How is it managed?

It is now considered a simple truth that medication is not the only form of treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Although vital to maintain your symptoms medication is not the full picture. Exercise is equally important and if it could be taken in pill form would be prescribed as the first intervention available. So it becomes simple – a combination of both and you are well on your way to fighting Parkinson’s, preventing progression and taking back power.

Exercise IS Parkinson’s Treatment

So we know that a combination of exercise and medicine are crucial to combat the day to day challenges of the disease. But will anything do? Exercise comes in many shapes and sizes and if you are not a regular user or haven’t read up on the topic, it may come to a surprise that not all exercise forms are created equal.

  • Cardiovascular exercise.
  • Weight or resistance training.
  • Stretching.
  • Yoga.
  • Pilates
  • Cross-fit.
  • Running.
  • Aerobics.

The lists of different types and “brands” of exercise go on and on, and can confuse people who are even in the business.

What’s important to know for Parkinson’s disease is this – Intensity of exercise is the single most important aspect. How hard you work is probably more important what you do. This will lean what you should do towards two main types of exercise Aerobic and Resistance.

Cardiovascular exercise at a low level like walking is great for your heart and overall health especially as you get older, however will not drive the brain changes needed for PD if it isn’t intense. Yoga and stretching can be very important for your PD if you have rigidity and stiffness in muscles and joints, but will not assist any other symptoms.

Here is why intense aerobic or resistance training is a vital medication for Parkinson’s Disease. As you now may be aware by now from other information on the website – Parkinson’s is a loss of Dopamine neurons in the brain within the motor cortex, specifically the Substantia Nigra. The more dopamine lost the worse symptoms get.

Intense aerobic or resistance training combats this within the brain. Many studies have now shown that when you exercise with aerobic or resistance to a certain intensity, a protein is produced in the brain called Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor or BDNF. This BDNF actually stimulates growth of new neurons in the brain. This is known as neurogenesis. It sounds complex but simply means neuron growth.

You heard right – those dopamine neurons can be grown back to a certain extent. Replaced. Not by medication, in fact although the chemical dopamine be replaced by your meds for ext short periods of time by taking htem orally, not a single one can create new neurons in the brain.

Again, there is no medication that has effects on the brain anywhere near the same extent as intense exercise. View it as another prescription – another daily dose. It isn’t always easy – in fact the point is the difficulty. That’s what stimulates the BDNF in your brains which slows progression of your disease. With the right exercise and right frequency you can even improve from point of diagnosis. That’s right! Your symptoms can significantly improve on what they are now, immeasurably improving your quality of life if you make the change and start doing the right exercise.

Medication for Parkinson’s Treatment

Following a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, it is likely you will be prescribed a regiment of daily medication. As with any pharmacological interventions, side effects can occur when taking these medicines.

Generally, medications prescribed for PD are split into two categories. Symptomatic medication – for the initial stages and throughout the disease, and side-effect management during the later stages.

Symptomatic treatment medications include;

  • Rasagiline.
  • Selegiline.

Both of these medications are used in the initial stages of PD. They help control the primary motor symptoms by stopping the breakdown of the dopamine left in the brain. An added bonus is that these drugs have minimal side effects.

  • Rupinirole.
  • Primipexole.
  • Ritigotine.

These drugs are known as dopamine agonists. They are slightly more complicated to explain, however, act on the dopamine receptors in the brain. This prevents the degeneration of dopamine neurons which is the primary impact of PD while aiding production. Agonists do have a wider array of symptoms including hallucinations, impulsiveness and compulsiveness.

These drugs are known as dopamine agonists. They are slightly more complicated to explain, however, act on the dopamine receptors in the brain. This prevents the degeneration of dopamine neurons which is the primary impact of PD while aiding production. Agonists do have a wider array of symptoms including hallucinations, impulsiveness and compulsiveness.

  • Carbidopa/Levodopa.
  • Sinemet.
  • Rytary.
  • Duopa.

These are the primary drugs used to treat PD. They are essentially replacing the lost Dopamine in the brain in a process where the drugs are usually taken orally and when absorb convert from levodopa to dopamine. They are fast acting and have the biggest impact on controlling the motor symptoms. Levodopa is the best medication for treating Parkinson’s disease. As PD progresses, you will need to increase the dosages as prescribed by your neurologist. The main side effect is called dyskinesia. Dyskinesia is uncontrolled movement of the body, usually present in the arms and legs. It is one of the side effects responsible for the prescription of the second type of PD medication.

  • Trihexyphenidyl.
  • Artane.
  • Tihex.

These drugs are known as anticholinergics and used to treat the resting tremor. One of the motor symptoms levodopa doesn’t have an impact on is tremor. Over a long period of usage side effects have shown a mental decline and an increased incidence with dementia.

Medication for side-effects.

If you are taking PD medication like thos above for a prolonged preiod of time, side-effects tend to become more pronounced. So your neuroogist may prescribe more medication to treat these side effects.

  • Entacapone.
  • Stalevo.

As you take levodopa for a long period of time, the body becomes used to it. Levodopa will then have less effect in controlling motor symptoms. Entacapone increases the effectiveness of levodopa so it has a greater effect for a longer period of time. The side effects are similar to levodopa.

  • Amantadine.
  • Symmetrel.

Amantadine does have mild effect on controlling PD symptoms, however its main use is to stop dyskinesia. As mentioned previousl dyskinesia is uncotrolled movement of the limbs caused by prolonged use of levodopa. It becomes an important drug as dyskinesia can have a harmful effect on quality of life. Amantadine can cause some issues with sleep pattern and created some cognative issues with concentration and anxiety.

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