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Talking to Your Doctor About Parkinson Disease

You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with Parkinson disease. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can make the best choices for you and your family.

Tips for Getting Information

Here are some tips that will make it simpler for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask. They may also be able to provide more details to the doctor.
  • Write down your questions do you do not forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get and make sure you grasp what you are hearing. Ask for help if you need it.
  • Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your doctor

About Parkinson Disease

  • What is Parkinson disease?
  • Do my symptoms point to Parkinson disease?
  • Is there any chance that my symptoms are caused by something else?
  • Are my children at risk for getting this disease?

About Treatment

  • Are there healthy habits I can make?
  • Will I need medicines?
  • Are there surgeries that might help me?
  • Will my symptoms improve with medicine? With surgery?
  • When should I think about having surgery?
  • Could my medicines cause problems with other medicines that I take?
  • Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that might help me?

About Healthy Habits

  • Should I change my diet?
  • What kinds of exercises might help?
  • Could physical therapy help me?
  • Can I still drive?
  • Can you refer me to a professional who can help me learn how to lower my stress?
  • Are there any support groups for people with Parkinson disease in my community?
  • Are there any support groups for my family and loved ones?

About Your Outlook

  • How will my symptoms change over time?
  • Will I need to go to a nursing home?
  • Is there any way to know how severe my symptoms may become?
REFERENCES:

Homayoun H. Parkinson Disease. Ann Intern Med. 2018 Sep 4;169(5):ITC33-ITC48.

Parkinson disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/parkinson-disease. Updated October 4, 2019. Accessed February 24, 2020.

Parkinson disease. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/movement-and-cerebellar-disorders/parkinson-disease. Updated December 2018. Accessed February 24, 2020.

Parkinson's disease. American Association of Neurological Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.aans.org/en/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Parkinsons%20Disease.aspx. Accessed February 24, 2020.

Parkinson's disease information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Parkinsons-Disease-Information-Page. Updated August 28, 2019. Accessed February 24, 2020.

Last reviewed November 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD  Last Updated: 2/25/2020