Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, incurable neurological disorder associated with a loss of dopamine-generating cells in the brain. It is primarily associated with progressive loss of motor control, but it results in a complex array of symptoms, including many non-motor symptoms.
Current estimates from the Parkinson's Foundation, an organization based in the United States, puts the number of people with Parkinson's at 10 million worldwide. They are here https://www.parkinson.org/
Since its discovery in 1817, Parkinson’s disease was believed to only affect posture, mobility, gait, and balance.
But now we realize just how PD can impact a person in a multitude of ways, including non-motor symptoms. Top offenders include constipation, bladder control, drooling, swallowing, memory, depression, anxiety, sleep issues, cognition, and impaired executive functioning.
While the typical Parkinson's medications address the lack of Dopamine in the brain, they do not tackle these additional non-motor symptoms that occur.
In our case, Ann has issues with only some of the non-motor symptoms, and these are managed with the assistance of both scrip and non-scrip (OTC) medications.
So, managing the issues associated with Parkinson's is not just as simple as taking the standard Parkinson's medications. You end up with veritable pharmacology of medications that have to be managed and dispensed.
This leads to one of the most important aspects of Parkinson's Medications - they have to be taken on a timetable - or as it often stressed - on time every time – but those times can be managed as the need for change presents itself.
In addition to the medications, Ann sees a Physiotherapist regularly. Initially, this was every 10 to 14 days and is currently every four weeks.
Also, Ann was seeing a podiatrist regularly as the Parkinson's started to affect her feet. Ann now wears orthopaedic boots.
Ann was suffering from a really bad corn on her toes caused by the Dystonia toe curling and pressing her toe against the top of her shoes. It was either cut holes in the tops of her shoes, or have Arthroplasty surgery on her toes.
This surgery was done at the very end of 2021 and has been very successful. Ann now sees the Podiatrist every 4 weeks or so for what is essentially a pedicure along with a watching brief on her toes.
With the passing of the Covid-19 restrictions, Ann is back at the local GYM, but now with a professionally designed exercise programme compiled by an Exercise Physiologist. The physiologist monitors Ann’s balance and strength every 6 weeks and adjusts the exercise programme accordingly.
The major Parkinson's organizations all stress the need for people with Parkinson's to surround themselves with a Care Team - in addition to their partner.
Ann has a team, her Neurologist, General Practitioner, Urologist, Physiotherapist, Podiatrist, Ophthalmologist and Exercise Physiologist.
This teamwork is essential in the effective management of Parkinson's.
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