Life with Parkinson’s disease can be difficult. Some apps can help to overcome the everyday challenges of patients. They make it easier to manage the disease and can also provide additional motivation to adhere to therapy. The app MyTherapy is especially popular amongst Parkinson’s patients. The feedback of these patients makes it possible to tailor medication reminders and health diary specifically to the needs of Parkinson’s patients and treatment.
It is important to adhere to the prescribed medication for Parkinson’s, particularly in the early stages of the disease. By reminding you to take tablets such as L-Dopa, the app MyTherapy offers valuable support in managing the disease. At the same time, MyTherapy is a type of Parkinson’s diary, as the app tracks the symptoms of the disease in a health diary. This means that patients can easily monitor and discuss the course of Parkinson’s disease with their doctor or other healthcare providers and adjust their treatment plan accordingly. This makes MyTherapy an effective app, both for the early stages and later stages of Parkinson’s disease. The app is easy to understand and has a simple user-interface, meaning that patients of every age can customize the app for their needs and benefit from the features of MyTherapy.
So how does it work? MyTherapy translates your Parkinson’s therapy into a simple to-do-list. The app saves your medications and reminds you to take them at the right time and in the right dose, as well as monitoring your symptoms. This means that, out of the many worries that are caused by Parkinson’s disease, at least the worry about adhering to medication is dealt with. Anja T. (48) says: “I need to take my tablets for Parkinson’s every three hours. MyTherapy really helps me with this.”
Thanks to MyTherapy, patients can stay on top of their Parkinson’s treatment and ease the symptoms like shaking and slowness of movement. Highly recommended for every patient with Parkinson’s.
Price: Free, no in-app purchases
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease of the nervous system. It is characterised by the loss of nerve cells (neurodegeneration) in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra. Nerve cells in this part of the brain produce an important chemical called dopamine, which acts as a messenger between cells to control body movement. In Parkinson’s disease the progressive neurodegeneration means that the amount of dopamine decreases. This leads to an imbalance between dopamine and other chemicals of the brain, which causes movements to become slow and abnormal.
The causes for the neurodegeneration and the resulting dopamine shortage in Parkinson’s disease are unclear. It seems likely that several factors are involved in the condition. In some cases, Parkinson’s can run in families when faulty genes are passed on from parents to children. However, generally it is rare that Parkinson’s is inherited. Instead, environmental factors usually play a bigger role. These may include pesticides in farming or traffic pollution.
Parkinson’s is the most common type of "parkinsonism", an umbrella term for conditions causing tremors, muscle rigidity and slowness of movement. In other, rarer forms of parkinsonism, specific causes have been identified. For instance, some medications (e.g. antipsychotic medication) can cause drug-induced parkinsonism. Moreover, progressive brain conditions (e.g. progressive supranuclear palsy) or strokes can also be responsible for the symptoms of parkinsonism.
Parkinson’s disease is mostly an age-related disease, affecting people in between the ages of 50 and 70. Only the minority of people will get Parkinson’s before the age of 50. The condition affects one in 500 people, which is about 127,000 in the UK. Men and women are equally affected.
Parkinson’s disease is characterised by main symptoms and other associated symptoms. The main symptoms, also called motor symptoms, affect the movement. They are tremor (shaking), slowness of movement and rigidity (stiffness). Rigidity is caused by an increase in muscle tension, especially in the neck and shoulders. Slowness of movement often occurs in the early stages of Parkinson’s and can affect various different body parts. The uncontrolled contraction of antagonistic muscle groups is referred to as tremor and usually affects the hands first. In addition, the sense of balance is often lost in the course of the illness and patients develop an unnatural bent over posture.
Other symptoms of Parkinson’s can affect physical, psychological and mental health. They include:
Parkinson’s disease is treated in different ways. One significant part of the therapy involves medication. Various drugs aim to recreate the balance of chemicals in the brain. However, due to the possible side effects of the drugs, they should always be prescribed by a doctor and the effect on the patients need to be monitored carefully.
Most people with Parkinson’s eventually take a drug called Levodopa (Madopar, Caramet, Sinemet). It is a dopamine precursor, which means that it is absorbed by the cells in the brain and converted into dopamine. By increasing the levels of dopamine, Levodopa improves movement problems and lessens stiffness and rigidity.
Dopamine agonists have a similar but slightly milder effect to Levodopa. They act as a substitute for dopamine in the brain, and include bromocriptine, cabergoline and lisuride.
Monoamine oxidase-B (MAO-B) inhibitors, can be used as an alternative for Levodopa in early stages of Parkinson’s. They block substances that break down dopamine, thereby increasing dopamine levels.
Additionally, especially in the late stages of Parkinson’s, patients may require Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors. These prevent Levodopa being broken down by an enzyme called COMT.
In severe Parkinson’s cases deep brain stimulation may be necessary. This involves implanting a pulse generator into specific areas of the brain, similar to a heart pacemaker. The pulse generator producers very small electric currents and stimulates the parts of the brain affected by Parkinson’s. This can ease the symptoms for many people.
Alternative treatment for Parkinson’s includes physiotherapy and speech therapy. Physiotherapy can relieve muscle stiffness and joint pain through exercise and movement. Speech and language therapy can help with swallowing difficulties and speech problems. The aim of these alternative treatments is to limit the disability.
To keep an eye on Parkinson’s symptoms and to develop the right treatment plan with your doctor, your smartphone can help you. The app MyTherapy generates medication reminders, which include the exact time and dosage, making it easier to adhere to the treatment plan and relieve symptoms. At the same time, the app also creates a comprehensive health journal, monitoring your symptoms. This can be printed out and discussed with your doctor, which makes it easy to gain an overview of the disease progression and identify the most effective treatment plan. In addition, MyTherapy also lets you keep track of your appointments with your doctor or other healthcare specialist, so you do not need to worry about missing arrangements. Together, these features make MyTherapy a valuable companion in managing Parkinson’s disease. Patients like Anja T. highly recommend the app: “Since I have been using MyTherapy, I hardly have to think about my treatment plan anymore – my mobile takes over that job for me now.”