Parkinson's treatment options begin with early diagnosis

by the Editor, SeniorInsider | May 31, 2011

The symptoms of Parkinson’s tend to worsen as the condition progresses. Therefore, it is important to get quality Parkinson’s health care as early as possible.  This disease impacts the nervous system and it effects the movements of the body.   While there are a few early signs of the illness that are obvious, such as a slight tremor in one of the hands, there are other signs to watch for as well.  If you determine that you may have signs that point to Parkinson’s, it is important to get to the doctor as soon as possible to discuss potential Parkinson’s treatment options.

The First Step to Parkinson’s Health Care

While there are no definitive tests available to diagnose Parkinson’s, your doctor will do a thorough exam and consider your medical history in order to determine if you have this disease.   Part of your exam will be strictly neurological, and your physician will assess your walking and coordination.  Your doctor will also determine whether you have at least two of the three traditional signs of the disease, which include tremors, slowing and rigidity of muscles.  If it is determined that you have Parkinson’s, then your Parkinson’s health care regime can commence.

Rigidity and Tremors

When you first start experiencing signs of Parkinson’s disease, they will take place on just one side of the body.  Later they will likely progress to both sides.  One of the most obvious first signs that you will see is a tremor when your hand is at rest.  You may also see this tremor in your leg or a foot.  Sometimes trembling of the lip or jaw is another sign that you should look into Parkinson’s health care.

Right along with tremors, you may experience rigidity.  This type of muscle stiffness makes parts of your body very jerky.  In fact, rigidity may make it difficult to do common activities.   It is often also common for those with early signs of Parkinson’s to experience a slowing down of activities.  

Other Signs that Necessitate Looking into Parkinson’s Treatment Options

There are a variety of other early signs of Parkinson’s and the exact symptoms tend to be different from one person to the next.  Some of these symptoms you may not notice initially or you may chalk them up to just signs of daily wear and tear on the body.  For example, Parkinson’s can cause fatigue, disturbances during sleeping and also gastrointestinal issues.  You may also start to experience slurred speech.  

Another symptom of Parkinson’s that is often overlooked is depression or even anxiety.  Sometimes Parkinson’s patients have panic attacks for no apparent reason or will feel depressed and uninterested in normal activities.

Parkinson’s Treatment Options

While young people rarely get Parkinson’s disease, the risk of this illness escalates, as we get older.  In general, men are more likely to get Parkinson’s than women.  There is currently no cure for the disease, but there are medications, which can be very helpful.

One drug that is often used as one of the most popular Parkinson’s treatment options is called Levodopa.  If a doctor determines that your conditions get better when you take this medication, the diagnosis of Parkinson’s may be confirmed clinically.

Levodopa converts to dopamine once it is taken.  In fact, most drugs that are current Parkinson’s treatment options work off the principle that increasing the amount of dopamine in the body will assist with better walking and movement.

Consider Lifestyle Changes as Part of Your Parkinson’s Health Care Plan

Not all Parkinson’s treatment options include medication.  Physical therapy as well as regular exercise can also be very beneficial.  Further, it maintaining a healthy diet is key.   Through these means, you can still maintain a good quality of life even with this disease.



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