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  • Parkinsons
  • Visiting the Doctor
  • Referral
  • If an individual was suffering from the signs and symptoms including tremors, slow movement and stiff and inflexible muscles. The individual would then need to go and see a GP and tell them about the problems the individual is experiencing then the GP may refer the patient to a specialist for further tests.
  • Diagnosis
  • No tests can confirm a person has Parkinson's, so the GP would have to base a diagnosis on the signs, symptoms and medical history. The GP will talk about the problems the individual is experiencing and they may ask them to perform some simple mental or physical tasks (such as moving or walking around) to help with the diagnosis. If the GP suspects Parkinson's disease, there will then be a referral to a specialist. This will be either a neurologist (specialist in conditions with the brain and nervous system) or a geriatrician( specialist in issues affecting elderly people).
  • Treatment
  • The specialist will then offer medication called levodopa or special brain scans, such as a single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scan, to try to rule out other causes of the individuals symptoms.
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Once the individual has taken the levodopa is the signs and symptoms improve rapidly then it is highly likely the individual has Parkinson's. A person being told they have Parkinson's disease can be extremely emotionally distressing therefore it is important to have family and friends around to support the patient.
  • There is no real cure for Parkinson's but there are treatments available to relieve symptoms and maintain the quality of life. These include supportive therapies (such as physiotherapy), medication and, for some people, surgery. An individual may not need any treatment during the early stages of Parkinson's disease as symptoms are usually mild.
  • The individual will need long-term treatment to control their symptoms and they may eventually have to adapt the way they do simple everyday tasks. Regular exercise is particularly important in helping relieve muscle stiffness, improving the individuals mood and relieving stress.
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