Morning Mix


Treating Parkinsons Disease

Posted at 11:56 AM, Jan 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-13 11:55:51-05

There are many different approaches to treating movement disorders, but at Spectrum Health there are ways of treating the most well known movement disorder, Parkinsons Disease.

Dr. R. Ross Coleman, a Movement Disorders Neurologist at Spectrum Health, describes a movement disorder as anything that moves too much or moves too little.

There are three main categories of treatment: conservative approach, medications, and surgical approaches.

Conservative approaches include using adaptive equipment. Dr. Coleman says they have their patients use weighted silverware in order to reduce the amount of spilling when they're eating or drinking. There are also shirts with magnetic buttons which can help make getting dressed easier.

When it comes to the medication approach to help combat Parkinsons disease, there is a newly FDA approved drug called carbidopa levodopa. Dr. Coleman says this medication artificially replaces some of the dopamine that is lost in the brain as a result of Parkinsons, and helps with movement.

Finally, the surgical approach to treating Parkinsons is deep brain stimulation, or DBS. This treatment is primarily used in patients who have moderately advanced disease who have have complications from the medications that are perscribbed to them, or who have a tremor and are no longer responding to the medication.

DBS is also intended to improve the quality of life by reducing complications from medications. The most important aspect with DBS is figuring out which patients are eligible for and willing to undergo surgery, according to Dr. Coleman.

However, a cornerstone for treating Parkinsons regardless of any of these approaches to treatment, is exercise.

Spectrum Health Neurology is located at 2750 East Beltline Avenue Northeast in Grand Rapids. For more information on treatments and programs, call (616) 267-7104.