Parkinson’s Disease Specialists And Care Centers
Parkinsons disease can only be diagnosed once the motor symptoms become evident, even though there may be a lengthy pre-motor symptom period and the urgency of early detection and finding disease-modifying treatments is critical. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinsons disease, youll find advanced treatment and compassionate care from Northwestern Medicine specialists.
The Northwestern Medicine Parkinsons Disease and Movement Disorders Center specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of all movement disorders. Our goal is to help our patients manage their disease and improve their quality of life by working to reduce symptoms, prevent complications, and provide support and assistance to patients and their families.
We achieve this through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to care that includes experts in neurology, psychiatry and social work who work with patients to establish the best treatment plan possible. We also offer cutting-edge pharmacological, surgical, and clinical trials for patients with movement disorders.
Speech And/or Occupational Therapist
Over time, patients with Parkinsons disease encounter problems with speaking and swallowing. A speech therapist can be helpful, using LSVT therapy.
This vigorous vocal exercise helps patients with Parkinsons recalibrate their voice tone and loudness, both of which can be diminished by Parkinsons.
An occupational therapist can also help you assess your home for safety. Occupational therapists can suggest assistive devices and train you in their use. This will help you remain independent and self-sufficient as long as possible.
Parkinson’s Treatments We Offer
There is no cure for Parkinson’s, but treatment at Cedars-Sinai can loosen the grip that symptoms have on your life. Parkinson’s is a progressive illness, meaning your needs change over time. We are here for you with a broad range of options and personalized recommendations.
Therapies that are best for you depend on your symptoms and how long Parkinson’s has been part of your life.
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Information Regarding Parkinson’s Disease And Its Management
MPF staff, with the advice of the Professional Advisory Board, maintains literature, articles, bibliographies, video tapes and information on web sites relating to Parkinson’s disease. Should you have any questions, please feel free and contact us. The majority of information is free of charge. There may be a fee for duplication and mailing costs for tapes and books.
If you would like the information by mail, please .
Deep Brain Stimulation For Parkinson’s: Am I A Candidate
Deep brain stimulation is not a cure, but it can relieve your symptoms from Parkinson’s disease when medications are not an option. Only you and your doctor can decide if this surgical procedure is right for you. You may be a candidate for deep brain stimulation if:
- You have idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. Patients with atypical parkinsonism are not candidates.
- You have good motor function and independence during your best “on” state when taking the drug Sinemet.
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Getting To A Movement Disorder Specialist
If you live in a rural area or have difficulty traveling, it may be challenging to find or visit a movement disorder specialist. One option might be to travel to see a movement disorder specialist once or twice a year and follow up with a local general neurologist or primary care doctor more frequently. Any time spent with a specialist may be helpful.
Technology, too, may help. Some hospitals and services can connect you with a Parkinson’s specialist without you having to leave your home. Parkinson’s Disease Care New York, for example, offers people in the state of New York video calls through a computer, tablet or smartphone with a movement disorder specialist, a neurologist or a Parkinson’s-trained nurse at no cost. Ask your doctor or support group about telemedicine opportunities.
Be Part of the Answer
You have the power to impact your future and the future of millions living with Parkinson’s disease. Explore clinical research participation today.
How Is Yale Medicines Approach To Treating Parkinsons Unique
Patients at the Yale Medicine Movement Disorders Program have access to the most advanced treatments and clinical trials for Parkinsons disease. Patients symptoms are thoroughly assessed before doctors create a treatment plan that will give the patient a good quality of life for as long as possible.
Physicians at Yale Medicine can perform and manage surgical procedures like deep brain stimulation.
Clinicians also understand that effective care goes beyond medication and surgery. Each doctor at the practice devotes considerable time to educate patients and caregivers. The doctors understand the nuanced challenges facing patients and how seemingly small adjustmentsfrom a change to a medications dose, to a new approach to coping with tremorscan make a big difference in the life of a Parkinsons patient. We have all the resources needed to take care of patients, Dr. Tinaz says.
When Do Parkinsons Patients Usually Start Working With A Movement Disorder Specialist
Generally, if you or a loved one is experiencing any unusual symptoms, its common to start by making an appointment with a primary care doctor or clinician. Primary care doctors are trained to treat hundreds of conditions and can help connect you with the right specialists and ongoing care.
However, you dont need a doctors referral to see a neurologist or movement disorder specialist. You can make an appointment directly. But its important to check with your insurance plan, so you know whats covered. Sometimes plans require a doctors referral to cover certain types of care.
