Neurologist on Leading Edge of Parkinson’s Disease
If you’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, it’s important to understand your options for the treatment and management of your symptoms. Patients need a trustworthy neurologist who is experienced in treating Parkinson’s Disease.
“The first step is to visit a neurologist,” said Dr. Mezo. “Other conditions can mimic the symptoms of Parkinson’s, so for patients with tremors, we need to verify the diagnosis.”
Once confirmed, Dr. Mezo discusses individualized therapy options with his patients.
“Medication can help with motor skill symptoms like tremors and rigidity,” he added. “Other symptoms like hallucinations and depression are addressed separately. Gait training and other physical therapies, along with assistive devices, reduce the risk of falling.”
Dr. Mezo recommends the use of a walker or cane designed specifically for Parkinson’s patients.
For help with speech and communication, Dr. Mezo often refers patients for Lee Silverman Voice Treatment through the speech therapy department at Morris Hospital. In addition to speech therapy, Dr. Mezo recommends rescue medications that help a patient when their body freezes up. Injectable or nasal spray options can be used by the patient (if possible) or by a caretaker.
“The best therapy we have today for Parkinson’s Disease is DBS, or Deep Brain Stimulator,” said Dr. Mezo. “A small wire implanted in the brain is fed behind the ear to an implanted controller, similar to a pacemaker. It’s not visible. It controls motor symptoms significantly without the side effects of drugs.”
DBS is most successful when used shortly after diagnosis, and is best for patients under age 70.
“I monitor DBS in my office, and I program it and make adjustments as needed,” added Dr. Mezo. “It really works wonders.”
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