Health Plus: Local doctor has Parkinson's Disease - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Local doctor has Parkinson's Disease

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Parkinson's Disease impacts millions of people worldwide.

In Health Plus, we talk with an eastern Iowa doctor who's been living and working with it for fifteen years.

Pediatrician Jay Heitsman knows very well what it's like to be on both sides of a patient visit.

He's been seeing a neurologist, one of his friends, who diagnosed him with Parkinson's Disease in his early 40's.

"Obviously it's not good to have something wrong with your nervous system and I could see all kinds of bad pictures in my mind because I'd seen many Parkinson's patients going through school, etc," he said.

"He and I have been close friends for a number of years already and he came in an was discussing a tremor he had and fortunately or unfortunately I was able to observe that it was a Parkinson's tremor," said Dr. Marc Hines, Covenant Clinic neurologist.

Parkinson's Disease is progressive, but thanks to medications Jay has been able to continue working.

"Everyone responds to medicines in their own way and it's good to have somebody who will help you out and try some different things," said Jay.

"Thankfully we've had lots of new medication that can be used," said Dr. Hines.

Both doctors are confident stem cells hold the key to a Parkinson's cure.

"I'm really hopeful in terms of future therapies when the stem cell thing gets going.  I'd like to be cured and I see that as probably the most likely cure," said Jay.

In the meantime, they suggest patients find a qualified doctor to map out a treatment plan.

"Get a physician who you feel comfortable with you can talk to and start working together on how you want to handle it," said Dr. Hines.

Doctor Hines says don't be afraid to get a tremor checked out.

Many times he says it's not a sign of Parkinson's Disease.

 

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