Your doctor should evaluate you, specifically if you are older than 55 years, if you feel you are beginning to experience symptoms of Parkinson disease.
Because PD is a progressive disease, you will continue to experience new and disturbing symptoms.
These symptoms can sometimes be hard to distinguish from side effects of medications, which can be numerous in someone with PD.
Thus, any change in your baseline condition should prompt an evaluation to rule out other medical conditions or
medications side effects.
Although the emergency department is not the setting for deciding whether you have Parkinson disease, visits may be needed to rule out or treat other medical conditions.
Specific complications associated with PD may need an emergency department visit.
The decision to care for a family member with Parkinson disease is very complex.
In the beginning, the symptoms are minimal. The person may continue carrying out the activities of daily living, for example, eating, bathing, dressing, taking medications, and toileting. In fact, the person may continue to work and excel in other areas of life.
A time will come when the symptoms of the disease progress to the point of decline. It is, however, impossible to predict which symptoms will become most pronounced and debilitating. This makes it especially difficult in planning and arranging future care. Nevertheless, with adequate planning, providing for the person at home is feasible.
As with all things in life, a spectrum in the level of needs will vary from person to person. One person may need only moderate assistance. Someone else might require full-time care.
To manage your Parkinson disease effectively, your doctor must carefully balance the symptoms of the disease with the side effects of medications.
Parkinson disease reduces the length of your life, but it is not fatal. It is a disease that progresses from a phase without symptoms to possibly a state of complete disability, sometimes within 10-20 years. As with all diseases, a spectrum of possibilities exists. The course a particular person will experience cannot be predicted. Certain patterns have been noted.
In addition to the physical problems with PD, a significant emotional price is paid as well.
Treatment is getting better at easing symptoms and may even slow progression of the disease. With continued research and
clinical trials investigating new medications and surgical procedures, it is thought that one day we may be able to either prevent or cure PD.
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