease therapy is centered on improving the patients’ daily living by making them stronger. Physical therapy and occupational therapy are the most common approaches for Parkinson’s therapy. Physical therapy will focus on building strength and endurance so that the patient can physically perform daily tasks, and be able to move on their own or with little assistance.

Occupational therapy will focus on daily living and tasks that they will be able to perform on their own. Being able to teach both the patient and his or her support system to move about and compensate for the slower movements and physical shaking will be the best approach to giving them the tools they need to move forward. There is no cure for Parkinson’s but that doesn’t mean that the patient can’t continue to live with the symptoms with some assistance. Therapy services can be provided at home or in an office setting, based on what is best for the patient.

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder that will become worse over time, but with early detection and the appropriate therapy a Parkinson’s patient can continue to function on their own for quite a while. As with all other conditions, the proper medications, diet, and exercise will be important tools in slowing down the degeneration.

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