Parkinson Disease Health (cont.)

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Parkinson's Disease Follow-up and Prognosis

To manage Parkinson's disease effectively, the doctor must carefully balance the symptoms of the disease with the side effects of medications.

  • No single approach to treatment of PD exists. Rather, every person must work in tandem with doctors and therapists throughout the course of disease to design a program for their specific and changing needs.
  • Always consult with the doctor before changing or stopping a medication.
  • At any point during the course of Parkinson's disease, an open discussion regarding new or changing symptoms or side effects must take place between the patient and their doctor.

Parkinson's Disease Prognosis

Parkinson's disease may reduce the length and quality of life, but it is not fatal. It is a disease that may progress from a phase without symptoms to possibly a state of complete disability, This progression varies from person to person, but may occur within 10 to 20 years. However, as with all diseases, a spectrum of possibilities exists. The course a particular person will experience cannot be predicted although certain patterns have been noted by researchers.

  • PD has been characterized by some as either tremor predominant or with postural instability and gait disturbed (PIGD).
    • Younger people usually have tremor as the main symptom, but progression of the disease is slower. They also seem to have more muscle control problems.
    • By contrast, older people experience more PIGD symptoms. This can be a serious problem in this age group because of an increased fall risk.
  • In addition to the physical problems with PD, significant emotional and mental changes may occur.
    • Many people have profound depression and others may experience thinking problems throughout the disease process.
    • It is estimated that about 30% of people with PD experience altered mental status.
  • Treatments are getting better at easing symptoms and may even slow progression of the disease. With continued research and clinical trials investigating new medications, surgical procedures, and gene therapy, it is thought that one day it may be possible to either prevent most symptoms or even possibly cure PD.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/12/2013

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