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Living with Parkinson’s? Learn about an innovative treatment

Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease that causes movement disorders and a myriad of other health problems. There is currently no cure. However, there has been progress in treatment that can significantly reduce symptoms and improve quality of life for patients and their families.

As background information:

What are the symptoms of Parkinson's disease?

Parkinson’s symptoms gradually worsen over time. Symptoms can begin with tremors or difficulty moving the hands and one side of the body.

The disease progresses with stiffness in facial muscles, causing a subsequent lack of expression. There are posture changes, tremors and slowness on both sides of the body.

In late stages, patients lose mobility and need assistance to perform daily tasks. There can be total disability and marked difficulty in communication as language becomes unintelligible.

Other symptoms include cognitive impairment, sleep disorders, pain and sensory disturbances.

What are the current treatments?

While there is not yet a cure for Parkinson’s, there are treatments to help reduce symptoms that seriously impact a patient’s quality of life.

The most common are:

● Drugs: different medicines are used according to the needs and conditions of each patient. In general, these drugs aim to compensate for the brain’s dopamine loss. As the disease progresses, the duration of the effect of the drugs decreases.

● Surgery: considered when pharmacological treatment is insufficient to control the symptoms. This treatment consists of placing electrodes in the brain that generate electrical impulses and stimulate the brain.

A new treatment with impressive results

An innovative treatment, HIFU (High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound uses high-intensity after Ultrasound to help reduce tremors, stiffness, and difficulty of movement without surgery. It has been shown to have immediate results in a majority of cases.

How does HIFU work?

This procedure focuses on a single body hemisphere (left or right). It works through equipment that captures the heat from thousands of high-intensity ultrasound beams and concentrates them on the group of neurons involved.

Performed like an MRI, the patient is always awake and does not take any medication during the procedure. The results are immediate.

How can I access this treatment?

A specialist physician must evaluate each patient on a case by case basis. According to the Clínica Universidad de Navarra, “in general terms, patients whose tremor does not respond to pharmacological treatment or who have marked Parkinsonian signs with a clear predominance in one side of the body are candidates.”

If your neurologist recommends HIFU for you, you can access this procedure at the Clínica Universidad de Navarra in Spain as a benefit of your VUMI® plan. This medical center is considered the most reputable private hospital in Spain and one of the 100 best in the world.

To learn more about how to access this treatment, please consult your insurance agent.

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