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Ask The Expert Archive

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Parkinson's Disease Archive Questions

Below are Parkinson's Experts’s answers to Parkinson's Disease questions
received through the Ask the Expert feature.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended
to be a substitute for individual medical advice in diagnosing or treating a
health problem. Please consult with your physician about your specific health
care concerns.

Now displaying records 16 to 30 of 42.

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Q : 16

Is fetal tissue transplantation a viable option for treating Parkinson's disease?

Fetal tissue transplantation has been performed in clinical trials for PD. However, the results of these trials were mixed at best. Because of the failure of the early clinical trials, researchers have generally moved away from fetal transplant research for PD.

Q : 17

Is there an operation available?

Deep Brain Stimulation is a clinically effective treatment for movement disorders. Patients who have received the best medical treatments and yet the symptoms are interfering with quality of life are appropriate candidates to look into this surgical treatment. Although the mechanism of action is unclear, the stimulation of certain brain cells provides an improvement of the symptoms.

Q : 18

What is the best treatment for treating fainting, low blood pressure and weakness in a Parkinson's patient?

Orthostasis (low blood pressure leading to fainting) is a common but very difficult problem in long-standing PD. It can be due to the disease itself, but is often made worse by Sinemet (and other anti-PD medications) which makes treating the problem quite difficult. The best drugs to treat orthostasis are florinef and midodrine. Your doctor may be able to increase the doses of these medications, but this would need to be discussed directly with him/her. Other things that may help with orthostasis include adding salt to the diet and staying well hydrated. Your doctor may find it helpful for you to obtain a blood pressure cuff and take measurements both lying down and standing up. This should be done once per day for a number of weeks to provide your doctor with the necessary information to make changes to your florinef and midodrine doses.

Q : 19

How does alcohol consumption affect Parkinson's and the efficacy of Parkinson's medications?

Moderate alcohol consumption is safe in Parkinson's disease. It should not significantly affect the symptoms of the disease, and in general alcohol is safe when taken with Parkinson's medications. Moderation should be practiced.

Q : 20

What is the difference between the long-term outcome for Parkinson's and Parkinsonism?

Parkinsonism is not a diagnosis but a description of a constellation of clinical signs and symptoms. Parkinson's disease is the most common cause of parkinsonism. There are many other causes of parkinsonism other than Parkinson's disease, and each cause carries its own prognosis

Q : 21

Has there been serious research on the use of fava beans for PD patients?

There are only small, uncontrolled studies examining this issue. Fava beans contain levodopa and therefore may provide temporary relief of some symptoms of PD. However, the amount can vary considerably so it is hard to predict an individual's response. Another concern which may prevent further research, is a condition called favism (G6PD deficiency) in which individuals eating certain foods such as fava beans may develop hemolytic anemia (a life-threatening blood condition).

Q : 22

My Dad has Parkinson's disease. He takes the regular meds for this. Is it normal for him to be very confused and at the same time know he is confused? How does a patient get an appointment with someone there at your center?

People are often aware that they are confused, especially when the confusion is clearing. Presuming that distance is complicating factor, your father can receive an second opinion from a neurologist specializing in movement disorders. Most of these specialists tend to be located at major medical centers. However, we would be happy to schedule an evaluation at our center. This can be accomplished by calling 410-328-7809 and requesting an appointment.

Q : 23

Does Parkinson's affect the thinking process? My husband has been diagnosed for 1 year and gets confused easily. He has trouble remembering all of a message. He was diagnosed with the rigid type of PD.

This symptom must be reporting to the treating physician. Early PD does not usually affect the thinking/memory process but medication interaction can certainly cause these symptoms.

Q : 24

I have had PD since the age of 17 and have been given many drugs which have helped. I've also have had a DBS surgery. I'm finding my medications are starting to go into off modes leaving my balance and walking ability greatly effected. I'm becoming petrified of becoming rigid again. I'm going to extreme means to find out if there is anything else to try, so I can keep on enjoying life.

Assure that your DBS programming is at optimum settings to control your symptoms and that you are continuing to take your medications on a regular schedule. Remember that good nutrition and regular exercise help maintain your physical status. A positive outlook and searching for new ways to participate help keep your life in balance.

Q : 25

I have an appointment on to discuss the possibility of having Parkinson's Disease. Could you tell me things that I need to ask or expect them to ask?

It is important to take with you a list of all your medications, a list of all surgical and medical problems in your past, and a list of all your symptoms. A complete physical and neurological examination will provide additional information. Ask specific questions about why you have certain symptoms and what to expect from any medications that may be prescribed.

Q : 26

I have mild PD and want to buy a new bed. What should I look for and who makes good beds?

There is no particular bed that is best for a person with PD. The most important aspect is safety. Best suggestion is to choose a bed that is easy for you to get into and out of--not too high or too low. The firmness of the mattress is for your personal comfort.

Q : 27

I have been diagnosed with Cushing's disease. I've used your site for research and I have all the symptoms of Parkinson's. What should I look for and what should I tell my Primary Care Doctor?

Ask your doctor for a referral to a neurologist because you are worried about Parkinson`s disease.

Q : 28

Does Azilect help stop the progression of Parkinson Disease?

Azilect does not stop the progression of Parkinson Disease. Previous research has suggested that Azilect may result in a mild slowing of progression, however, these results are controversial. In summary, the jury is out on this question.

Q : 29

My father has Parkinson's, is wheelchair bound and now has very little movement in his joints. He can barely swallow. What is the next stage of the illness?

He is already in the advanced stage of Parkinson's disease. It is important that his difficulty swallowing be addressed by guarding against choking. The book "Parkinson's Disease: A complete Guide for Patients & Families," written by Weiner, Shulman, and Lang, outlines the symptoms and treatments for this stage.

Q : 30

Is Parkinson's Disease hereditary?

In some cases, there is a definite link that is noted, but in most cases that occur after the age of 60, it is thought to not be. A person can carry one of the Parkinson's genes and still not exhibit the symptoms of the disease.

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