Senior female client walking arm in arm with a female Right at Home caregiver outside Senior female client walking arm in arm with a female Right at Home caregiver outside

Facing a Parkinson’s Diagnosis

Receiving a diagnosis usually brings a mixed bag of emotions. You may be relieved to find answers to questions about your health or symptoms—a welcome explanation for the previously unexplained. At the same time, you may question the way a diagnosis will change your life moving forward, and not fully understand the implications.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement control. It typically develops gradually, starting with minor tremors and stiffness and eventually leading to more severe symptoms that can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. The primary cause of Parkinson’s disease is the loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain.

PD is called a movement disorder because of the tremors, slowness, and stiffening it causes. It’s important to understand that PD can also have non-movement symptoms. These include loss of smell, mental health problems, fatigue, small handwriting, speech issues, cognitive problems, and sleep disorders.

There are a million people living with PD, and more than 90,000 receive a diagnosis every year. If you or a loved one are among this group, the first thing you need to know is that you are not alone. There is a myriad of support groups both on- and offline for people living with PD, their caregivers, and their loved ones. It’s possible to live well with PD.

If someone has been newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, it’s essential to understand the following key points:

Education: Learn as much as possible about Parkinson’s disease, including its symptoms, progression, and available treatments. Understanding the condition can help individuals and their caregivers manage it more effectively.

Treatment options: Parkinson’s disease is currently incurable, but various treatments can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. These may include medications, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and in some cases, surgery (such as deep brain stimulation).

Lifestyle modifications: Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help individuals manage their symptoms and overall well-being. This may involve regular exercise, a balanced diet, adequate sleep, stress management techniques, and avoiding potential exacerbating factors like certain medications or environmental toxins.

Support network: Building a strong support network of family, friends, healthcare professionals, and support groups can provide emotional support, practical assistance, and valuable resources for managing Parkinson’s disease. The Parkinson’s Foundation has many resources available to support people with PD and their loved ones.

Proactive approach: Parkinson’s disease is progressive, but taking an active role in managing your symptoms may help you maintain your independence and your state of mind. This may involve regular monitoring, communication with healthcare providers, and adjustments to treatment plans as needed.

While there is no known cure for PD, research is underway to learn more about how the disease progresses. People with Parkinson’s disease are needed to participate in research studies as researchers work toward a cure. Consider joining a research study.

It’s important for individuals newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease to work closely with their healthcare team to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to their specific needs and goals. With proper management and support, many people with Parkinson’s disease can continue to lead fulfilling lives despite the challenges posed by the condition.

Jamie Robinson, Owner of Right at Home Eastern Long Island, has proudly offered in-home care to seniors and adults with disabilities in the community for several years. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for those we serve. To learn more about our services, please call 631-509-1409 today!

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