How To Find The Right Healthcare Providers For Parkinson’s Disease
When you’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you’ll need to find the right care team. Ideally, you’ll want a team of clinicians who will manage your medical care over the course of the next few years. This team should be headed by a neurologist with expertise in treating Parkinson’s patients.
While you can always change members of the team, putting some amount of thought and planning into assembling the initial team will pay dividends for you down the road if that team can rapidly and effectively address your early symptoms and needs.
The following suggestions will help you to assemble the care team that is best for you, and will also provide some ideas on how best to interact with your care team.
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What Is Parkinsons Disease
You might have heard the term Parkinsons disease when famous figures like Michael J. Fox and Alan Alda announce their diagnoses. What you might not know, however, is how Parkinsons disease affects a person.
The disease is neurodegenerative, meaning it affects your nervous system. It targets specific neurons in the brain called substantia nigra that produce dopamine. Dopamine is a brain chemical that sends messages between nerve cells and that helps modulate movement.
When these nerve cells abnormally break down or die, lower dopamine levels cause abnormal brain activity, reducing your movement and causing other symptoms of Parkinsons disease.
Finding The Right Movement Disorder Specialist
Having the right partnership with your doctor can make a difference, not just in managing your Parkinsons symptoms but also in how supported you feel overall. Its important for you to feel confident in that relationship and to have access to a treatment team that meets your needs.
Finding a good movement disorder specialist is a lot like hunting for a good dentist or a good mechanic: You need to ask around. Your primary care doctor or neurologist may be a good place to start. Or ask people in your support group, if you attend one, whom they see. You can also try contacting one of the national Parkinson’s organizations.
In choosing a doctor, consider how much the doctor knows and how well the doctor listens. Remember, no two cases of Parkinson’s disease are alike. Having a doctor who understands this, and who listens to you, is crucial.
With any Parkinson’s doctor, you are a partner in your care. Educate yourself about PD. Parkinson’s is different for everyone, and you can’t get the best care unless you’re specific about what you are experiencing. It’s okay to ask why particular treatments or therapies are being recommended , and it’s okay to get another opinion.
The MDS Movement Disorders Specialist Finder can help you locate a doctor in your area.
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Who Is Brain Tune Up For
Looking for answers can be frustrating, especially if you get the same ones over and over again. If you are looking for an alternative functional medicine treatment for Parkinsons disease, one thats effective and improves the quality of your life, Brain Tune Up! is for you.
Here are some of the other reasons people join Dr. Sharlins program:
- They want a drug-free solution
- They want to work with someone they can trust an experienced professional with the right qualifications who knows what they are talking about
- They want to find the root cause of their condition, rather than settling for band-aid solutions
- They want personalized care that views each patient as a whole individual
- They believe in the benefit of a functional medicine approach and want to try it for themselves
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Treatments For Parkinsons Disease
Although PD has no cure, the symptoms of the disease are treatable.
Because each patient experiences symptoms differently, physicians base each patients treatments on his or her specific symptoms. The Movement Disorders team works closely with other UT Southwestern specialists such as those in psychiatry and speech, physical, and occupational therapy to provide patients with individualized care to manage symptoms and maximize mobility, balance, and coordination.
Treatments for Parkinsons disease include:
- Medication: Many experts now believe that medication should be initiated immediately after diagnosis. Medication can help manage problems with walking, movement, and tremor by correcting or compensating for dopamine deficiency in the brain.
- Botulinum toxin injection: UT Southwestern specializes in the use of botulinum toxin injections for a variety of conditions that result in involuntary muscle contractions. Botulinum toxin weakens the muscle that it is injected into, thus promoting relaxation of muscle spasm. These injections can be a particularly effective treatment for PD patients with dystonia , eye twitching, and drooling. Patients who might benefit from botulinum toxin are examined to determine which muscles are overactive. The botulinum toxin is injected into only those muscles. Benefits gradually develop over seven to 10 days. The treatment is usually effective for three months, so injections are repeated several times a year to maintain ongoing benefits.
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What Does A Movement Disorders Specialist Do
NOTE: Our past several blog posts have focused on information related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We know this is very top-of-mind for our readers and we encourage you to review our recent articles which include a Q+A about COVID-19 and Parkinsons disease ,online APDA resources to help during the crisis, as well as ways to maintain mental health and exercise during social distancing.
Today, I will address a topic that is not directly related to COVID-19 but is something I get asked about quite often via the Ask A Doctor portal on our website. People are eager to learn about the differences between the PD care received from a general neurologist versus a Movement Disorders Specialist. What distinguishes one from the other? While there are many similarities between the two, there are some distinct differences that I will explain.
