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Early Warning Signs of Parkinson’s Disease

Summary: According to the Parkinson's Foundation, early recognition of Parkinson's warning signs can improve overall prognosis and keep the disease at bay longer.
Air Date: 10/2/14
Duration: 10
Host: Mike Smith, MD
Guest Bio: Fiona Gupta, MD
Dr. Fiona GuptaDr. Fiona Gupta is the Medical Director of the Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) program at the Movement Disorders Center at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, NJ.

She completed a prestigious two-year fellowship in Movement Disorders at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and her neurology training at the University of Connecticut, where she also served as chief resident.

Dr. Gupta was instrumental in establishing a Movement Disorders Center at Hackensack University Medical Center, where the emphasis is comprehensive and compassionate patient care. She is heavily involved with Parkinson's disease research and has lectured and presented abstracts at the major neurology academy meetings, including the Movement Disorder Society meetings.

Dr. Gupta is currently the principal investigator of clinical trials in Movement Disorders, which are being conducted at the medical center. Her program was selected to be a designated teaching center for deep brain stimulation by Medtronic, which is the medical device company that supplies the DBS device, and serves as faculty for Medtronic.

In addition, Dr. Gupta is annually chosen as the key speaker to give various lectures on the field of Movement Disorders throughout the region. Recent lectures have been to the New Jersey Neurological Association, grand rounds at major teaching institutions and other Continuing Medical Education events.

In addition to treating patients with Parkinson's disease, Dr. Gupta specializes in treating patients with essential tremor, focal and generalized dystonia, Huntington's disease, and spasticity resulting from cerebral palsy, stroke, or multiple sclerosis. She can seen by patients at the North Jersey Brain & Spine Center in Oradell, NJ.
Early Warning Signs of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson's disease is a neuro-degenerative brain illness in which the symptoms slowly get worse over time.

According to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease each year, and an estimated 7-10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson's disease.

What are the early warning signs of Parkinson's disease?

It's important to know that Parkinson's symptoms vary from patient to patient; but early warning signs of Parkinson's disease are most likely seen as pre-motor symptoms. These symptoms can include mood disorders like depression, increased anxiety, loss of smell and taste, and rapid eye movement (REM) behavioral disorder.

As Parkinson's disease progresses, motor symptoms will appear along with the pr-motor symptoms. Some of these motor symptoms include tremors, speech or writing changes, weakened balance or posture, stiff muscles, slowed movement, and the loss of automatic movements.

Are there any treatment options available if you notice the early signs of Parkinson's disease?

There are some non-pharmacology treatments to help ease early symptoms. One treatment in particular is physical exercise (light weight training, cardiovascular, stretching, etc.).

What are the other treatment options for Parkinson's disease once it has progressed?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Parkinson's. However, there are medications like Levadopa/Carbidopa that can help reduce the motor symptoms (tremors, shakiness, etc.).

What else do you need to know about early symptoms of Parkinson's disease?

Dr. Fiona Gupta discusses Parkinson's disease and why it's important to know early symptoms so you can seek proper treatment and control those symptoms.
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