While there is no cure for Parkinson's yet, typical symptoms can be managed with specific medical procedures.
Treatment for Parkinson's
Everyone's experience of Parkinson's disease is unique.
You may need to try different medications, treatments and therapies to find out what Parkinson's treatment options work best for you.
Your Parkinson's Community Educator can give you personalised advice through an in-depth assessment for free!
Call us on 04-801 8850 to see if there is a Community Educator in your area!
Exercise is vital for people with Parkinson's.
Along with circuit training exercises for strength and flexibility, there are specific types of exercises that research indicates may slow down the progression of Parkinson's.
People with Parkinson's should attempt to get at least 20 to 30 minutes of exercise each day.
Always seek expert advice before beginning any exercise programme.
Medication for Parkinson's
The main aim of medication treatments for Parkinson’s is to increase the level of dopamine that reaches the brain.
Parkinson's medication looks to stimulate the parts of the brain where dopamine works, or block the action of other elements that affect dopamine.
In most newly diagnosed people, considerable improvements can be achieved by the careful introduction of targeted medication.
You will need to work with your doctor to find the right balance of medication to manage Parkinson's symptoms.
Your doctor will also need to check your responses to medications as you receive them, in case adjustments of dosage or timing need to be made.
Sometimes when somebody only has mild symptoms of Parkinson’s, their doctor may decide that it is best to postpone drug treatment for a while, and instead, focus on lifestyle changes like exercise and relaxation.
Types of Parkinson's Medication
The two main medication treatments for Parkinson’s are:
Levodopa is converted to dopamine in the body, which then replenishes the lack of dopamine in the brain of people with Parkinson's.
Levodopa is highly effective in controlling most symptoms of Parkinson’s.
More than 30 years after its discovery, it remains the cornerstone of Parkinson’s disease therapy, and a vast majority of patients receive levodopa therapy.
Dopamine agonists stimulate the natural dopamine rather than replacing it in the way that levodopa does.
Dopamine agonists mimic the signal from dopamine that is lost in people with Parkinson’s.
The drugs are usually started at a low dosage before being increased slowly to reduce any possible side effects.
Several clinical studies have shown that dopamine agonists can be effective treatments for several years when used alone.
Also, studies show that the likelihood of developing dyskinesias (involuntary movements) is significantly reduced when people take a dopamine agonist alone, or in combination with a low dose of Levodopa.
With any medication, it is essential to remember that everyone will react to it in different ways.
It is essential not to make any changes to your medication, or stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor.
It is also crucial that you know what other medications should not be taken with Parkinson’s drugs, and whether your medicines should be taken before or after food.
Getting Parkinson's Treatment New Zealand
The effectiveness of Parkinson’s medications depends greatly on the right medication being taken at the right time.
Work out with your doctor which times are best for you, and ensure that any carer’s, family members, rest-home or hospital staff are informed of the importance of taking your medication at the correct time.
How can Parkinson’s New Zealand help?
Parkinson's New Zealand offers information and professional support to people living with Parkinson’s. Our team of Parkinson’s Community Educators can provide home visits for personalised sessions.
Community Educators work closely with the person with Parkinson’s, and their carers to develop a medical plan that upholds their health and lifestyle. Community Educators liaise with health professionals that treat Parkinson’s in the community, including speech-language therapists, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists.
Parkinson’s New Zealand also has support groups for members for sharing their coping strategies, experiences and is a chance to establish social networks. Programs for people with Parkinson’s include exercise, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, and art or music therapy sessions.
Get in Touch
If you’d like to contact our charity and avail of this free service, then give us a call on 04 801 8850 today!
If you’d like to show your support to the service we provide to people with Parkinson’s, then please visit our donation page.
To find out who to contact and what services are available in your area, head over to our Regional Support.