by David L. Cram, M.D.
More About David...
Ten Things Every Parkinson's Patient Should Know
1. Remember the importance of a positive attitude.
2. Establish a good relationship with your doctor.
3. Learn as much as you can about your disease.
4. Maintain a daily exercise program.
5. Take your medications on time exactly as prescribed.
6. Don't let the disease consume you-you are the master.
7. Contribute some service to your community-it will nourish you emotionally and get your
focus off yourself.
8. Attend support groups.
9. Remain as independent as you can for as long as you can.
10. Live each day to the fullest and never lose hope.
Ten Things Every Caregiver of a Parkinson's Patient Should Know
1. Understand the importance of taking care of yourself, too.
2. Realize it is normal to experience a range of feelings-anger, sadness, loneliness,
3. Learn constructive ways to channel emotions-exercise, talk with friends, journal, or
practice relaxation techniques.
4. Practice positive self-talk.
5. Recognize depression and get help for it.
6. Arrange to make time for yourself-your interests and friends.
7. Attend support groups and talk about your problems.
8. Learn how to face your loved one's physical challenges.
9. Let a loved one do as much as possible while he/she is still able
10. Deepen your faith and spirituality
David Cram, M.D., was a 54-year old physician with a thriving medical practice in 1989. He
was at the peak of his career. Life was good. It was only when his fatigue persisted that
he sought medical attention. His reaction was one of stunned disbelief when he got the
diagnosis: Parkinson's Disease. Feeling alone and useless, withdrew from others and
spiraled into a depression. Soon, he had to retire from the work he loved.
Today, ten years later, Dr. Cram has a much different attitude. He responded well to
medications and chose to fight the depression that threatened to consume him. He waged a
"crusade" to help himself and others. "I started going to support groups
and talking to others, asking what had worked for them. I tried to learn everything I
could about the disease," Dr. Cram said. The result of that crusade is a new book, Understanding
Parkinson's Disease-A Self-Help Guide. "Self-help won't cure you, but it can
certainly help reduce the severity of symptoms. Once I decided to stop wallowing in self
pity, I realized that I could do a lot to help myself."
Dr. Cram is among the nearly half-million Americans who have Parkinson's Disease. Another
40,000 will be diagnosed this year. Parkinson's is a chronic, progressive brain disorder,
caused by a deficiency of the chemical dopamine in the brain. Major symptoms include
tremor, rigidity, slowed movement, and impaired coordination. The average age of onset in
57, although the disease can strike younger individuals.
Presently, there is no cure for the illness; however, the disease can be managed primarily
with medications to restore dopamine levels. Other treatments for select individuals
include surgery and electrical stimulation to parts of the brain.
David L. Cram, M.D. was
diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 1989. Consequently, he retired early from his
practice as a dermatologist. Since his retirement, he has written two books. Dr.
Cram is the author of Understanding
Parkinson's Disease: A Self-Help Guide (Addicus Books, 1999).
© 2000 David Cram, MD, and Addicus Books. All rights
reserved. Reprinted with Permission.