PD is a chronic and progressive disorder of the nervous system that primarily affects movement. It can also cause problems with thinking, mood and changes in sleep. PD is most common in those over 60 years of age and occurs 50% more often in men as opposed to women. The disease is caused by progressive deterioration of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain.
When functioning normally, neurons produce a variety of brain chemicals that allow communication between different cells. In PD, neurons that produce dopamine are slowly lost. As a result, these cells do not work as well and people have trouble performing fine motor tasks. Also, they can develop involuntary movements, like tremors, or muscle stiffness.
Diagnosing Parkinson Disease
A neurologist will diagnose PD based on a careful assessment of symptoms, a complete medical history, and a thorough neurological and physical examination. Diagnosing PD is based on specific findings of a neurological examination. In some cases, advanced imaging techniques like MRI scans or dopamine imaging scans can be helpful in making the diagnosis by ruling out other disorders.
Treating Parkinson’s Disease
It is important that PD be treated medically as there are numerous medications that may worsen symptoms and should not be prescribed, there are many drugs that cannot be taken with PD drugs and there are symptoms that may require that the dosage or type of drug be replaced. Everyone responds differently and close watch should be taken to ensure the most effective course of drug therapy.
Treatment can be varied:
• Disease itself needs to be treated to control symptoms and reduce the burden of the disease
• Exercise, eat well, stay involved
• Psychosocial treatment such as stress management, relaxation, cognitive therapies and support groups
Our Approach to Treating PD
Our Rehabilitation Program provides patients access to:
• Comprehensive speech therapy
• Participation in wellness education and cognitive activities
• Nutritional classes
• Weekly exercise groups for patients
• Advanced, on-site equipment technology such as cardiovascular conditioning, passive motion machines, stationary cycles, and strength conditioning extremity machines
• Weekly support groups for patients and care partners
• Individualized plan of care
• On-site case management to help patients stick with rehabilitation activities
To schedule a new patient appointment
760-323-7676, ext 110
American Parkinson Disease Association
National Parkinson Foundation
Parkinson’s Disease Foundation
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research