What is Parkinson's Disease?
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that predominantly affects the dopamine-producing part of the brain. Dopamine not only makes us feel happier, but it also helps our brain to send signals to our muscles to make them work the way we want them to. With less dopamine, we lose function in our muscles.
With Parkinson’s, patients tend to show a variety of symptoms including a shuffle walk, weakness, tremors, slow movements, and balance difficulties. They also can show symptoms including mood changes, fatigue, and cognitive changes like memory loss, difficulty with speech, and more. There are five stages of Parkinson’s, where the symptoms are worsening in each stage.
Do we know what causes PD?
It is unclear what causes Parkinson’s. More than 10 million people worldwide are living with PD and more than 95% of patients are diagnosed after age 50. Men are 1.5 times more likely to have PD than women.
Are there any treatments for PD?
Due to the variety of symptoms in each patient, treatments for Parkinsons’ vary. Medical treatments include medication to increase dopamine, use of deep brain stimulators, and more.
Patients with Parkinson’s can also work with physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists to help them improve their symptoms. Along with medical treatment, research shows that PD symptoms respond well compared to other neurological diseases to physical therapy.
Physical therapists who specialize in the treatment of PD can help maximize a patient’s independence. PT can help improve how the patient walks, stands up from a chair, roll over in bed, and much more. There are programs like LSVT-big where a patient goes through a four week intensive that aims to improve functional activities, reduce risk of falls, and more.
Even if a patient still needs a caregiver or family member around to help with more complicated tasks, improving their independence will improve their quality of life.
What can you do if you have PD or know's someone with PD?
If you or a loved one has Parkinson’s and are looking to improve function and independence, please seek out one of our Physical Therapists who specializes in the treatment of PD.
At Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness, we have therapists who are not only experienced in treating PD, but also are certified in programs like LSVT-BIG. We can use our training to meet your goals and maximize quality of life.
Please contact us using the form at the top of this page so that we may answer any of your questions or concerns.