Treatments – Traditional and Conventional


In this section we are going to talk about treatments, both traditional and conventional.

As you are already aware, your Parkinson's is currently considered incurable. However, your symptoms can be relieved or controlled.

The different types of traditional or conventional methods to control Parkinson's Disease range from medication to surgery. We have provided a list of these treatments for you below. You may have already been made aware of some of them, either by your doctor and/or your own previous research. You may even know of other treatments not included in this list! If so, let us know about them. We may need to include them.

Please, remember that medical research and studies are making great strides in the treatment of Parkinson's Disease. The list we've provided for you here contains a list of examples only. It is not meant to be a definitive list.

We recommend that you consult with a specialized healthcare provider for the most current treatments available to you.

Medications:

L-Dopa

L-Dopa (Levodopa), has been prescribed for Parkinson's for over forty years now. It was first used as a treatment for PD in 1960. It is still considered, by mainstream doctors, as the most effective drug for treating the symptoms of Parkinson's. It may possibly be the first treatment your doctor recommends for you.

L-Dopa is obtained from broad beans and also produced synthetically.

Here are some of the side-effects you may experience with this drug: - nausea
- vomiting
- postural hypotension (your blood pressure rises abnormally during standing)
- sinus tachycardia (your cardiac rate rises to greater than 100 beats per minute)
- Early morning inability to move
- Fidgetiness or restlessness
- Loss of refreshing effect of sleep
- orange, black or brown color of urine.

Besides these side-effects, one major drawback with L-Dopa is that doesn't always work very well. The effectiveness varies from one person to another.

Also, it decreases in effectiveness over time, so your dosage would need to be increased periodically. And, that's a problem you need to be aware of - the higher dosage of L-Dopa eventually causes further undesirable side effects, such as dizziness, insomnia, nervousness, vague mental symptoms (psychosis), psychiatric and behavioral problems.

But, perhaps your doctor won't put you on L-Dopa. These days, L-Dopa is almost always combined with another drug - carbidopa. The combination of the two is called Sinemet®). So, your doctor will more likely prescribe Sinemet®), as it apparently helps avoid some of the side effects listed above.

However, there are still some side effects or complications that can arise with this drug therapy, and they are usually directly proportional to the duration of the treatment.

Some of the more serious adverse reactions commonly experienced with this drug therapy are:

- Nausea - Vomiting - Dizziness - Anorexia - Orthostatic hypotension (a sudden fall in blood pressure that occurs when you stand up) - Cardiac arrhythmias - Paranoid ideation and psychotic episodes - Hallucinations - depression - Involuntary movements - Bradykinetic episodes (slowed movement)

There is now a controlled-release version of the carbidopa/levodopa combination called Sinemet CR®). It prolongs the concentration of L-Dopa in your system, and seems to reduce those certain side-effects that involve problems with motor functions.

However, it takes a lot longer to begin working. So, in an attempt to overcome this major drawback, your doctor may prescribe a small dose of the regular Sinemet®) to be taken with the morning dose of Sinemet CR®).

Click here to read about other new drug therapies.

Therapeutic Surgery:

When drug therapies aren't doing enough for you, your doctor may suggest one of the various surgical procedures that have been known to have some success in treating Parkinson's, especially with motor disturbances.

The Activa

There has been some success with the implantation in the brain of a device called 'The Activa'. This surgical procedure involves drilling through the skull, and implanting an electrode into the thalamus, which is the message relay center in the brain.

Next, a wire is run just under the scalp, down to the collarbone area, where a small "pulse generator" is implanted. This little pulse generator sends electrical waves, customized just for you, to the electrode. The Activa device blocks your tremors by sending out regular, small electrical impulses.

Pallidotomy

Before Levodopa came along, a fairly common surgical procedure called a 'pallidotomy' was used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. This procedure has made a come-back thanks to a doctor from Sweden named Laitenen.

A Pallidotomy also involves drilling a tiny hole into the skull. And then, using data taken from a computer, a microelectrode is guided to a part of the brain where the overactive cells that are responsible for the tremors are located.

These overactive cells are destroyed when the microelectrode is used to burn a few small lesions in this area of the brain.

Only a local anesthetic is used, so if you were undergoing this surgery, you would be awake the whole time. The good news is you wouldn't experience any pain or discomfort.

Some patients on whom Laitenen performed pallidotomies described the results as 'miraculous'. They said they were able to walk again, and also that much or all of their tremors were gone.

Other patients did not experience such dramatic results. Most, however, did report improvement of some kind.

Following Laitenen's lead, other surgeons are now performing pallidotomies, as well.

Thalamatomy

A small region of the brain called the 'thalamus' is destroyed in a surgical procedure called 'thalamatomy'. This type of surgery has been effective for certain Parkinson's sufferers whose main difficulty with their disease is their tremors.

To learn about new therapeutic surgical procedures, click on treatments.

Additional Traditional and Conventional Therapies:

Physical Therapy

Your mobility,in the early and mid-stage of your Parkinson's,can be improved with a special exercise program.

exercise for Parkinson's disease You would benefit from doing some regular swimming, walking and bicycling.

As your condition advances, your doctor may prescribe exercises for improving your postural instability, stooped posture and shuffling gait. Another option that may improve your gait is visualization. Get someone to teach you a few of these techniques.

It is very important that you also get into strength training, and continue with it for the rest of your life.

Occupational and Speech Therapy

Your doctor may recommend you look into occupation and speech therapy as your condition progresses. Both may be very helpful with managing the activities involved in your daily living.

Psychotherapy

There is a possibility that you may experience depression or other psychiatric disturbances with the onset of PD. This is very common. You will need to seek out psychological counseling. Your doctors may suggest trying antidepressants, as other PD patients have found them to be quite helpful.

Nutrition

Your diet may need to be adjusted. You need to be eating a well-balanced diet - more now than ever! Set up a dietary consultation with a dietician or medical nutritionist, as soon as possible.

You can get some idea of what a helpful diet would look like by clicking here. We've provided a page on this topic for you.

Besides a well-balanced diet, there are certain excellent supplements worthy of your consideration. The most important one, in our opinion, is an un-denatured whey protein.

It is a supplement that has the potential to alleviate, and maybe even reverse, your PD symptoms.

Details on this supplement have been provided for you on this site. Simply click on the treatments link.

Psychological Support

From the time you first experience symptoms, and throughout the course of your PD, you will need psychological support.

The idea of asking for help and support may be foreign to you, but you need it now. Luckily, there are people in your life, and others soon to enter your life, who are willing and able to provide it for you.

People such as family members, friends, your family physician, a neurologist, occupational and speech therapists, a family counselor, and a psychiatrist or psychologist, if necessary.

Whatever you need, it is out there for you. Seek it out. Make sure you get what you need.

Provide your family members and caregivers with all the available information on Parkinson's. They need to understand PD and its complications.

There's even help out there for your caregivers! Yes, they can get into a local caregiver support group.

Education

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to continue educating yourself on your condition. This website is a great start. Check back to this site often as we will be adding content regularly.

Find out all you can about Parkinson's. Knowledge is power. But, only the action of taking that power and making it work for you, will create positive change in your life.

Study all the information provided for you on this website, then take control of your situation by making some decisions and choices that you feel are best for you.

Alternative and Complementary Treatments

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