Dr. Maria De Leon is a movement disorder specialist living with Parkinson’s disease for 15 years.
She is an activist for research, patient, and women issues — all to overcome disparity, promote equity, and increase access to healthcare to improve patients’ and caregivers’ lives as we fight for a cure.
In our conversation, we discuss:
- Patients with Parkinson’s disease have important insights that doctors need to listen to.
- Physicians need to know about the practical and logistical issues that patients deal with when trying to access medical treatment.
- Patients find it difficult to get the care they need due to a lack of specialists, and telehealth is not widely available.
- Physicians ask them questions about symptoms that may not be relevant to their daily life, and it’s up to patients to be asking doctors different questions.
- Sometimes it’s hard for patients to understand the struggles of physicians because they don’t know what it’s like to be a doctor.
- Patients in pain become irritable and difficult to deal with, making it difficult for them to participate in clinical trials.
- There is a disparity between the cultures and economical backgrounds of people when it comes to research participation.
- Dr. Maria has found writing about her experiences with Parkinson’s Disease valuable for both herself and other patients/caregivers in understanding the disease. She talks about how important it is to share stories and connect with others, and how she never expected her book to become a best seller.
- People in the industry need to hear about how medications impact people’s lives and how accessible and affordable they are. Physicians are less likely to prescribe medications if the patient isn’t committed to compliance.
In closing, she says the future looks bright for advancements in science and medicine, with the potential to cure many neurological diseases.
Maria is the author of the best-selling book “Parkinson’s Diva” and an internationally renowned speaker.
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