So how can you help yourself? You can avoid or deal with stress, eat well, exercise, and that all helps. Some people are prescribed antioxidants by their neurologists on the basis that they might help slow down the progression.
The first and most important aspect to treatment is to have a proper diagnosis. Following diagnosis a treatment regime will structured for you and this may include:
Drugs will inevitably form a part of the treatment at some stage but your physician may not opt for this type of treatment in the early stages of the disease.
The main families of drugs useful for treating motor symptoms are Levodopa, dopamine agonists and MAO-B inhibitors. The most commonly used treatment approach varies depending on the disease stage. Two phases are usually distinguished: an initial phase in which the individual with Parkinson’s has already developed some disability for which s/he needs pharmacological treatment, and a second stage in which the patient develops motor complications related to Levodopa usage. Treatment in the initial state aims to attain an optimal trade off between good management of symptoms and side-effects resulting from enhancement of dopaminergic function.
The start of L-DOPA treatment may be delayed by using other medications such as MAO-B inhibitors and dopamine agonists, in the hope of causing the onset of dyskinesias to be reduced. Dyskinesias consist of effects including diminished voluntary movements and the presence of involuntary movements. In the second stage the aim is to reduce symptoms while controlling fluctuations of the response to medication. Sudden withdrawals from medication is unsafe, and overuse by some patients can be detremental, so have to be controlled.
When medications are not enough to control symptoms or where a person with Parkinson’s reacts badly to Parkinson’s medication, surgery and deep brain stimulation can be of use. Not everyone is a suitable candidate for DBS and there is a rigorous process for candidate selection. Unfortunately DBS is not available in Ireland and patients must travel to the UK for treatment under the Health Service Executive (HSE).Deep brain stimulation is a surgical treatment involving the implantation of a medical device into the brain, which sends electrical impulses to specific parts of the brain. DBS in select brain regions has provided remarkable therapeutic benefits for otherwise treatment-resistant movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, tremor and dystonia. DBS directly changes brain activity in a controlled manner and remarkable results can be seen at an early stage.