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Parkinson’s Therapy: Supportive Therapies, Medications & Surgery

Parkinson’s disease is a complex and chronic disease that affects patients’ quality of daily life and even their families. Therefore, it is complicated to deal with this disease. At the Health & Care Professional Network Center, we provide different services to these patients that can be useful in various aspects of their lives. Occupational and physical therapy and skilled nurses who can effectively control symptoms such as urinary incontinence are just some of this center’s services that can be valuable for patients with Parkinson’s.

In this article, we focus on medications and surgery as effective options in Parkinson’s therapy and explain the influential role of home health care centers in managing the disease.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive and neurological disease that affects a patient’s movement. The symptoms of this disease begin gradually. For example, at first, there may be an imperceptible tremor in one hand. Although tremor is a common symptom, in this disorder, the muscles gradually tighten, and the movement slows down. Unfortunately, over time, the symptoms of the disease worsen. It is true that Parkinson’s is not cured, but the good news is that medications and supportive therapies can significantly improve your symptoms.

When to See a Doctor

Call your physician right away if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Tremor
  • Slowed movement (bradykinesia)
  • Rigid muscles
  • Impaired posture and balance
  • Loss of automatic movements
  • Change in speech and writing

Having these symptoms does not necessarily mean having Parkinson’s, and there may be other reasons. Your doctor will make the necessary assessments and address your concerns.

How Are Parkinson’s Symptoms Controlled?

Parkinson’s may not be treated, but its symptoms can be managed. The following options are now available to control the symptoms of the disease:

  • Supportive therapies
  • Medication
  • Surgery (in some cases)

You do not need Parkinson’s therapy in the early stages of the disease because your symptoms are very mild. During this time, we recommend that you stay under the supervision of your doctor to monitor your symptoms.

Supportive Cares and Parkinson’s Therapy

Several options can help you cope with your symptoms on a day-to-day basis. Home health centers can also play an effective role in your daily life. With the help of these centers, you can make the right changes in your life that will make you more compatible. For example:

  • Providing equipment such as the walking frame or personal alarm
  • Making changes at your home, such as a walk-in shower
  • Getting help from a caregiver who is experienced in caring for Parkinson’s patients

It is not the whole story. Other options in Parkinson’s therapy, such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy, can help you maintain your daily activities despite illness. In the following paragraphs, we define each of the treatments.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapists can help you get rid of symptoms such as muscle stiffness through exercise. They also help improve your fitness, flexibility, and walking.

Speech and language therapy

You may have difficulty swallowing and talking because of Parkinson’s. Speech therapists are very effective in this regard. They teach you useful exercises and also provide assistive technology when needed.

Occupational therapy

Occupational therapists determine areas of difficulty in your daily activities such as bathing or dressing. They then help you find a practical solution. They also adjust your house according to your circumstances and needs. This way, you can maintain your independence as much as possible.

Diet advice

Medications used in Parkinson’s therapy have side effects such as hypotension and dizziness. Constipation is also very common among these patients. Therefore, we recommend that you make changes in your diet to strengthen the treatment process. For example, you can:

  • Add fiber to your diet because fiber helps relieve constipation.
  •  Increase your salt intake to prevent low blood pressure and dizziness. Small and frequent meals help reduce the risk of dizziness and hypotension.

Note that you should avoid unintentional weight loss.

 Parkinson’s Therapy: Medications

The classes of oral medications used in Parkinson’s therapy:

  • Levodopa
  • Dopamine agonists
  • Monoamine oxidase-B inhibitors
  • Anticholinergics
  • Catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitors

Levodopa

The most important component of Parkinson’s therapy is levodopa. This drug releases dopamine in the brain, which improves the nervous system’s function and muscle movements. Side effects of this drug include dizziness and fatigue. Levodopa is first given in low doses and then gradually increased. Long-term use of this drug can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Jerky muscle movements (dyskinesias): Abnormal movements that are characterized by spasms, tics, and twitches
  • “On-off” effects: Patient rapidly switches between being able to move (on) and being immobile (off).

