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Can You Live A Good Life With Parkinson’s Disease

Managing Stress And Enhancing Spiritual And Emotional Wellbeing

Ask the Parkinson’s Expert – How Physical Therapy can help you live well with Parkinson’s

Physical or emotional stress can make it hard for our body to cope with illness or disease, so it is not surprising that it can worsen Parkinsons symptoms, particularly tremor. Living with Parkinsons can cause additional worry and frustration, so learning to manage stress and being able to relax is important for maintaining a good quality of life.

There is increasing recognition that good spiritual health enhances general wellbeing. Following a spiritual path can help give a sense of hope for the future it may also help in adapting to life with Parkinsons. The most important thing is to try to stay positive and there are lots of things you can do to help with this. There are also many techniques and treatments available to support emotional wellbeing. Each person will respond to these in different ways so talk with your doctor if you think you need help and he or she will be able to advise.

See also Stress and Emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

Healthy Eating And Looking After Your Teeth

Following a balanced diet will enhance vitality and help ensure that your medications are as effective as possible.

Keeping teeth and gums healthy can be more difficult if you have Parkinson’s due to the nature of its symptoms and because some of the medications used to treat it can affect dental health. There are many things you can do to improve your oral health, as well as many professionals who can offer advice.

See also Eating well and Teeth and oral health.

Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease

The type, number, severity and progression of Parkinsons disease symptoms vary greatly. Every person is affected differently they may not get every symptom.

Some of the more common symptoms are:

  • resting tremor
  • rigidity
  • blood pressure fluctuation
  • constipation.

People living with Parkinsons for some time may experience hallucinations , paranoia and delusions . These symptoms are able to be treated so have a talk with your doctor.

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What Is The Treatment For Parkinson’s Disease

There is currently no treatment to cure Parkinson’s disease. Several therapies are available to delay the onset of motor symptoms and to ameliorate motor symptoms. All of these therapies are designed to increase the amount of dopamine in the brain either by replacing dopamine, mimicking dopamine, or prolonging the effect of dopamine by inhibiting its breakdown. Studies have shown that early therapy in the non-motor stage can delay the onset of motor symptoms, thereby extending quality of life.

The most effective therapy for Parkinson’s disease is levodopa , which is converted to dopamine in the brain. However, because long-term treatment with levodopa can lead to unpleasant side effects , its use is often delayed until motor impairment is more severe. Levodopa is frequently prescribed together with carbidopa , which prevents levodopa from being broken down before it reaches the brain. Co-treatment with carbidopa allows for a lower levodopa dose, thereby reducing side effects.

In earlier stages of Parkinson’s disease, substances that mimic the action of dopamine , and substances that reduce the breakdown of dopamine inhibitors) can be very efficacious in relieving motor symptoms. Unpleasant side effects of these preparations are quite common, including swelling caused by fluid accumulation in body tissues, drowsiness, constipation, dizziness, hallucinations, and nausea.

Your Home And Lifestyle

There are many things you can do to maintain your quality ...
  • Modify your activities and your home. For example, simplify your daily activities, and change the location of furniture so that you can hold on to something as you move around the house.
  • Eat healthy foods, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, cereals, legumes, poultry, fish, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Exercise and do physiotherapy. They have benefits in both early and advanced stages of the disease.

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Caring For Your Health With Parkinson’s Disease

In addition to caring for your Parkinson’s health, it is also important to care for your overall health. This means visiting your primary care physician periodically for preventive care like the annual flu shot and cancer screeningsfor example, a mammogram for breast cancer screening and a colonoscopy for colon cancer screening.

A primary care physician can also evaluate for risk factors related to heart attacks and strokes, and provide counseling on exercise, smoking, alcohol use, depression, or other mental health concerns. Regular visits to your primary care physician or neurologist will also allow them to catch bacterial infections like urinary tract infections before they get serious.

Sonic Hedgehog Protein Could Impact Parkinsons Disease Dyskinesia

Dyskinesia is often caused by extended use of the common Parkinsons medication levodopa and can be debilitating for those with the condition. Now, researchers in the US may have found a way to suppress these involuntary movements through a protein called sonic hedgehog. To conduct their study, the team administered levodopa and sonic hedgehog agonists to rodent and non-human primate models of the condition. The results revealed that dopamine neurons use the protein to communicate with other neurons thought to play a role in levodopa-induced dyskinesia. Increased signalling of sonic hedgehog pathways was found to reduce this dyskinesia providing novel insight into its formation and a potential therapeutic solution. What we find, wrote corresponding study author Professor Andreas Kottmann, is that in several animal models, by replacing dopamine together with agonists that mimic the effects of sonic hedgehog, these dyskinesias can be very much suppressed.

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Living With Parkinsons Disease: What You Should Know

Living with Parkinson’s disease can be unpredictable and difficult for others to understand. Someone with PD may look normal from the outside but be suffering pain, fatigue, and depression on the inside.

