Consumer Health: Treating and living with Parkinson’s disease

a smiling older couple at home, sitting together on a couch

April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month, which makes this a good time to learn more about treating and living with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. People with Parkinson’s disease can experience tremor, slowed movement, rigid muscles, speech and writing changes, and impaired posture and balance. An estimated 1 million people in the U.S. and more than 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease, according to the American Parkinson Disease Association.

There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but medications can help control the symptoms, often dramatically. If you’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you’ll need to work closely with your health care provider to find a treatment plan that offers you the greatest relief from symptoms with the fewest side effects. In more advanced cases, surgery may be advised.

Your health care provider also may recommend lifestyle changes, especially ongoing aerobic exercise. In some cases, physical therapy that focuses on balance and stretching also is important. A speech-language pathologist may be able to improve speech problems.

Living with any chronic illness can be difficult, and it’s normal to feel angry, depressed or discouraged at times. Parkinson’s disease can be profoundly frustrating, as walking, talking and even eating become more difficult and time-consuming.

Learn more about treating and living with Parkinson’s disease.

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