Parkinson Newsletter 2018 Q2

Dear Friends of Hope Parkinson Program

As the only Parkinson support program in Lee County, we welcome all people living with Parkinson’s disease, family members, friends, supporters and care partners. And we’re growing! Looking back at 2017, we now have more than 2,300 active participants who attend more than 740 movement classes, support groups, educational seminars and social activities. I am happy to share that many others are joining us on our path. On average, we add about 35 new Hope Parkinson Program participants each month! Hope Parkinson Program participants and their care partners know we can help you find ways to connect to all the resources you need so you can experience the best quality of life while coping with the effects of a chronic illness. And as our program grows, we turn to our community for support. Most do not know that the program is funded by generous donors, community gifts and the United Way. The Parkinson Program team is committed to providing complimentary membership and offering Hope-run classes, groups and events at no (or low) cost.

We ask that you consider making a donation to the Hope Parkinson Program so that we may continue to thrive. We are here to provide you with the assistance, counseling and an ever-growing range of programs and service to help you live every day of your journey to the fullest.

Samira K. Beckwith President and CEO Hope Healthcare

Medications in Early Parkinson’s Disease

Many patients are hesitant to start medications when they are first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I frequently hear: “I’m not a medication person” or “I want to hold off on taking meds for as long as possible.” Other patients worry that starting medication will cause them to develop uncomfortable side effects or

predisposes patients to early complications of the disease such as falling. Additionally, we have learned that there is no long, term benefit in avoiding medications and patients cannot “save” the drugs for “when really needed.” In fact, many experts believe doing so is actually detrimental to the long-term health of PD patients. Eventually, all PD patients will require one or more medicines to treat their disease. In my opinion, that time comes when symptoms of the disease become bothersome to the patient, interfere with their daily routine, or effect the patient’s work. Most neurologists would recommend starting with either Carbidopa/ Levodopa or a dopamine agonist and adjusting the dose over time. Most importantly, I encourage patients and their families to not be afraid of using these medications. They are safe, effective and improve quality of life in nearly all patients who use them.

worse, they worry that the drugs will eventually loose benefit. Fortunately, the Parkinson’s disease research community has been able to debunk these myths associated with the initiation of Parkinson’s disease medication therapy. As more is learned about Parkinson’s disease and its effects on the brain and body, treatment recommendations have evolved. We no longer recommend withholding therapy for as long as possible because we have discovered this strategy

Amanda Avila, MD Hope Parkinson ProgramMedical Director

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