Whether youve recently been diagnosed with PD or you know someone who has, heres what to expect from life with Parkinsons disease:

Pain is often unpredictable

People with PD say that it is hard to make plans because the pain can be so unpredictable. The physical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can also be exhausting, so someone with PD may be able to socialize and live fairly normally on one day and not another.

Parkinson’s is more than a movement disorder.

Because tremor is the hallmark symptom of Parkinson’s disease, people may not understand the effects it can have on a person’s life. Patients often report that the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s such as depression, sleep disorders, fatigue and problems with memory are more debilitating than the movement-related symptoms.

Depression is common

Over 50% of people living with Parkinson’s disease will experience depression. This is thought to be due to the chemical changes that take place in the brain, as well as the physical and emotional impact of living with PD. Certain lifestyle changes, alternative therapies, and antidepressant medications can help relieve symptoms of depression.

Parkinsons disease is a progressive illness

Parkinson’s often leads to dementia.

Parkinsons Disease Symptoms Of Dementia

How to Live Well with Parkinson’s The Victory Summit Albany Event Session

Up to one-third of people living with Parkinson’s disease experience dementia, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. Problems with dementia may include trouble with memory, attention span, and what is called executive function the process of making decisions, organizing, managing time, and setting priorities.

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Living Better At Home With Parkinsons

Parkinsonâs disease is a journeyâfor the one with the diagnosis and for the family. Every Parkinsonâs journey is unique. The sequence of symptoms is unpredictable, appearing in different order and affecting people in very different ways. The rate of progression of this disease also varies widely from person to person.

While thereâs no Parkinsonâs cure yet, there are effective medications, treatments, and alternative therapies that can slow the progression of the disease and its various symptoms. With early diagnosis and expert care, a person with Parkinsonâs can maintain their quality of life, continuing to live at home for many yearsâand even decades.

What Causes Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsons disease occurs when nerve cells in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra become impaired or die. These cells normally produce dopamine, a chemical that helps the cells of the brain communicate . When these nerve cells become impaired or die, they produce less dopamine. Dopamine is especially important for the operation of another area of the brain called the basal ganglia. This area of the brain is responsible for organizing the brains commands for body movement. The loss of dopamine causes the movement symptoms seen in people with Parkinsons disease.

People with Parkinsons disease also lose another neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. This chemical is needed for proper functioning of the sympathetic nervous system. This system controls some of the bodys autonomic functions such as digestion, heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. Loss of norepinephrine causes some of the non-movement-related symptoms of Parkinsons disease.

Scientists arent sure what causes the neurons that produce these neurotransmitter chemicals to die.

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Impact Of Clinical Features On Pdq

Patients with high levels of depression , a mini mental state score of 24 or less ,postural instability on examination , and a history of falls or of gait difficulties had significantly worse PDQ-39 summary index scores than patients without these features . QoL scores of patients with the akinetic rigid subtype of Parkinson’s disease were also worse than those with tremor dominant disease. This difference could not be explained by older age or longer disease duration, as age and disease duration were similar between those with tremor dominant and those with akinetic rigid Parkinson’s disease. The difference of QoL scores between those with and those without a history of hallucinations just failed to reach significance . No difference in PDQ-39 scores was found between men and women and between patients with or without a poor initial or current response to antiparkinsonian medication. A history of dyskinesias or fluctuations, incontinence, orthostatic symptoms, insomnia, pain, speech or swallowing impairment, a family history of Parkinson’s disease, and symptom at onset had no significant impact on QoL scores. There was also no difference between those who were unemployed or had retired early due to the disease and those who were not, those with disease onset before or after the age of 50, and those with current age older than 60 or 70.

Clinical features associated with significantly impaired quality of life scores

What Is Parkinson’s Disease

Living Well with Parkinsons Disease: What Your Doctor ...

Parkinson’s disease affects the way you move. It happens when there is a problem with certain nerve cells in the brain.

Normally, these nerve cells make an important chemical called dopamine. Dopamine sends signals to the part of your brain that controls movement. It lets your muscles move smoothly and do what you want them to do. When you have Parkinson’s, these nerve cells break down. Then you no longer have enough dopamine, and you have trouble moving the way you want to.

Parkinson’s is progressive, which means it gets worse over time. But usually this happens slowly, over many years. And there are good treatments that can help you live a full life.

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What Causes Parkinson’s Disease

No one knows for sure what makes these nerve cells break down. But scientists are doing a lot of research to look for the answer. They are studying many possible causes, including aging and poisons in the environment.

Abnormal genes seem to lead to Parkinson’s disease in some people. But so far, there is not enough proof to show that it is always inherited.

Newly Diagnosed: Living Your Best Life With Parkinsons

A Parkinsons disease diagnosis is life-changing, but it doesnt have to keep you from living your best life. If you are newly diagnosed, you are not alone. The Parkinsons Foundation is here to assist and empower you at every stage to ensure you continue living well.

