Best Treatment of Parkinson's Disease

By Dr. Mohit Goel in Neurosciences

Apr 22 , 2022 | 3 min read

Have you ever seen old-age people with stooped posture, shaky hands, and slur speech? These are symptoms of Parkinson's disease. It occurs due to degenerative changes in the nervous system and is seen after 60 years, but in some people, it can occur even in their 50s.

There is no cure available for Parkinson's, but it is worth mentioning that symptomatic treatment helps lead a quality life. A wide array of treatment modalities are used for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, such as-

Medications for Parkinson's Disease

Medications play a vital role in managing Parkinson's disease. Some of the medicines used are-

  1. Levodopa

    Levodopa is the most commonly used and most effective medication for treating Parkinson's disease. The chemical levodopa is converted into dopamine in the brain, which controls body movements. But it has some side effects such as lightheadedness and nausea. Moreover, continuous intake for a prolonged period can result in wax and wane effect/ wearing-off effect.
  2. Dopamine agonists

    These medications mimic dopamine, and they are less effective than dopamine, but side effects are also less than levodopa. In some cases, dopamine agonists are prescribed before levodopa. 
  3. Catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors

    These medications block Catechol O-methyltransferase, an enzyme that breaks down dopamine and extends the effect of levodopa. 
  4. Monoamine oxidase B (MAO B) inhibitors

    These medications block the enzyme MOAB that breaks down dopamine, thus increasing the level of dopamine.
  5. Anticholinergics

    These medications balance the level of acetylcholine and dopamine but are no longer used much.
  6. Amantadine

    These provide short-term relief and increase the amount of dopamine available for use.

Your doctor will prescribe you medications according to the severity of your symptoms.

Please note the following things regarding the intake of medications-

  1. Never split your pills and capsules
  2. You should drink at least 6 to 10 glasses of water because Parkinson's disease can slow down your bowel movement, so drinking enough water will prevent constipation
  3. Avoid skipping your doses. 
  4. Take a note of medications prescribed to you and read about their side effects so that you can consult your doctor if the side effects are severe. 
  5. Try taking medications at the same time every day to maintain the concentration level in the blood and prevent symptoms.

Surgical Treatment for Parkinson's Disease

Surgery becomes an option for treating Parkinson's disease when medications fail to provide relief. Some of the surgical treatments are-

  1. Deep brain stimulation

It is one of the most commonly used surgeries used for treating Parkinson's disease. In this surgery, your doctor implants electrodes in a particular area of your brain. These electrodes act as a pacemaker of the heart and send impulses to the brain to inhibit faulty signals that lead to symptoms of Parkinson's disease. 

But deep brain stimulation is not recommended for all patients. Your doctor will suggest this procedure if it is suitable for you. Generally, deep brain stimulation is used if

  1. You have Parkinson's symptoms > 4 years
  2. Symptoms are irregular even if you are regularly taking your medications.
  3. Symptoms hamper your daily activities
  4. The side effects of medications are extreme and hinder your daily activities.

  1. Focussed Ultrasound

It is a non-invasive surgery that uses frequency sound waves guided by MRI to damaged areas of the brain responsible for sending faulty signals. It is preferred when a patient can't go for invasive surgery. 

Apart from deep brain stimulation and focussed ultrasound, there are two more surgical procedures, Pallidotomy, and thalamotomy, that can be done but are rarely done due to the risk of infection.

Supportive therapies for Parkinson's disease

Some of the supportive therapies are-

  1. Physiotherapy

    Physiotherapists can help patients relieve joint pain and muscle stiffness with exercises. Exercises such as amplitude training, reciprocal movements, balance work, stretchings, and strength training can improve your symptoms.

  2. Occupational therapy

    An occupational therapist can help you by identifying your struggle areas in daily activities and providing you with measures that can make your home correctly set up to make you independent. They can suggest handwriting aids, vehicle modification, cooking adaptation, workplace modification, eating adaptation, and bathtub equipment used to live your life independently.

  3. Speech and language therapy

    A speech and language therapist can help you by improving your speech and swallowing difficulties.

  4. Dietary changes

    You can add fiber and a good amount of water to prevent constipation and take frequent meals to control low blood glucose. You can consult a dietician who can provide you with a personalized diet chart.

Parkinson's disease is prevalent in old age. If you or your loved one is struggling to lead a fulfilling life due to the disease, don't feel overwhelmed and know that you are not alone. Consult our top experts today and take your first step towards living an independent second inning.

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