As your Parkinson’s disease (PD) journey evolves, so do your questions about symptoms, treatment options, research and medications. Whether you live with Parkinson’s or care for someone who does, you are not alone in looking for answers to your big PD questions.
The Parkinson’s Foundation has recently released Frequently Asked Questions: A Guide to Parkinson’s Disease, a new and improved booklet that provides answers to the most frequently asked questions our Helpline receives. Pro tip: every section in the booklet provides additional free resources you can check out to learn more. Order the free book now, read it online or check out some questions and answers below:
Q: Can Parkinson’s be cured?
A: Not yet. However, many PD symptoms can be treated and researchers are making advances in understanding the disease, its causes and how to best treat it.
A: The stages of Parkinson’s correspond to the severity of movement symptoms and to how much the disease affects a person’s daily activities. At all stages of Parkinson’s, effective therapies are available to ease symptoms and make it possible for people with PD to live well.
- Mild Parkinson’s: movement symptoms, often tremor, occur on one side and may be inconvenient, but do not affect daily activities. Regular exercise improves and maintains mobility and balance, it also reduces depression and constipation.
- Moderate Parkinson’s: movement symptoms occur on both sides of the body. The body moves more slowly and trouble with balance and coordination may develop. Regular exercise combined with physical or occupational therapy can help with mobility and balance.
- Advanced Parkinson’s: a person may have great difficulty walking; may be in a wheelchair or bed most of the day. The person will need assistance with all daily activities. Balancing the benefits of medications with side effects becomes more challenging.
A: Treating Parkinson’s requires a team approach involving the person living with Parkinson’s, family members, a physician and other healthcare professionals. People with Parkinson’s are best served by a movement disorder specialist who is an expert in all aspects of the disease, knowledgeable regarding the full range of treatment options and familiar with the cutting edge of clinical and scientific research. The ideal Parkinson’s physician is available to provide advice and care. Our Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636) can help you find your nearest Parkinson’s specialist.
A: Consult your doctor first. Generally, moderate consumption (an occasional drink) should be acceptable for people with PD, if there are no medical conditions or medications that prohibit alcohol use.
Q: Are there any new Parkinson’s drugs on the horizon?
A: There are always several promising new pharmaceutical compounds “in the pipeline” of discovery or development. New surgical approaches and gene therapies for Parkinson’s are also currently being tested. If you are interested in testing new Parkinson’s drugs, consider participating in a clinical trial.
A: You can consider becoming a research advocate and educating your PD community about clinical studies or the development of new therapies. Advocate for funding PD research by joining the Parkinson’s Foundation Parkinson’s Advocates in Research (PAIR) program is a network of research advocates who work to bring educated consumer voices to important issues in Parkinson’s therapy development.
Visit Parkinson.org/Library or call our free Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636), to order Frequently Asked Questions along with any of our educational materials and to speak to a Helpline specialist.