Learning How To Manage Daily Living With Parkinsons
Once you are diagnosed with PD, your focus should be on improving your symptoms and maintaining an active and positive lifestyle.
Although there is currently no cure for PD, it is possible to successfully manage symptoms through healthy choices, medications, and, in select cases, medical procedures.
If youre new to Parkinsons disease and would like a good overview to help you better understand the disease, please view our Parkinsons Disease: The Essentials presentation. Its a great place to get started with reliable and concise information.
- Finding local resources and support groups.
- Find upcoming classes and webinars on our Virtual Events Calendar
What Is Parkinsons Disease Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
The causes and symptoms of Parkinsons disease can vary from person to person. While there is no cure, there are medications and treatments to help manage the condition.
Parkinsons disease is a movement disorder that happens when nerve cells in a certain part of the brain are no longer making the chemical dopamine.
The condition is also sometimes known as paralysis agitans or shaking palsy.
The Parkinsons Foundation estimates that 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinsons every year. However, the true number of people who develop the disease may be much higher.
Black Americans And Parkinsons Disease
Most research suggests that Parkinsons disease is more likely to affect whites and Hispanics.
But, some studies have shown that Black patients may be less likely to receive proper care for the disease.
A review published in 2018 in Neurology found there are racial disparities when it comes to managing Parkinsons disease.
Researchers identified one study that showed Black patients were 4 times less likely than whites to be started on treatment for Parkinsons.
Another study found an average seven-year delay in diagnosis among Black patients.
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Managing Stress And Enhancing Spiritual And Emotional Wellbeing
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.
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:
- Speech and memory changes
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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The 5 Stages Of Parkinsons Disease
Getting older is underrated by most. Its a joyful experience to sit back, relax and watch the people in your life grow up, have kids of their own and flourish. Age can be a beautiful thing, even as our bodies begin to slow down. We spoke with David Shprecher, DO, movement disorders director at Banner Sun Health Research Institute about a well-known illness which afflicts as many as 2% of people older than 65, Parkinsons Disease.
What Is The Prognosis And Life Expectancy For Parkinson’s Disease
The severity of Parkinson’s disease symptoms and signs vary greatly from person to peson, and it is not possible to predict how quickly the disease will progress. Parkinson’s disease itself is not a fatal disease, and the average life expectancy is similar to that of people without the disease. Secondary complications, such as pneumonia, falling-related injuries, and choking can lead to death. Many treatment options can reduce some of the symptoms and prolong the quality of life.
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Can Older Adults With Parkinsons Enjoy Normal Lives
By Annette Campbell 9 am on February 10, 2021
Parkinsons disease is classified as a neurological disorder, which means it affects nerve cells that transmit signals to and within the brain. The Parkinsons Foundation estimates about 1 percent of all seniors have some form of this condition. However, having Parkinsons doesnt mean your senior loved one cant still live a normal life. Today, were going to focus on what can be done to achieve this goal.
What Lifestyle Changes Are Recommended For Parkinsons Disease
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While there is no magic diet or exercise program that will cure Parkinsons disease , there are many ways you can improve your quality of life and manage symptoms with simple lifestyle changes.
Parkinsons shows up differently for everyone, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to these lifestyle changes. Some patients may have significant motor symptoms, while others experience more cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms. One person may lose their sense of smell but have manageable tremors, while another can smell and taste as usual but have difficulty lifting a spoon to their mouth.
So while the overall aim for everyone is to make healthy choices, how you adjust your life to meet the challenges presented by PD will be unique to you.
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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.
How Is Parkinsons Disease Treated
There is no cure for Parkinsons disease. However, medications and other treatments can help relieve some of your symptoms. Exercise can help your Parkinsons symptoms significantly. In addition, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language therapy can help with walking and balance problems, eating and swallowing challenges and speech problems. Surgery is an option for some patients.
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Handling Stress Is Essential
Physical and emotional stress can worsen the symptoms of Parkinsons disease in older adults. Make an effort to be mindful of your loved ones overall health, and encourage him or her to:
- Keep up with doctors appointments Mention any new physical concerns, such as increased instability Keep a journal, join a support group, and explore deep breathing and other relaxation techniques to maintain strong emotional health
Icipate In Clinical Trials
Clinical trials also contribute to the further treatment and understanding of Parkinsons disease and potentially provide access to the newest therapies. For more information and to learn if a clinical trial may be right for you, consult with your healthcare team.
The following websites provide information about ongoing clinical trials and how you or someone you know can enroll:
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.
Helpful Hints About The Home
There are many tips and tricks you can put into place around your home that will help you in your everyday life. Simply adjusting the layout of your kitchen can make food preparation much safer and easier, or perhaps changing the type of sole you have on your shoe will help to prevent falls.
To see a wide range of suggestions to help with activities from dressing to driving, and movement to memory see Helpful hints.
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Incidence Of Parkinsons Disease
Its estimated that approximately four people per 1,000 in Australia have Parkinsons disease, with the incidence increasing to one in 100 over the age of 60. In Australia, there are approximately 80,000 people living with Parkinsons disease, with one in five of these people being diagnosed before the age of 50. In Victoria, more than 2,225 people are newly diagnosed with Parkinsons every year.
Euthanasia And Assisted Suicide
Euthanasia refers to the practice of ending a life in a painless manner, usually by lethal injection or withdrawing life-supporting treatment. Assisted suicide differs to euthanasia as the doctor merely provides the means of committing suicide.
