Suggest treatment for Parkinson's disease
HOW SUCCESSFUL ARE THE TREATMENTS THAT ARE NOW AVAILABLE AND WILL THE PROGRESSION BE FAST OR SLOW?
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I read your question carefully and I understand your concern. It is unfortunate to have this diagnosis at 57 years of age, it is a pretty early onset, usually after the age of 65.
However one can live for many years a quality lifestyle with Parkinson's. It is not a curable disease, it is a progressive one, even with the best treatment. However there are many medications as well as procedures at our disposal to be able to alleviate symptoms and afford better functioning for many years.
In terms of what to expect as I said it is a progressive condition meaning symptoms start usually only on one side distributing later on both sides and increasing over the years. The main issue is slowing of the movements and rigidity, tremor, balance issues. They make it gradually over the years difficult for the patient to deambulate and take care for himself. The disease itself is not threatening, but in advanced disabled cases it shortens life span due to higher risk of complications like infections than in the general population.
As I said there are several available treatments. As it is a chronic disease it is important to hook up with a neurologist, even better if someone with an interest in movement disorders. That is as regular visits will be needed, with therapy modifications from time to time. It is not just an issue of the choice of drug used, even factors like dosage, frequency of administration etc matter a lot.
In the early years medication is usually very effective in alleviating the symptoms. Over the years though their efficacy may diminish and changes in administration, addition of other drugs or when drugs are not enough even surgical procedures (usually years after the diagnosis) may be necessary.
It is important not to use too many medications too early, the more sparingly the medications are used in the first years of the diagnosis the longer in time will they remain effective, so it is important not to spend all our bullets too soon so to say.
As for the progression being fast or slow, as I said generally it is slow, but how slow one can't make predictions for individual patients. When there was no treatment available about 65% of patients were severely disabled or dead after 10 years, but now with treatment that period is extended for many more years. It is important though as I said to be followed regularly by an experienced specialist so that that period is extended as much as possible.
Do not hesitate to write again for any question you might have.
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