No one likes to think of having surgery, but it is necessary at certain points of our lives if there are no other alternatives. Drugs are another necessity when we are faced with diseases that prevent us from being mobile or from having normal bodily functions. Parkinson’s disease is a chronic disease and is progressive in nature there are treatments that can be done once the diagnosis is made that will help the individual to have a better quality of life while coping with Parkinson’s disease.
When you are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease your doctor will design a treatment plan that will allow you to control the symptoms that you have for many years using drugs of choice, surgery and other alternative methods of treating the disease that allow the individual to enjoy life as much as possible as the disease progresses.
Surgery is included in the treatment plan when all other drugs and alternative methods have been exhausted and at exhausted discussions with your doctor concerning the pros and cons of each surgical procedure explored.
Surgery that is suggested for those with Parkinson’s disease affect the areas of the brain known as the pallidum and thalamus. Surgery involves destroying cells, stimulating other cells and using devices such as a pacemaker in the hope of providing relief from the progressive symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Pallidotomy is a surgery that has been effective and is done to treat the involuntary body movements that are a hallmark of the disease. Your doctor should discuss the severe side effects of this surgery before you agree to have the surgery. Some side effects that have been noticed after having this surgery are the inability to speak and it has also been noticed that patients may have some memory difficulties after having the surgery.
Subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation is another surgery in which something is place inside the brain, in this case, an electrode that is placed into a cluster of cells known as the subthalamic nucleus. This is a very complex surgery. Another similar surgery is called the Pallidal deep brain stimulation also done with transplanting an electrode into a cluster of nerve cells.
Drugs of choice:
Levodopa is a popular drug used by those who have Parkinson’s disease. There is usually an improvement in symptoms almost as soon as the drug is started. There are however short-term side effects that should be discussed with your doctor before you start taking Levodopa. The side effects include nausea, hallucinations, fatigue, and light-headedness.
Bromocriptine, lisuride, pergolide, cabergoline, ropinirole, talipexole, pramipexole, and apomorphine are also drugs used to combat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and all of these drugs are in the class of drug known as “dopamine agonists”. These drugs have similar side effects to Levodopa and include nausea, and hallucinations.
Apomorphine, amantadine, anticholinergics, COMT inhibitors, and selegiline are also used to treat Parkinson’s disease.
More drugs are being tested and researched for appropriateness in treating Parkinson’s disease. It is the hope of researchers and doctors to someday discover a drug or treatment that will cure the disease and not just minimize the symptoms, or delay the progress of the disease.
The treatment plan will change as the disease progresses. It is helpful if the patient is open and honest with the doctor right from the start about quality of life and side effects that they will tolerate.