Surgery For People With Parkinsons Disease
Deep brain stimulation surgery is an option to treat Parkinsons disease symptoms, but it is not suitable for everyone. There are strict criteria and guidelines on who can be a candidate for surgery, and this is something that only your doctor and you can decide. Surgery may be considered early or late in the progression of Parkinsons. When performing deep-brain stimulation surgery, the surgeon places an electrode in the part of the brain most effected by Parkinsons disease. Electrical impulses are introduced to the brain, which has the effect of normalising the brains electrical activity reducing the symptoms of Parkinsons disease. The electrical impulse is introduced using a pacemaker-like device called a stimulator. Thalamotomy and pallidotomy are operations where the surgeon makes an incision on part of the brain. These surgeries aim to alleviate some forms of tremor or unusual movement, but they are rarely performed now.
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Multidisciplinary Movement Disorders Clinic
Patients who come to the Movement Disorders Clinic are seen by a movement disorders specialist, a neurologist who has extra training in evaluating and treating a person with Parkinsons disease. There are no blood or imaging tests that can confirm Parkinsons disease, so diagnosis is based on visible signs and symptoms, which are reviewed during a medical history and neurologic examination.
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Parkinsons Disease Homeopathy Treatment
Homeopathic medicines treat a patient as one big system. That means when a patient begins our homeopathic treatment forParkinsons disease, there is an improvement not only in the symptoms of Parkinsons but general health improvement of the patient as well. Many patients who are receiving homeopathic treatment forParkinsons disease report general improvement after a couple of weeks of healing.
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What To Look For In A Parkinsons Care Team
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with Parkinsons disease, the first important task is to choose a care team. But how?
Its often helpful to visualize yourself at the center of a circle, surrounded by a team of expert supporters and caregivers. The experts at the Johns Hopkins Parkinsons Disease and Movement Disorders Center provide tips on who should make up your team. Its important to keep in mind that youre all in this together, managing a progressive, chronic disease. Key players to look for include:
Parkinson’s Disease And Movement Disorders Team
Your care at the OHSU Parkinson Center starts with a team of specialists. Our neurologists, neurosurgeons, physician assistants and other experts work together to meet the needs of each patient. Youll find:
- Neurologists and neurosurgeons who are internationally known for their expertise in Parkinsons disease and other movement disorders.
- Physician assistants who are experts in movement disorders.
- Providers and researchers who have collectively published hundreds of studies.
- Experts who speak in Oregon and around the world, educating providers, patients and families.
- An innovative Next Step Clinic to help you plan for the next stage in your treatment.
- Providers who have pioneered groundbreaking treatments, including asleep deep brain stimulation, for movement disorders.
- A Parkinsons Foundation Center of Excellence, marking us as among the best in the world.
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Is Your Doctor Right For You
The first step is finding a qualified physician. Each type of insurance is different, but typically you will be required to be referred to a specialist such as a neurologist by your primary care doctor. If your symptoms warrant it, your doctor can refer you to a neurologist. This neurologist may decide that you should see a neurologist who is a Movement Disorder Specialist. If you have a preference as to which MDS you would most like to be seen by, be sure to discuss this with the doctor who is writing your referral order. In outlying areas where there are no MDS to see, try to at least be seen by a neurologist.
The second step is considering whether the neurologist or Movement Disorder Specialist is the right one for you. You should feel comfortable in this relationship and feel that you and the MDS are a good match.
Medicines For Parkinsons Disease
Medicines can help treat the symptoms of Parkinsons by:
- Increasing the level of dopamine in the brain
- Having an effect on other brain chemicals, such as neurotransmitters, which transfer information between brain cells
- Helping control non-movement symptoms
The main therapy for Parkinsons is levodopa. Nerve cells use levodopa to make dopamine to replenish the brains dwindling supply. Usually, people take levodopa along with another medication called carbidopa. Carbidopa prevents or reduces some of the side effects of levodopa therapy such as nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, and restlessness and reduces the amount of levodopa needed to improve symptoms.
People living with Parkinsons disease should never stop taking levodopa without telling their doctor. Suddenly stopping the drug may have serious side effects, like being unable to move or having difficulty breathing.
The doctor may prescribe other medicines to treat Parkinsons symptoms, including:
- Dopamine agonists to stimulate the production of dopamine in the brain
- Enzyme inhibitors to increase the amount of dopamine by slowing down the enzymes that break down dopamine in the brain
- Amantadine to help reduce involuntary movements
- Anticholinergic drugs to reduce tremors and muscle rigidity
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