The first step in living well with Parkinson’s disease is to separate it from any other issues related to your health. Your primary care physician (PCP) or family doctor monitors your general health and makes sure you know when to have preventative medical screening tests. This physician also provides general health education and will work with you to diagnose and treat your general medical problems. If you do not have a PCP, now is the time to get one. Ask friends, family or other people with Parkinson’s for recommendations. Choose a PCP who listens, respects your input and with whom you feel comfortable.
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic illness. An effective treatment plan includes medication, lifestyle changes, nonmedical therapies and wellness-based treatments for the mind, body and spirit. Treatment also can be complex and will change over time – sometimes rapidly, sometimes remaining stable for long periods of time. Although you depend on your physicians and healthcare providers to recommend treatments, only you know what is best for you. You are also the one who is in the best position to keep track of what has worked and what has not – and you can apply that knowledge to make the best treatment choices over the years. Who better to look out for you than yourself or your family?
Tips for the Newly Diagnosed
- Be Aware. Understand your symptoms, medicines and their side effects. Talk to your doctor about any changes, even if they seem insignificant.
- Participate. Be prepared for your medical appointments, planning and prioritizing in advance what you hope to get out of them.
- Listen and Assess. Listen to your body, and report any uncomfortable changes. Listen, too, to family and others who may observe changes in you and express their concern.
- Think Holistically. Holistic health means that you look at the whole body and the whole picture: lifestyle, diet, exercise, stress management, relationships and personal and spiritual growth.
- Establish Your Parkinson’s Support Team. Each person is unique and has different needs; therefore, each person will have different providers on their healthcare team.
You can learn much more about Parkinson’s self-care management, including what type of doctors, therapists and other healthcare providers you may want to include on your Parkinson’s Support Team in the Every Victory Counts™ program for living well with Parkinson’s.