Parkinson's Disease

Indiana University Health Neurology & Neurosurgery has several highly skilled neurologists who specialize in diagnosing and treating this disease

Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder of the nervous system that causes abnormal involuntary or voluntary movements, such as tremors, or slow, reduced movements.

Parkinson’s disease occurs when the nerve cells in your brain do not make enough dopamine (a brain chemical). Dopamine transmits signals between your nerve cells and brain to produce smooth movements.

Highly skilled neurologists at Indiana University Health specialize diagnosing and treating in movement disorders.

Parkinson’s disease usually impacts people at about age 60, but it can affect younger individuals. It affects approximately 1 million people in the U.S. according to the National Parkinson Foundation. Each year, about 60,000 new cases are identified.

Parkinson's Disease Symptoms

The first signs of Parkinson’s disease involve changes in your patterns of movement including:

  • Involuntary tremors
  • Reduced facial expression
  • Slower walking pace
  • Stiff limbs
  • Imbalance

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition, meaning your body loses the function of its neurons. Cells within your brain called neurons transmit information to other nerve cells and muscles. With Parkinson’s disease, neurons gradually reduce in number as they stop functioning.

As your neurons lose their ability to work properly, symptoms tend to worsen. You may experience difficulties with:

How We Can Help

IU Health physicians provide multidisciplinary care for you as you learn how to live with and manage Parkinson’s disease. Your physicians’ years of caring for patients with Parkinson’s disease allow them to teach you self-care techniques for the early stages of the condition. Your team will provide more intense therapies as the disease progresses.

Your neurologists work with physical, speech and occupational therapists specially trained in neurorehabilitation to help you maintain as much muscle and movement control as possible. IU Health neurosurgeons perform brain therapies to reduce movement problems. They employ a team approach to pinpoint Parkinson’s disease, which has no blood or diagnostic tests for diagnosis.

At the Indiana University Health Neuroscience Center, physicians collaborate with the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Neurology. This gives them access to the latest research and knowledge about treatments for Parkinson’s disease. They will share their expertise to help you gain knowledge to feel empowered to manage your Parkinson’s disease.

Overview

Parkinson’s disease usually impacts people at about age 60, but it can affect younger individuals. It affects approximately 1 million people in the U.S. according to the National Parkinson Foundation. Each year, about 60,000 new cases are identified.

Parkinson's Disease Symptoms

The first signs of Parkinson’s disease involve changes in your patterns of movement including:

  • Involuntary tremors
  • Reduced facial expression
  • Slower walking pace
  • Stiff limbs
  • Imbalance

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition, meaning your body loses the function of its neurons. Cells within your brain called neurons transmit information to other nerve cells and muscles. With Parkinson’s disease, neurons gradually reduce in number as they stop functioning.

As your neurons lose their ability to work properly, symptoms tend to worsen. You may experience difficulties with:

How We Can Help

IU Health physicians provide multidisciplinary care for you as you learn how to live with and manage Parkinson’s disease. Your physicians’ years of caring for patients with Parkinson’s disease allow them to teach you self-care techniques for the early stages of the condition. Your team will provide more intense therapies as the disease progresses.

Your neurologists work with physical, speech and occupational therapists specially trained in neurorehabilitation to help you maintain as much muscle and movement control as possible. IU Health neurosurgeons perform brain therapies to reduce movement problems. They employ a team approach to pinpoint Parkinson’s disease, which has no blood or diagnostic tests for diagnosis.

At the Indiana University Health Neuroscience Center, physicians collaborate with the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Neurology. This gives them access to the latest research and knowledge about treatments for Parkinson’s disease. They will share their expertise to help you gain knowledge to feel empowered to manage your Parkinson’s disease.

Your physicians constantly work to better understand what causes Parkinson’s disease so that they can develop better and more comprehensive treatments for you.

  • Self-care. At our specialized Parkinson’s disease clinic you will learn about your condition and the changes you will face as the disease progresses. Your physicians will work with you to create a plan that includes exercise, eating well and knowing how your medicines may react with your diet.
  • Medicines. Many different prescription medicines treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Your physician will work with you to figure out the best fit for you.
  • Exercise. Regular exercise can help improve your balance and motor coordination. It may also ease depression. Many people with Parkinson’s disease enjoy dance classes, yoga and cycling.
  • Nutrition. As with any condition, eating healthy will help you. An IU Health dietitian can help you create an eating plan that works with your medicines and will maximize your nutrition.
  • Neurorehabilitation. Using a team approach through the Neurorehabilitation and Robotics lab at the IU Health Neuroscience Center your physicians will tailor physical, occupational, speech and other therapies to help you.
  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS)
  • Research. We participate in extensive research about the causes, genetics and treatments for Parkinson’s disease. This creates opportunities for you to take part in clinical trials and offers access to leading edge advancements in care not available elsewhere.

Treatment

Your physicians constantly work to better understand what causes Parkinson’s disease so that they can develop better and more comprehensive treatments for you.

  • Self-care. At our specialized Parkinson’s disease clinic you will learn about your condition and the changes you will face as the disease progresses. Your physicians will work with you to create a plan that includes exercise, eating well and knowing how your medicines may react with your diet.
  • Medicines. Many different prescription medicines treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Your physician will work with you to figure out the best fit for you.
  • Exercise. Regular exercise can help improve your balance and motor coordination. It may also ease depression. Many people with Parkinson’s disease enjoy dance classes, yoga and cycling.
  • Nutrition. As with any condition, eating healthy will help you. An IU Health dietitian can help you create an eating plan that works with your medicines and will maximize your nutrition.
  • Neurorehabilitation. Using a team approach through the Neurorehabilitation and Robotics lab at the IU Health Neuroscience Center your physicians will tailor physical, occupational, speech and other therapies to help you.
  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS)
  • Research. We participate in extensive research about the causes, genetics and treatments for Parkinson’s disease. This creates opportunities for you to take part in clinical trials and offers access to leading edge advancements in care not available elsewhere.

Patient Stories for Parkinson's Disease

Rock Steady Boxing

This central Indiana nonprofit gym helps fight Parkinson’s disease through non-contact fitness boxing programs.

Resources

Rock Steady Boxing

This central Indiana nonprofit gym helps fight Parkinson’s disease through non-contact fitness boxing programs.