Parkinson's Disease

It is estimated Parkinson's disease affects 1 to 3 percent of the population over age 50, though an increasing number of younger people are being diagnosed with the illness. Parkinson’s occurs when certain brain cells degenerate, causing a depletion of the dopamine—a substance produced in the body that helps regulate movement and emotion. There is no cause or cure for the disease, but our Parkinson’s team at Gundersen works with you to establish a treatment program that fits your needs.

Treatments we offer

Medications - Although there is no cause or cure for Parkinson's disease, there are many medications that may alleviate the symptoms. The choice of drugs is customized to you, and neurologists may have to try several medications before finding the one that best fits your needs. A medication program will be based on your functional and cognitive impairment, ability to tolerate the medication and the advice of your doctor.

Alternative and supportive therapies – Our team recommends changes to your exercise and diet that may help lessen your symptoms. Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy may be recommended as part of your treatment plan. Our experts can also suggest adaptive equipment that may increase your quality of living.

Surgeries we perform

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) – Deep brain stimulation is a surgical option for patients with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders such as essential tremor and medically refractory dystonia. DBS uses a neurostimulator to block abnormal nerve signals that cause movement disorder symptoms such as tremors. The amount of stimulation provided can be customized depending on your needs.

What does it feel like to have Parkinson's disease?

Living with Parkinson’s disease can be frustrating. Since the medication wears off after varying lengths of time, you never know when it may be impossible to complete ordinary tasks. Imagine wanting to get out of bed, but not being able to pull the sheet back or get up. Or think about trying to answer the phone only to discover your voice isn't working. Patients know what they want to do, but their bodies don't respond. The concentrated effort required to perform ordinary actions causes the fatigue most people live with constantly.

Why choose Gundersen?

Our team works closely with you to personalize your care so you become as functional as possible. The goal is to provide comprehensive, coordinated medical and surgical care for improved quality of life, including diagnosis, rehabilitative services and continued medical management for complex movement disorders.

Gundersen’s designation as a National Parkinson Foundation Care Center allows us to develop and share best practices with some of the best Parkinson’s centers in the nation. You will benefit from Parkinson’s-related research projects that are put into place at Gundersen.

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System staff deliver great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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