Treatments available to help manage Parkinson's Disease:
What is Parkinson's Disease? Parkinson’s Disease (PD), is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that causes shaking and muscle stiffness, and slows movement .
"Parkinson’s affects one percent of individuals older than 60 and the incidence increases with age. The main finding in brains of people with PD is loss of dopaminergic neurons in the area of the brain known as the Substantia Nigra." Parkinson's Foundation
PD affects certain nerve cells (neurons) in the brain causing them to gradually break down or die. As these neurons are lost, dopamine production by the brain is reduced. Dopamine helps people control movement (among other things) and the reduced levels of this chemical causes abnormal brain activity, leading to the symptoms of Parkinson's disease .
PD is a movement disorder - which means it belongs to a group of conditions that create a variety of abnormal body movements and have a neurological basis, including other conditions like cerebral palsy, ataxia, and Tourette syndrome .
The cause of Parkinson's disease is not yet determined however among the factors that appear to play a role are genetics, with specific mutations identified, and certain environmental triggers may increase the risk .
A man has 50% higher risk of developing Parkinson's disease than a woman .
What are the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease (PD)?PD develops gradually, the most well known sign is a tremor in one hand.
Parkinson’s disease displays certain recognisable symptoms such as uncontrollable shaking or tremors, lack of coordination and speaking difficulties. However, symptoms vary and may worsen as the disease progresses .
The main symptoms of Parkinson’s include:
- uncontrollable shaking and tremors
- slowed movement (bradykinesia)
- balance difficulties and eventual problems standing up
- stiffness in limbs
Many doctors rely on a diagnostic system called the Hoehn and Yahr rating scale
to classify the severity of Parkinson's disease symptoms. The scale uses five stages based on disease progression. The five stages help doctors evaluate how far the disease has advanced in a patient .
The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
states: "Parkinson's disease is often difficult to diagnose accurately, particularly when symptoms are mild. There is no simple diagnostic test, and approximately 25% of Parkinson's disease diagnoses are incorrect."
Parkinson's Disease DementiaParkinson's disease dementia is an impairment in thinking and reasoning that eventually affects many people with Parkinson's disease. It is estimated that 50 to 80% of those with Parkinson's disease eventually experience Parkinson's disease dementia .
Parkinson’s Disease Hallucinations and DelusionsHallucinations or delusions can occur in as many as 50% of patients with Parkinson’s disease at some time during the course of their illness . People who experience them see or hear things that are not there (hallucinations) and/or have false beliefs and worries that aren’t based on reality (delusions) . Hallucinations usually happen in later stages of PD and may be a side effect of medications taken to treat PD . Delusions are thoughts or beliefs not based on reality but for patients who experience them may be convinced that they’re true. This makes them suspicious and mistrusting which can result in problems in relationships, e.g. with the family or the carer .
What is the prognosis for Parkinson's?Because Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder usually starts at approximately 60 years of age, PD is associated with increased mortality compared with the general population. Research has shown that the median life expectancy is 21 years for PD, that started between the ages of 40 and 64, compared with 31 years life expectancy for the same age range of the non-PD-affected population .
While there is not yet a cure for Parkinson's disease; most patients are only mildly affected and need no treatment for several years after initial diagnosis. In some people the disease progresses more quickly than in others. As the disease progresses, the shaking, or tremors, which affect the majority of PD patients can interfere with daily life .
Parkinson's symptoms can become more severe over a period of 20 years or even longer and the rate of progression varies between people. Patients can expect that as their symptoms worsen that physical functioning will also start to decline .
How is Parkinson's Disease treated? Treatment for each person with Parkinson's disease (PD) is based on his or her unique symptoms and state of progression. Treatments include medication and surgical therapy. Other treatments include lifestyle modifications and exercise .
There are many medications available to treat the Parkinson’s symptoms and it is common for people with PD to take a variety of medications to manage symptoms. TheSocialMedwork provides a selection of the latest medicines (at top of page) and we can help you access others if they are not available or approved in your country.
Read more about treatments with the American patient organisation, Parkinson's Foundation.
Which medicines are used for Parkinson's Disease?
At the top of this page you can find the list of medicines which TheSocialMedwork supplies, which can be prescribed by doctors for Parkinson's Disease patients.
"Since most symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) are caused by a lack of dopamine in the brain, many PD drugs are aimed at either temporarily replenishing dopamine or mimicking the action of dopamine. These types of drugs are called dopaminergic medications. They generally help reduce muscle rigidity, improve speed and coordination of movement and lessen tremor. Always remember that medication is only part of the overall treatment plan for combatting PD. Learn more about the available medications first, but don't forget exercise and complementary therapies." Parkinson's Foundation
TheSocialMedwork does not make recommendations on which treatment or medication to use. Please consult your physician about the best treatment and medications for you.
Potential new treatments for Parkinson's Disease