When You Have Just Been Diagnosed With Parkinson's Disease

What to Do When You Have Just Been Diagnosed With Parkinson's

There are many treatment options and resources for patients with Parkinson's disease and their families.

Your doctor, a movement disorders specialist, has just told you that you have Parkinson’s disease. He has also told you what you can expect to happen in the next few years. But you could not take it all in while sitting there listening to the bad news. So sit down, think and take stock. Here are some things to consider:

  • While PD does impose major lifestyle changes, it is gradual and not as severe as it used to be when treatment options were more limited.
  • In addition to the gold standard treatment with the drug levodopa, a variety of other effective treatment options are available to you. Ask your doctor about them to see which are appropriate for your case.
  • You are not alone. Approximately 50,000 new cases of Parkinson’s Disease are diagnosed each year in the United States alone. It may be worth hooking up with some other individuals with PD to start a support group. That group can become an invaluable source of information and emotional support.

Consider Taking These Steps:

  • Do not let the disease define who you are. You are not your disease. You can regain a measure of control by beginning a program of physical exercise, physical therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Begin a program to slow down the disease. Certain medications may help to slow disease progression, as well as an improved diet, exercise, and stress management. Ask your doctor for more information about these.
  • Involve your family and friends. Establish and maintain your support network.
  • Get good information on as many aspects of the disease as you can. Information is power. This site contains a lot of information about PD as well as many links to related resources. It can help you to anticipate problems and solutions to those problems.
  • Stay in close touch with your Parkinson's disease specialist. He or she will be the person who will adjust your drug dosage when necessary, prescribe new treatments, monitor your symptoms and progression of the disease and ensure your well-being. Bottom line: While PD will literally cramp your style and limit your activities, it does not necessarily have to rob you of your pleasures and your independence. Help is available. Seek it out and use it.


R. Pahwa and K.E. Lyons (Editors),Handbook of Parkinson’s Disease; 4th Edition, New York, Informa Healthcare Publishers, 2007.

Sagar, Harvey. The New Parkinson's Disease Handbook: The Essential Guide for Sufferers and Carers.2002 Random House Uk Ltd.

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