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What Is Parkinson’s and How Can It Impact Seniors?

  • Category: General Health
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  • Written By: ATRIO Health Plans
What Is Parkinson’s and How Can It Impact Seniors?

Parkinson's Disease: An Overview

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects movement and can cause a variety of other symptoms. It is most common in people aged 60 and older and occurs when the brain's dopamine-producing cells begin to break down. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is crucial in controlling movement and coordination.

Common Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease can vary from person to person but generally include the following:

  • Tremors, typically in the hands or fingers
  • Slowed movement (bradykinesia)
  • Rigid muscles
  • Impaired posture and balance
  • Loss of automatic movements
  • Speech and writing changes

Treatment Options for Parkinson's Disease

Although there is no known cure for Parkinson's disease, numerous treatments are available to effectively manage symptoms and enhance quality of life. These can include medications, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and, in some cases, surgical interventions.

Medications for Parkinson's Disease

The primary goal of medications for Parkinson's is to increase dopamine levels in the brain or mimic its effects. Some common medications include:

  • Levodopa: a dopamine precursor that can penetrate the blood-brain barrier and convert to dopamine.
  • Dopamine agonists: these medications mimic the effects of dopamine in the brain.
  • MAO-B inhibitors: these drugs help prevent the breakdown of dopamine in the brain.
  • COMT inhibitors: these prescriptions extend the effects of levodopa by blocking an enzyme that breaks it down.

Tips for Living with Parkinson's Disease

Whether you or a loved one have been recently diagnosed with Parkinson's, various strategies and support systems are available to help you adapt and maintain a fulfilling life. By staying informed, proactive, and connected, you can successfully navigate the challenges of living with Parkinson's disease.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Eating a balanced diet, regular exercise and good sleep hygiene can help improve overall well-being and potentially ease Parkinson's symptoms.

Seek Support

Joining a support group, talking with a therapist, or connecting with others with Parkinson's disease can provide valuable emotional support and practical advice.

Stay Engaged

Engaging in hobbies, social activities, and mental exercises can help maintain cognitive function and provide a sense of purpose and enjoyment.

Utilize Available Resources

In addition to educational materials, support groups, and Parkinson's-focused organizations, a variety of healthcare resources are available for individuals with Parkinson's and their families. These resources can include assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and home health services that provide specialized care and support.

Take Control of Your Parkinson's Journey

Parkinson's disease can significantly impact seniors, but it's possible to maintain a good quality of life with the right support, treatments, and lifestyle adjustments. ATRIO Health Plans is committed to helping seniors navigate their healthcare needs, including those with Parkinson's.

Explore our blogs for further insights and tips on maximizing your golden years and achieving a fulfilling life.