As you age, it’s normal to feel muscle aches and stiffness. But if your arms or legs don’t relax after walking, or you notice any tremors, lean on AdventHealth for answers. Sometimes, these symptoms are early signs of Parkinson's disease (PD), a nervous-system disorder that usually affects people over 50 and can lead to tremors, rigid muscles, and other physical and emotional symptoms.
Our balanced team of neurology and senior-health experts are here to put a name to your symptoms and care for you with life-improving medications, exercises, and minimally invasive surgical techniques. Within our network of hospitals, you’ll have access to compassionate team members, including physical therapists and social workers, to help you manage your Parkinson's symptoms and boost your quality of life. We applaud your strength and know you could handle your Parkinson's diagnosis alone. But health challenges are easier when you’re surrounded by a team you can trust.
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- Diagnosing Parkinson's Disease
You may think of Parkinson’s as the “tremor disease,” its most recognizable symptom. But there are other causes of trembling, too. Tremors can be temporary side effects from taking certain anti-nausea or emotional-wellness medications, or they can be a sign of genetic condition. When you find yourself moving slowly, feeling a little stiff, or having trouble with balance, tremors can be a sign that something more is going on. There’s no single Parkinson’s diagnosis test, but the skilled neurology teams at AdventHealth can rule out other causes of tremors by a number of tests, including:
- Blood Panel
- Imaging Tests
- Physical and Neurological Exams
- Trial Dose of Levodopa, a Medication Known to Help Relieve PD Symptoms
A Parkinson's diagnosis brings many questions. The good news is PD is a very slow-progressing disease, and the right care can help you manage your Parkinson's symptoms. We're here to help.
- Early Signs and Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease
Understanding Parkinson’s is the first step to taking control and finding relief. Affecting seven- to 10-million people around the world, Parkinson’s disease is different for everyone and progresses in stages. Because you're unique, your team of neurologists and other experts will make a plan that fits your needs, monitors your progress, and manages your Parkinson's symptoms. Have faith that you're not alone. Our whole-person approach to care means we'll support you in this journey and provide resources that minister to your mind and spirit.
If you notice yourself uncontrollably wringing your hands, blinking excessively, or repeating facial gestures, you may have a related condition called dyskinesia, caused by long-term use of Levodopa, a medication used to treat PD. Our neurologists monitor you closely and will adjust your medications to reverse or prevent any unwanted side effects. Our goal is to make you as comfortable as possible. We do this by tailoring our care to you, making changes as needed so you're able to live the life you love.
- Whole-Person Parkinson's Disease Treatment
One of the most-effective Parkinson’s disease treatments is also the simplest: exercise. Biking, dancing, lifting weights, and running are just a few activities that may relax your muscles and increase your strength. So keep moving. AdventHealth provides senior exercise and movement classes for people with Parkinson’s disease. Beyond exercise, we'll also support you with medications that can help with the management of Parkinson’s symptoms. These medications can include:
- Anticholinergics That Reduce Tremors in About Half of Cases
- COMT Inhibitors That Also Help Slow the Breakdown of Dopamine
- Dopamine Agonists
- Levodopa (L-Dopa), the Primary Medication for Parkinson’s
- MAO-B Inhibitors That Prevent the Breakdown of Dopamine in the Brain
When medications aren’t enough, we may recommend a minimally invasive surgery called deep brain stimulation, which can help block the nerve signals that cause tremors. And because providing you with the best, most-advanced care is our priority, we’re constantly looking to improve — striving for new, groundbreaking Parkinson's disease treatments, and even robot-assisted techniques.
We know a Parkinson's diagnosis can be frustrating and may lead to apathy, depression, hallucinations, and sleep-behavior disorders. Count on our compassionate Behavioral-Health Specialists to care for your mental and spiritual health as well. It's all part of our commitment to whole-person care.