Parkinson"s Disease - Things to Consider

Being faced with the diagnosis of Parkinson's or any other disease is a frightening, but don't allow that initially felt fear, confusion, or even denial to cloud your judgment.

Doctor's are great at diagnosing diseases, but they 100's of patients and together with all of the paperwork and insurance headache, they tend to not personally get involved with each patient.

Meaning that you need to be the "captain of your own ship". You need to consider a number of things, such as:

Finding the "right" doctor, or doctors, for you. Develop a team of doctors, therapist, etc., that you trust and enjoy speaking with.

Join a support group near you and be on the look out for forums on the Internet where you can "chat" with others similarly affected so as to learn about solutions to problems and new treatments that you and your doctor may not be aware of.

All of the questions and thoughts to consider here are for you to ask yourself, your doctor(s), and other Parkinson's patients who you get to know via support groups and/or Internet forums.

* Why did I get this disease?

Might have been a genetic predisposition for them to develop it or environmental factors that played a role, such as where they lived or elements of their workplace.

Or were lifestyle choices such as diet, personal habits and/or exercise to blame?

* What treatments are available?

If the symptoms are mild some doctors may prescribe nothing more than change in diet or suggest including more exercise into the patient's day-to-day routine.

For symptoms to are more severe the doctor may prescribe medication. Levadopa (Sinemet ® ) is the most common, but newer drugs, Requip ® and Mirapex ® are being prescribed now days too. However medications don't always have the same effect on patients, so while on drug may help one person considerably, it may not work for someone else.

In some cases, usually the severest, surgery is the best option.

* Along with the benefits of the medications, don't forget the potential side effects.

Parkinson's' sufferers are often going through enough discomfort so you must make sure that you are aware of and prepared for any potential side effects of a medicine.

* Not all Parkinson patient are the same in the symptoms they suffer and some respond to medicines and other treatments differently.

What are the short and long term benefits of each treatment, is there anything that can be done to decrease the potential side effects of the treatment (particularly medicines)?

Don't just "sit back" and let your doctor decide everything, ask questions of your doctor but also be willing to allow yourself to accept what your doctor is recommending.

* Look at Yahoo,, and BrainTalk Communities which are my favorite forums.

You can ask other members if there any alternative and/or non-drug related options that could help your condition?

You may find that some of the members have made modifications to their lifestyles (i.e. diet, exercise, reducing stress levels, etc.) that are helping them physically and emotionally to cope better with the progression of the disease.

Are there particular foods, drinks, over the counter medications and/or vitamin supplements that I should stay away from or look into?

Your health is not as it once was, even the "common" colds aren't so "common" any longer.

* You don't want any adverse drug reaction when your treatment and medications begin, be very careful about what you do and don't put into your body, especially supplements and other not so common over the counter vitamins and medications. Be sure to speak with your pharmacist.

* Can your doctor, your support group, or the Internet forum members recommend any non-traditional (or naturopathic) techniques for relaxation and reducing stress levels?

Look at city services, the local junior college for classes in yoga, meditation, reflexology, massage, deep breathing, etc.

The local support group may be aware of classes that would be of help to you.

* Are there any trials or clinical studies that you can be a part of?

If the idea interest you be sure to speak with your doctor, your support group and be on the look out, via the Internet, yourself.

Clinical studies need willing participants and these studies occasionally have very good results for the participants.
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