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Parkinsonís Disease/Multiple Sclerosis

Parkinsonís facts:

1. Pneumonia is the #1 cause of death in Parkinsonís disease. And itís not just any pneumonia; itís a very specific type, called ďaspirationĒ pneumonia. When a person swallows, food and drink need to go down the right tube, to end up in the stomach. If food goes down the wrong way in a healthy person, it is usually coughed out. In Parkinsonís disease, food and drink can go down the wrong way and end up in the lungs, and the person doesnít even feel it. Since it canít be digested there, it sits, becomes infected, and this is what we call aspiration pneumonia. Many cases of aspiration pneumonia are preventable with appropriate therapy.

2. Eighty-nine percent of Parkinsonís patients have trouble with their voices. Four percent get help. Many people with Parkinsonís are not aware that their speech is getting softer and more difficult to understand. If you have not noticed changes in your speech, but a spouse, caretaker or friend has, pay attention to their comments. Do people ask you to repeat yourself? Do you have trouble being understood on the phone? The earlier a person receives a baseline speech evaluation and therapy, the more likely he or she will be able to maintain communication skills as the disease progresses. Here is an example of what speech therapy can do for the Parkinsonís-affected voice. This change is the result of Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) ģ. It has also proven effective with Multiple Sclerosis.

3. Many people with Parkinsonís disease also have trouble with drooling. The treatment for it is simple and we have found it to be highly effective.

Your speech therapist will evaluate your or your loved oneís swallowing and voice, and determine the most effective treatments. This may include Expiratory Muscle Strength Training, a simple and effective treatment, which has been shown to reverse aspiration in Parkinsonís disease. It may involve further instrumental swallow testing, gentle tissue manipulation and strengthening exercises, and/or LSVT ģ.

Treatment frequency: Voice treatment for Parkinsonís disease and Multiple Sclerosis is very intensive, and requires four 1-hour sessions per week for a month. Sessions may need to be 90 minutes, if additional concerns are addressed.

LSVT is a trademark of LSVT Global, LLC, registered in the U.S. and other countries.
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