This article is based on a Parkinsons Foundation Expert Briefings webinar Newly Diagnosed: Living Your Best Life with Parkinsons” by Jenna Iseringhausen BSN, RN, Marlene and Paolo Fresco Institute for Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders, NYU Langone Medical Center, a Parkinsons Foundation Center of Excellence.

How Parkinsons is Diagnosed

There is no specific test for Parkinsons disease. Doctors look at a persons symptoms and history, and may use various tests to make a diagnosis. A person must have two of these main movement or motor symptoms to be considered for a PD diagnosis:

Just as each person with PD is unique, so is each persons Parkinsons disease experience. Possible non-movement symptoms can include:

The Weight of Change

For some, a PD diagnosis is a relief an explanation for ongoing changes or symptoms. For others, it can take an emotional toll, both on the person with Parkinsons and their loved ones.

When youre ready, the Parkinsons Foundation recommends 5 steps you can take throughout your journey to support optimal living.

1. Set and Prioritize Goals

2. Talk About It

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What Is Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsons disease is a progressive brain disorder that affects mobility and mental ability. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinsons, you may be wondering about life expectancy.

According to some research, on average, people with Parkinsons can expect to live almost as long as those who dont have the condition.

Dealing With The Diagnosis

How to Live Well with Parkinson’s for the Newly Diagnosed

Parkinson’s only becomes noticeable gradually. Many people don’t notice any symptoms for a long time or put them down to other things, like the normal aging process. Sometimes friends or relatives are the first to realize that something is not right. Several years can pass before Parkinson’s is diagnosed, and people already live with the symptoms and restrictions during that time.

Like with many other serious illnesses, the often comes as a shock at first. It can also be a relief to finally have an explanation of the symptoms and to be able to start treatment. It’s usually possible to treat the symptoms effectively in the early stages. There is generally enough time to mentally prepare for how the disease will develop and think about how to deal with the later consequences of Parkinson’s. It usually takes years until people’s independence is severely restricted.

Fears about the future are completely normal but you should still try to not let them overwhelm you. It’s important to take everything one step at a time. That includes making sure you’re well informed about the disease and have good doctors. The latter is particularly important. Treatment is generally provided by a neurologist.

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If You Have Been Diagnosed With Parkinsons

  • Feel your emotions. You will go through many different emotions as the disease progresses and you face new challenges. Allow yourself to feel and express your emotions in healthy ways.
  • Educate yourself. Learn as much as possible about the disease and how it will likely affect you and your family as it progresses.
  • Get involved in your care. Take an active role in your own health and your care plan. Be sure to work with your doctors to optimize your medications.
  • Communicate directly. Be clear with family members and care providers about your priorities, needs, and wants.
  • Reach out to others. Spending time with other people who have PD can help you learn about the disease and feel encouraged.
  • Stay positive. Focus on what you can do rather than what you cannot do. Explore new activities and new ways to find happiness and fulfillment.

While the symptoms and progression of this disease vary from person to person, Parkinsonâs is generally defined byfive stages, ranging from mild symptoms that donât interfere with daily activities to advanced severe symptoms that are quite limiting and often debilitating. By Stage Three, most people with Parkinsonâs experience loss of balance and trouble controlling their movement. This is when families find that adding a care professional to their caregiving team can be helpful.

Whats It Like Living With Parkinsons Disease

Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease or you know someone who has, you may wonder what it’s like living with Parkinson’s disease. Life with Parkinson’s disease can be hard to imagine unless you have experienced it. In addition to motor symptoms like tremors, rigidity and slow movement, people with PD may also experience sleep disorders, mood changes, and relationship issues. Here are some of the main challenges of the condition, as well as tips to boost your quality of life or help someone living with Parkinson’s disease.

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Preparing For End Of Life

Whether you are a person with Parkinson’s or a relative, friend or carer, thinking about the future now may help you feel more in control and confident about what lies ahead.

This section looks at the practical and emotional issues relating to Parkinson’s and the later stages of life.

This includes decisions you may need to make and the care you would like to have, and how to put your affairs in order. There is also advice and information for carers, close family and friends, including how to arrange a funeral and finding bereavement support.

Thinking about the future now, and discussing your wishes and preferences with the people in your life, may help you feel more in control and confident about what lies ahead.

It also takes away the burden from family or friends of having to make decisions on your behalf, should you become too ill to make decisions for yourself.

For the majority of people, Parkinson’s will not significantly affect their life expectancy. However, some of the more advanced symptoms can lead to increased disability and poor health, which can make someone more vulnerable to infection.

Parkinson’s is a progressive condition. This means it will get worse over time. Its difficult to predict at what speed your Parkinson’s will progress or what symptoms you may get, because the condition is different for everyone.

Your GP, Parkinson’s nurse or specialist should be able to advise on treatments to help with this, too.

This can mean:


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