Often if you hear someone has Parkinson’s Disease the information regarding this disease is confusing. These are just some facts about Parkinson’s to help you, a patient, a client or a family member to understand the disease a little better. Parkinson’s affects nearly 100,000 Canadians, both men and women from all ethnic backgrounds.
Movements in our body are controlled by a chemical called dopamine. This substance carries signals between the nerves in our brain. Often Parkinson’s is defined as a neuro-degenerative disease. There is no actual cure, but a lot of research is being done in this area. People can live for years with Parkinson’s as the disease progresses differently in each person.
A diagnosis of Parkinson’s can take time. You may be referred to a Neurologist who specializes in the treatment of Parkinson’s.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s includes:
- Slowness and stiffness
- Impaired balance
- Muscle rigidity
- Writing problems
- Stooped posture
Parkinson’s can be treated with medication which can control the symptoms. One of these medications is called Sinemet. As symptoms evolve, more medication is needed. Physical and occupational therapy and exercise are beneficial and can improve flexibility and reduce stiffness.
Suggestions if you have Parkinson’s:
- Find a doctor you trust and build trust in a Neurologist
- As your symptoms evolve, write down your changes so you can share that information with your health care team.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise! Walk every day. Ask a friend of family member to join you. See a physiotherapist who can recommend exercise and stretches that are best for you.
- Join a support group. There are many supported by Parkinson Canada.
- Get more information at parkinson.ca or call 1-800-565-3000 for more information from Parkinson Canada.