There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but medications can help relieve or control the symptoms by enhancing dopamine function. Levodopa, a medication that helps nerve cells in the brain make dopamine, has been the main choice of treatment for more than 50 years. While medications can be helpful, over time many people may experience periods when the medication “wears off” and no longer controls their symptoms, leading to motor fluctuations or involuntary movements.
If adjusting the dose or timing of medication doesn’t help, some patients may benefit from a surgical treatment option called deep brain stimulation (DBS). With this treatment, a transmitter device implanted under the skin sends electrical signals through a wire to electrodes implanted in the brain, helping to improve symptoms and reduce involuntary movements. More recently, infusion therapies have also been used to provide a continuous flow of medication.
Exercise, in conjunction with other rehabilitation therapies and medication, can help mobility and quality of life by increasing strength, boosting mood and improving balance. Regular exercise can also improve thinking, learning and memory through neuroplasticity, which is the way the brain forms and organizes connections.
Be sure to work with your doctors to develop the best treatment plan for you.