Dopamine agonists

These drugs have a dopamine-like structure and induce the same effects. Dopamine agonists are usually given in tablet form and have milder effects than levodopa. Hallucinations and confusion are side effects of these drugs. Compulsive behaviors such as addictive gambling, compulsive shopping, and an excessively increased interest in sex may also occur following the use of dopamine agonists. Therefore, the patient and family members should be aware of these symptoms and consult the doctor if necessary.

Given these side effects, they should be used with caution, especially in elderly patients. In some cases, dopamine agonists are given at the same time as levodopa so that the patient can take a lower dose of levodopa.

Monoamine oxidase-B inhibitors

Drugs such as selegiline and rasagiline fall into this category. These drugs inhibit the function of the enzyme involved in the breakdown of dopamine; thus, the amount of dopamine in nerve endings increases. Fortunately, the side effects of these drugs are less than levodopa. Patients taking Monoamine oxidase-B inhibitors may experience abdominal pain and high blood pressure.

Anticholinergics

These medications also help control tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitors

These drugs are prescribed to patients who are in the final stages of the disease. These drugs inhibit the Catechol-O-methyltransferase enzyme and prolong the levodopa effects. Abdominal pain and diarrhea are some of the side effects of these drugs.

Surgery, Less Common Option in Parkinson’s Therapy

Deep brain stimulation is a method of Parkinson’s therapy that is not recommended for all patients. In this method, a pulse generator such as a heart pacemaker is placed in the chest wall. The electric current generated by the generator is sent using thin electrodes to the specific parts of your brain and may reduce your symptoms.

Other Options

Parkinson’s is a complex disease that can lead to many problems, including depression and anxiety in patients. There are also solutions to deal with these problems. The following is a list of some common problems in Parkinson’s patients and their treatment options:

Depression and anxietyExercise, psychological therapy, or medication
Erectile dysfunctionMedication
Severe sweatingAntiperspirant, or surgery in severe cases
Excessive droolingSwallowing exercises, or surgery, or medication
Urinary incontinenceExercises, medication, or surgery in severe cases
DementiaCognitive therapies and medication
Swallowing difficultiesEating softened food, using a feeding tube in more severe cases
InsomniaMaking changes to your normal bedtime routine

You may be very confused when you receive a diagnosis of Parkinson’s. Living with chronic illnesses is definitely difficult and can make you angry, depressed, and frustrated.

Undoubtedly, friends and family will help you effectively. Besides, you can join people who are going through similar situations. Such a support group can be a great help to you and a good source of practical information about Parkinson’s.

In addition to the above, you have to make changes in your daily life:

  • Try to eat a diet rich in nutrients like omega-3s.
  • Do not forget to exercise because it not only helps strengthen your muscles and movements but also improves the symptoms of depression.
  • Avoid falling. In the later stages of Parkinson’s disease, you may simply fall. Therefore, you should pay attention to the following points:
  • Do not move fast when walking
  • When walking, your heel should first be on the ground
  • Avoid carrying objects while walking
  • Avoid walking backward.
  • Try not to lose weight.
  • Distribute your weight evenly on both feet while walking.

You can use the following options to improve pain, fatigue, and depression as you go through the treatment process:

  • Taichi: This Chinese sport involves slow movements that improve balance, flexibility, and muscle strength, as well as prevents falling.
  • Yoga: Gentle stretching movements in this sport also help to improve balance and flexibility.
  • Massage: Massage helps to relax the muscles.
  • Meditation: Meditation focuses on your mind and can be useful in reducing stress and pain.
  • Pet therapy: Having a dog or cat not only enhances your balance and movement but also improves mental health.

Health & Care Professional Network and Parkinson’s Therapy

Note that you need to increase your knowledge about this disease and the related complications to better deal with problems. Access to educational content is one of the items that you and your family members should consider. Accordingly, our team provides you with appropriate training materials, skilled nurses, and experienced caregivers so that you can deal with your illness with the least stress and worry.

In this center, you can also access physical therapy and occupational therapy services to cope with symptoms such as tremors, muscle stiffness, and movement problems.

If you need to inquire, you can contact us or put your contact information in the form on the site and our consultants will contact you as soon as possible. We have compiled this blog based on the experiences we have gained over the years working with Parkinson’s patients, as well as the questions that most of our clients ask. You can also ask your questions so that we can provide more effective educational content based on your needs.

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