Archive for February, 2012
Parkinson’s disease is a complex constellation of symptoms requiring the care of a neurologist. As reported in the August 30, 2011 issue of Neurology, Parkinson patients can have a greatly improved quality of life and long-term clinical well being under the care of a neurologist. Parkinson disease affects approximately 1 million Americans. It is only second to Alzheimer’s disease as a common neurodegenerative illness. Early diagnosis, recognition of associated symptoms and comorbidities with comprehensive care are necessary if a Parkinson patient’s long term quality of life are to be optimized.
Neurology involves a vast scope of illnesses, each requiring intimate knowledge and understanding of the disease process as well as the treatment required to optimized patient well being and life quality.
Across the United States, 15-20% of all visits to a primary care doctor’s office (family physician or internal medicine) involve a neurological complaint. While simple problems such as back or neck pain can easily be treated, more complicated illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, migraine headaches, seizures and multiple sclerosis should be managed by a neurologist. Surveys in the United States and Europe show that both medical students and general physicians do not feel as comfortable in managing neurological problems as they do other medical problems. The article in Neurology showed that Parkinson disease patients, managed by a neurologist, have better outcomes than those managed by primary care physicians.
Parkinson patients managed by neurologists, generally have an earlier diagnosis. This leads to earlier treatment. With this, patient functioning can be maintained and optimized. This allows for the patient and their families to enjoy more quality time together with an increased ability to engage in social activities and travel.
The Neurology study, involved over 138,000 Parkinson patents over the age of 65. The study showed that about 20% of patents with Parkinson’s disease never see a neurologist. These patients had a higher rate of falling, hip fractures, admission to nursing homes and shorter survival rate.
Parkinson patents cared for by a neurologist, by contrast, significantly had fewer hip fractures. Hip fractures are a major cause of disability and death in the elderly. Inherent to Parkinson patients is gait instability and a tendency to fall. Falling prevention is a main goal in all elderly patients, but particularly those with Parkinson’s disease. Unfortunately, many who suffer a hip fracture may become wheelchair confined, even with successful hip fracture repair. One third of all patients who suffer a hip fracture will die within a year of their fracture! With detailed care of Parkinson patients’ symptoms, a neurologist can better help these patients from falling and prevent major injuries.
This study also showed that Parkinson patients getting state-of-the-art care by a neurologist had a lower probability of being admitted to a nursing home. While most Parkinson patients do not need nursing home care, those with more advanced disease, Parkinson-related dementia or complications such as hip fractures frequently need skilled nursing facility placement.
Parkinson’s disease is complex. Not only are the motor symptoms a major problem, but so are the cognitive and psychological problems that go along with this disease. Depression and anxiety occur in over fifty percent of Parkinson patients. Early recognition and treatment of this is critical for improved patient and caregiver quality of life. Dementia is also a common problem. It can start as mild memory loss but will progress to dementia. Neurologists are sensitive to these problems and there are medications that can help.
The final finding of the Neurology study was that the six-year survival of Parkinson’s disease patients, managed by neurologist, was significantly increased. There are multiple reasons why this may be the case, including earlier use of the many types of medications used in Parkinson management, treatment of coexisting psychiatric problems and addressing the multitude of other medical problems that are frequently associated with Parkinson’s disease.
The conclusion for Parkinson patients and their family or caregivers is to get that patient in to see a neurologist, particularly one who specializes in movement disorders.
Patients want more control over their life, improved quality of life and the ability to remain functional as long as possible. This is true for the Parkinson patient as well. Take control of your life; contact a neurologist who specializes in Parkinson’s disease for consultation and management. It will most likely be the best thing you could do for yourself – for the rest of your life.
Endocrinology is considered to be the science involved with the functions of the numerous hormones in a human being’s body as well as the endocrine glands and the tissues that can produce them. It is such a complex branch in medical science that has been thoroughly studied and specified. It is one branch that has posed lots of challenges on its medical practitioners who are aptly called in the world of medicine as endocrinology doctors.
It is also this specific field that lacks excellent endocrinology doctors because not a lot of physicians want to specialize in the said science for endocrinology is tough work and requires a doctor to have the patience of a saint so as to diagnose with precision the hormonal imbalances or dysfunctions that a patient is afflicted with. So for your concerns related to endocrine glands, look for a credible endocrinologist for you to remedy any kind of endocrine-related ailment you have.
The following are therefore the qualities of excellent endocrinology doctors to consider:
• Check if one’s physician has the level of confidence of a individual who knows what he is doing, what he is looking at, and looks one in the eyes when the situation calls for it. Patients feel at peace and confident if the medical practitioner whom he is consulting is confident enough. Confidence matters in medical practice.
• A great doctor is emphatic. He could understand the feelings and experiences of his patients as if it were he who is suffering from the illness. The very best test of an emphatic physician is in the level of sensitivity he gives his communication with his patients. He should be sensitive enough to sense that a patient is feeling uncomfortable or in pain.
• A great endocrinology doctor humanely treats his patients. He is not only kind in actions and in words but is also very thoughtful and caring. He is likely to spend more time and share his expertise only to help a patient in his suffering.
• He is the type who would like to know more his patients more than what is needed in his medical practice. In other words, he gets personal with his patients, interacts with them both on a professional and a personal level, and remembers their names not just for their diseases or their respective hospital room numbers.
• A good medical physician is one who is sincere in his dealings with his patients. He does not dilly-dally nor speak to a patient as though he was hiding something. He is one who would tell his patients what they really want to know, suggests the most efficient and safest medical procedures, and makes known his opinions in a manner that doesn’t scare the patient.
• Finally, great endocrinology doctors are respectful and thorough in the conduct of their exams. They are ones who do not leave any stone unturned. They want their patients to be treated properly.