• Talking to Your Doctor About Parkinson’s Disease

    You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with Parkinson’s disease. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
    Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
    • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
    • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
    • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
    • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
    • What is Parkinson’s disease?
    • Are my symptoms compatible with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease?
    • Is there any chance that my symptoms are caused by something reversible?
    • Are my children at risk for Parkinson’s disease?
    • Are there lifestyle changes I can make?
    • Will I need medications?
    • Are there surgical procedures that might help me?
    • Am I a candidate for any surgical procedures?
    • What are the statistics on improvement with various medications? With surgical procedures?
    • When should I consider surgical procedures?
    • Could my medications interact with any other medicines I’m taking?
    • Are there any clinical trials that I could participate in?
    • Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that might work for me?
    • Should I change my diet?
    • What kinds of exercises might benefit me?
    • Might I benefit from physical therapy?
    • Can I continue to drive?
    • Can you direct me to a professional who can help me learn stress-reduction techniques?
    • Are there any support groups for people with Parkinson’s disease in my community?
    • Should I sell my home?
    • What is the usual progression of symptoms in Parkinson’s disease?
    • Will I need to go to a nursing home?
    • Is there any way to predict how severe my symptoms may become?
    • Is there any way to predict how much disability I might experience?
    • Are there any support groups for me?
    • Are there any support groups for my family and loved ones?

    References

    American Association of Neurological Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.aans.org/ .

    Conn HF, Rakel RE. Conn’s Current Therapy 2002. 54th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 2002.

    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/ .

    Parkinson’s Disease Foundation website. Available at: http://www.pdf.org/ .

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