Parkinson’s Disease (PD)
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a movement disorder affecting an estimated 1 million Americans and more than 10 million people worldwide. It is a progressive and chronic disease, meaning the symptoms become worse over time.
PD is characterized by several motor symptoms (involving movement) such as tremors, stiffness or rigidity of muscles, postural and balance changes, gait problems, slowness of movement (bradykinesia) and smallness of movement (hypokinesia).
These symptoms can make it difficult for people with PD to tolerate walking, caring for themselves, working, and performing daily activities such as getting in and out of bed, eating, writing, or dressing among other things.
It can also cause non-motor symptoms such as sleep problems, constipation, depression, anxiety, pain, cognitive changes, fatigue, and other concerning symptoms. Motor and non-motor symptoms can vary significantly from person to person.
Treatments to Ease The Symptoms of PD
While there is no cure for PD at this time, there are numerous treatments available that can help ease the symptoms including, but not limited to lifestyle changes, promoting a healthy diet and exercise, medications, and deep brain stimulation (DBS).
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and complex disorder that requires an interdisciplinary approach to care. This type of approach creates a supportive environment for both the person living with PD and their family, allowing the treatment to have the greatest chance of success.
Physical, occupational, and speech therapy are critical to the successful treatment plan for people living with PD. Research is currently showing that high-intensity routine exercise is critical in not only improving the function and motor capabilities in people living with PD, but may also play a role in slowing down the rate of such changes.
Take home message…exercise is KEY!