Parkinson’s disease is a disorder in which the brain slowly stops producing a chemical called dopamine. The loss of dopamine results in the person having less and less ability to regulate their physical movements, body and emotions.
A Parkinson's diagnosis is life-changing but the disease itself is not fatal. No cure currently exists. The Legacy Parkinson's Program treats this disease and other movement disorders at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center in Portland, OR . The goal of the care team is to keep the patient’s quality of life as high as possible.
Legacy Health’s Parkinson's Program offers a specialized clinic that is personalized to help patients achieve and maintain an active, high-quality life. Our team of neurologists, physical therapists and speech-language pathologists provide complete care in the Portland area. We collaborate with Parkinson's Resources of Oregon to provide community resources. This program is uniquely tailored to each patient and may include:
Treatment for Parkinson's disease includes balance training and physical therapy
The most common symptoms of Parkinson’s are:
Symptoms of Parkinson’s vary from person to person. The symptoms may appear slowly and in no certain order. Early symptoms may be subtle. They may slowly get worse over many years before reaching a point where they disrupt normal daily activities.
Diagnosing Parkinson’s in the early stages can be hard. At first, signs and symptoms may look like other health problems or the effects of normal aging. For this reason, a health care provider may want to observe symptoms for a period of time until they are consistently apparent.
Right now, blood or lab tests are not used to diagnose Parkinson’s. Diagnosis is based mainly on a person’s health history and nervous system exam. This may include:
Since Parkinson’s disease results in less dopamine, diet and physical activities, such as physical therapy and exercise, can increase dopamine levels. A patient may also be given medications as the disease progresses. A patient’s care team will develop a treatment plan unique to each individual.
One available treatment option is deep brain stimulation (DBS). Here, a surgeon places an electrode inside the brain to block signals that cause tremors and other movement problems. Learn about DBS.