First called “the shaking palsy,” Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a movement disorder that slowly worsens and is characterized by the loss of cells that produce the brain chemical dopamine. The cause is still unclear. There are about 1.2 million people who suffer from PD in the United States. The neurological disease affects approximately one in 100 people over the age of 60 and is more common in men than women.
The average age of diagnosis is 61 years old; however, 5 to 10 percent of cases are diagnosed before the age of 50. When this happens, it is referred to as young onset or early onset Parkinson’s disease.
One of our qualified specialists will base their diagnosis on your symptoms, a comprehensive medical and family history and your response to medications.
Experience matters. The UHealth Neurology Department has been recognized as one of the best for over a decade.
There is no definitive blood test or X-ray to confirm a PD diagnosis, so you have to rely on the expertise and clinical judgment of your healthcare provider, after a thorough neurological examination.
One of our qualified specialists will base their diagnosis on your symptoms, a comprehensive medical and family history and your response to medications. The physician will likely also order an MRI and blood work to help rule out other conditions that produce similar symptoms such as stroke or a brain tumor.
Oral medications can help your brain produce more dopamine, thereby lessening the severity of symptoms associated with PD. In addition, weekly botulism injections (or Botox®) can help with dystonia (muscle contractions) and sialorrhea (drooling).
A monthly multidisciplinary clinic provides comprehensive care that includes physical, occupational, speech and swallowing therapies as well as social and psychological services.
You can participate in PD clinical trials only available at UHealth.
Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery
Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery involves placement of a wire electrode into the brain. This electrode is connected to a stimulator that is similar to a heart pacemaker. Patients with this implant can interrupt brain signals that cause tremors by switching on the stimulator with a handheld control. The experienced neurosurgeons at UHealth have performed more than 600 of these procedures.
Why Choose UHealth?
One of only 47 Centers of Excellence designated by the Parkinson’s Foundation.When you are seen by our team of experts, you are receiving treatment from leaders in Parkinson’s care. Our neurologists are considered experts by their peers and have special training in movement disorders and PD.
Treatment tailored specifically to you. Our health care professionals will help you develop and follow a healthy eating plan and remain – or get – physically active. You may need insulin if your nutrition plan and physical activity fail to keep your blood glucose in your target range.
Personalized care in one location. Every person who has Parkinson’s disease is different. Once diagnosed, your neurologist will discuss a treatment plan with you that is aimed at minimizing your symptoms. Our team includes neurologists, physical therapists, and other professionals who work together to decrease the symptoms and increase your quality of life.
Holistic, intersectional support: In addition to standard treatments and exclusive clinical trials, our one-of- a-kind program provides our UHealth PD patients and their families with:
- Monthly support groups
- Tai Chi classes
- Caregiver support groups
- Post-surgery Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) support groups
- Social worker services
- Multiple educational symposiums, conferences and events on PD
FDA approved state-of-the-art Deep Brain Stimulator System: The Deep Brain Stimulation program at the University of Miami Health System was started over 14 years ago and is run by a team of experts who specialize in treating neurodegenerative disorders, including benign essential tremor, PD and dystonia, a disorder of the muscles. The team uses the latest operative technology, microelectrode recordings and highest resolution imaging to insure consistent and accurate lead placement.
A direct link to medical advances. As part of the University of Miami, our researchers and specialists are constantly working to find better treatment options and a cure for PD. Because of this, you have access to clinical trials and cutting-edge care.
Questions? We're here to help.
Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.