Top Five Things to Know about Parkinson’s Disease

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While Michael J. Fox may be one of the most well-known and famous faces of Parkinson’s disease, it’s not a disease that is easily understood. Moreover, according to David Shprecher, DO, the Movement Disorders director at Banner Sun Health Research institute, there are a lot of misconceptions about the disease. Early detection and proper treatment can make a huge difference. The key is in understanding the facts.

Here, Dr. Shprecher shares his top five things you need to know about Parkinson’s disease.

  1. Parkinson’s disease can strike at almost any age. It becomes more common as we get older, impacting nearly 2 percent of Americans over the age of 65.
  2. Parkinson’s is diagnosed based on motor symptoms, like reduced facial expression, smaller handwriting or problems walking; but it also causes a range of non-motor problems including:
    •  Insomnia
    • Acting out of dreams
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Fatigue
    • Cognitive problems
    • Constipation
    • Poor sense of smell
    • Low blood pressure with standing.
  3. Patients and families should be proactive to prevent hospital errors, including missed or late medication doses, or use of inappropriate antipsychotics and nausea drugs (that can worsen PD symptoms). For more information, go to www.awareincare.org
  4. Parkinson’s is not simple to diagnose. A number of conditions can be mistaken for Parkinson’s disease, such as stroke or normal pressure hydrocephalus (“NPH”).  Several, more serious, conditions including Lewy body dementia and progressive supranuclear palsy, are frequently misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s Disease.
  5. Accurate diagnosis and earlier treatment with medication and lifestyle changes can ensure a better quality of life for people with the disease.

Movement Disorder specialists are Parkinson’s disease experts

A neurologist, particularly a movement disorder specialist, will have the training and experience necessary to provide a more accurate and comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment. The specialist will employ a team approach that includes the primary care doctor, social work, and physical therapy. The Parkinson’s Movement Disorder Alliance offers a list of movement disorder specialists in Arizona. Banner Neurowellness in Gilbert and Sun City offer exercise classes tailored to Parkinson’s diseases.

Banner Health neurologists specialize in diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s disease and offer rehabilitation programs. They work in partnership with Banner Sun Health Research Institute, which conducts research and clinical trials.

The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation notes that while everyone does not have the same symptoms, the primary symptoms include:

  • Tremor of the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face
  • Bradykinesia or slowness of movement
  • Rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk
  • Postural instability

Approximately a million Americans are living with Parkinson’s disease with roughly 60,000 diagnosed each year, according to the Foundation. The organization explains that the disease is “a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that the symptoms continue and worsen over time.

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  • carlos benita says:
    I am a 51 year old female that just found out I have Parkinson's, but I have been having signs of it for years, tremors, depression, body weakness. ECT. I honestly don't think my doctor was reading the signs because of my gender and age. A few years ago I had my shoulder lock up on me and I was sent to a P.T since x-rays didn't show any physical damage. My shaking was getting worse and I began falling. Only when my speech became so bad that it brought concern to my dentist was Parkinson's even considered. He phoned my doctor with his concerns about my shaking and balance problems. By this time I was forgoing shots in the back of my neck for back and neck pain to which once again I was sent to a P.T (although x-rays showed no damage) I was told I had a few spurs which were most likely causing the pain. Here I was feeling like my whole body was falling apart and doctor could not find anything wrong, maybe in was all in my head? My doctor even seemed annoyed with me and things just kept progressing and I just kept it to myself, why bother going through testing and them finding nothing? Well, it was after my second P.T called my doctor about the weakness in my legs and arms, by this time I have developed a gait in my walk and I fell more frequently. Only then did my doctor send me to a specialist and it was found that I had Parkinson's, and that I have had it for awhile. I think because I was a woman that my signs and symptoms weren't taken seriously and therefor left untreated for so long,I was taking pramipexole dihydrochloride three times daily, I Was on carbidopa levodopa but only lasted 90 minutes then wore off.I found that none of the current medications worked effective for me.I got tired of using those medication so I decided to apply natural herbs formula that was prescribed to me by my second P.T, i purchase the herbal formula from totalcureherbsfoundation. com, There has been huge progression ever since I start the treatment plan which will last for 15 weeks usage.all the symptoms and sign has begin to disappear .

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