Parkinson’s Awareness

Parkinson’s disease (PD) can be challenging to diagnose, especially in the early stages of the disease. People who are suspected to have PD should be seen by a neurologist who is trained in movement disorders. Diagnosis of PD is generally made using medical history and a physical exam or neurological exam.

Early diagnosis is important. Treatments for PD are more effective in the early stages of the disease, so early detection is important. Physical therapy and exercise, which greatly improve symptoms and delay the progression of the disease, are also much easier to perform in the early stages.

Treatment options for motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The common motor symptoms of PD include:

  • Tremor
  • Rigidity
  • Balance impairments
  • Slowed movements (bradykinesia)
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Changes in speech
  • Impaired fine motor dexterity
  • Muscle cramping

Treating these symptoms usually involves a combination of approaches, such as:

  • Medicines like carbidopa/levodopa therapy, dopamine agonists, anticholinergics, COMT inhibitors, and/or monoamine oxidase-B (MAO-B) inhibitors
  • Physical therapy
  • Vocal exercises
  • Deep brain stimulation surgery

Treatment options for the non-motor symptoms of PD.

  • Drugs like those to relieve an overactive bladder or pain
  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise
  • Nutritional interventions, especially to help with constipation, bone health, and brain health
  • Complementary therapies, including acupuncture or massage