Parkinson’s Disease Treatment and Management

In this blog we will delve into the treatment options and management strategies for Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Managing Parkinson’s requires a comprehensive approach that includes medications, physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, and proper nutrition. Each person’s experience with PD is unique, and hence, the treatment plan should be tailored to suit individual needs and symptoms.

Medications for Parkinson’s Disease

Introduction to Parkinson’s Disease Medications

There is a range of medications available for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. These medications aim to manage the symptoms, mainly by increasing the levels of dopamine or mimicking its effects in the brain, as the loss of dopamine-producing cells is a characteristic feature of PD.

Different Types of Medication and Their Functions


It is one of the most effective medications for treating PD. Once in the brain, levodopa is converted into dopamine. It is often combined with carbidopa (in a formulation known as Sinemet) which prevents levodopa from breaking down in the bloodstream before it reaches the brain.

Dopamine agonists

These medications mimic dopamine effects in the brain. Examples include pramipexole (Mirapex) and ropinirole (Requip). They are usually prescribed to individuals as a first line of treatment because it helps decrease the risk of motor complication development and may have a neuroprotective effect.

MAO-B inhibitors

These help to prevent the breakdown of dopamine in the brain by inhibiting the brain enzyme monoamine oxidase B (MAO B), which metabolizes dopamine. These include medications such as selegiline and rasagiline, that are known to improve several PD movement symptoms.

Anticholinergic medications

These were some of the first medications used to treat PD and are effective primarily for controlling tremor. These medications reduce tremor by blocking acetylcholine, a brain chemical that influences movement. Older individuals are especially susceptible to confusion and hallucinations when using anticholinergics and so these mediactions are not recommended for people over the age of 70.

Side-effects and Considerations when Using Medications

As with any medications, those for PD also come with potential side effects, which may include nausea, dizziness, and sleep disturbances. It is crucial to work closely with a healthcare provider to find a balance between the benefits and side effects.

Advanced Treatments for Parkinson’s Disease

Overview of Advanced Treatments

When medication alone is not sufficient to manage the symptoms of PD, more advanced treatments may be considered.

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)

DBS is a surgical procedure wherein electrodes are implanted in specific areas of the brain. These electrodes are connected to a generator implanted in the chest that sends electrical impulses to the brain, helping to alleviate PD symptoms.

Duopa Therapy

In this treatment, a combination of levodopa and carbidopa is directly delivered to the small intestine in a gel form through a surgically implanted tube, which helps in providing a more continuous delivery of medication.

Other Emerging Treatments

Research is ongoing, and new treatments such as gene therapy, stem cell therapy, and focused ultrasound are being investigated.

The Role of Physical Therapy and Exercise

Benefits of Physical Therapy and Exercise

Physical therapy and regular exercise can significantly improve the quality of life for people with PD. They can help with maintaining balance, strength, mobility, and flexibility.

Different Types of Exercises and Their Impacts

Aerobic Exercise

Engaging in moderate-intensity aerobic exercises like walking, swimming, or cycling for at least 150 minutes a week can improve cardiovascular health, which is vital for overall well-being. Aerobic exercise also increases the release of dopamine, which can be beneficial in managing PD symptoms.

Resistance Training

This form of exercise involves lifting weights or using resistance bands. Resistance training strengthens muscles, which is essential in counteracting the muscle weakness typical in PD. It can also improve the ability to carry out daily activities such as lifting objects and climbing stairs.

Tai Chi, Yoga, and Pilates

These low-impact exercises focus on balance, flexibility, and breathing. For people with PD, these exercises can be very beneficial in improving postural stability, reducing the risk of falls, and relieving muscle rigidity. Moreover, the focus on breathing and mindfulness can have positive effects on mental health.

Tailoring a Physical Therapy Program

It is essential to individualize physical therapy programs to accommodate the patient’s current physical condition, the progression stage of the disease, and personal goals. Consulting with a physical therapist who has experience in neurology or working with PD patients can help develop an effective and personalized program.

Dietary Considerations for Parkinson’s Disease

The Impact of Diet on Parkinson’s Disease

Diet can play a critical role in managing PD. Eating a balanced diet not only helps in maintaining overall health but can also alleviate some symptoms of PD.

Foods to Include in the Diet

Antioxidant-rich foods

Incorporating foods like berries, dark chocolate, nuts, and vegetables can help combat oxidative stress, which is believed to play a role in PD.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids such as fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and can be neuroprotective.

Foods to Avoid with Parkinson’s Disease

High protein meals

It is advised to consume proteins in moderation especially around the time of taking levodopa, as proteins can interfere with the absorption of this medication.

Processed foods and sugary drinks

They can aggravate PD symptoms and negatively impact overall health. It is advisable to minimize the intake of these foods.

Lifestyle Modifications to Manage Parkinson’s Disease

Importance of Lifestyle Changes

Implementing lifestyle changes is critical in managing PD. This includes physical activity, dietary adjustments, mental health management, and engaging in social activities.

Stress Management and Relaxation Techniques

Managing stress is crucial for patients with PD as stress can worsen symptoms. Techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness can be very effective in managing stress levels.

Sleep Hygiene and Importance of Rest

Ensuring good sleep quality is essential for brain health and managing the symptoms of PD. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule, creating a comfortable and quiet sleeping environment, and avoiding stimulants close to bedtime can improve sleep quality.

Social Engagement and Support

Staying socially engaged through participation in community activities or joining support groups is vital. Social support can alleviate feelings of isolation and depression and has a positive impact on the mental health of individuals living with PD.


In conclusion, managing Parkinson’s Disease is multi-faceted. Through a combination of medication, physical therapy, dietary changes, and lifestyle modifications, it’s possible to manage symptoms and maintain a higher quality of life. Regular consultation with healthcare professionals is essential to tailor the management plan to individual needs.

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