The debate about whether people should be allowed to determine when they die is a complex and long running one. Apart from religious objections, there are legal challenges to be overcome to ensure that legislation to allow euthanasia and assisted suicide will not lead to unnecessary deaths. At the time of writing euthanasia is legal only in Belgium, Colombia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands and assisted suicide in Albania, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and a few states in America. Whilst assisted suicide is not legal in Switzerland, doctors who assist are not prosecuted.
For more information on organisations involved in euthanasia and assisted suicide, as well as further debate on the issue, the following links may be helpful:
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What Is Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and the most common movement disorder. Characteristics of Parkinsons disease are progressive loss of muscle control, which leads to trembling of the limbs and head while at rest, stiffness, slowness, and impaired balance. As symptoms worsen, it may become difficult to walk, talk, and complete simple tasks.
The progression of Parkinson’s disease and the degree of impairment vary from person to person. Many people with Parkinson’s disease live long productive lives, whereas others become disabled much more quickly. Complications of Parkinsons such as falling-related injuries or pneumonia. However, studies of patent populations with and without Parkinsons Disease suggest the life expectancy for people with the disease is about the same as the general population.
Most people who develop Parkinson’s disease are 60 years of age or older. Since overall life expectancy is rising, the number of individuals with Parkinson’s disease will increase in the future. Adult-onset Parkinson’s disease is most common, but early-onset Parkinson’s disease , and juvenile-onset Parkinson’s disease can occur.
Living A Full Life With Parkinson’s
Living with Parkinsons can affect the way you carry out a broad range of everyday activities, from working and driving, to simply eating and brushing your teeth. But by making some small changes in your lifestyle and also in your approach to activities, you can maintain independence and continue many of your usual routines. It is possible to maintain a good quality of life, simply by embracing change.
There is no doubt that a positive outlook, along with determination to overcome obstacles and focus on what you can do, will help you adapt to living with Parkinsons and, given time and an optimistic attitude, you will be able to continue to pursue the activities and relationships that make your life enjoyable and meaningful.
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
- blood pressure fluctuation
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.
Medications For The Disease Are Toxic
There are several medications available for Parkinsons disease, but the most commonly used is Sinemet . It is designed to restore levels of dopamine in the brain. The medication works well, but a myth that it was toxic began circulating and is still somehow commonly accepted. The truth is as long as the medicine is being used properly and the dose is where it should be, it is completely safe and can benefit people with Parkinson’s disease.
Power Of Attorney And Advance Health Care Directive
It might be possible to make your own decisions until the end of your life despite having Parkinson’s. But its possible that the effects of the disease will keep you from doing so, partially or entirely. That’s why its usually a good idea to already draw up a power of attorney or advance health care directive in the early stages.
An advance health care directive determines what medical care you want to be given in the event that youre no longer able to make your opinion known. In Germany, you can appoint someone to take care of important matters if youre no longer capable of doing so yourself . Your doctor can give you advice on this. The German-language topic website of the German Federal Ministry of Justice provides basic information on these issues in Germany. This website also links to free downloads of templates and brochures.
Is Parkinsons Disease Fatal
It is important to understand that PD is not considered a fatal condition. As is the case with Alzheimers disease and other forms of dementia, complications and a patients comorbid conditions are more life-threatening than PD itself. For example, because Parkinsons affects movement, balance and coordination, a patients risk of falling increases as the disease progresses. Falls are notoriously dangerous and a leading cause of injury and death among older adults. Difficulty swallowing, known as dysphagia, is another complication that can develop at any point throughout ones journey with PD, and this can cause aspiration pneumoniaanother leading cause of death in patients.
Because a persons overall health is an important factor in how Parkinsons progresses, lifestyle choices are vitally important for prolonging both functionality and longevity. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, careful management of preexisting conditions and prevention of new medical issues is crucial.
It is important to work with a well-rounded medical team to understand PD symptoms, explore treatment options and devise a personalized care plan for improving ones overall health, maintaining a high quality of life, and preventing complications.
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Medication Often Manages Symptoms
While Parkinsons is a progressive condition, people with this disease have varying degrees of symptoms. The good news is medication is often effective at easing some of the more disruptive symptoms associated with PD. One of the most effective PD-specific drugs is levodopa, which restores normal levels of an important brain chemical called dopamine.
Can Parkinsons Disease Be Prevented
Unfortunately, no. Parkinsons disease is long-term disease that worsens over time. Although there is no way to prevent or cure the disease , medications may significantly relieve your symptoms. In some patients especially those with later-stage disease, surgery to improve symptoms may be an option.
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Will Schizophrenia Get Worse Untreated
Yes, Dr. Nelson said. He explained that untreated schizophrenia makes the brain more vulnerable to serious and lasting damage from the disorder, so that with each successive episode of symptoms, symptoms can increase in duration and severity and will make it harder to manage the illness Past a certain point, someone with untreated schizophrenia will not be able to function in normal life.
How To Prolong Your Loved Ones Life
Now that you have a diagnosis for your loved ones symptoms, you can begin creating an action plan. Your loved one should make sure to take medication as needed and attend all doctor appointments. If necessary, provide transportation to these appointments. Depending on the symptoms, transportation assistance can also prolong your loved ones life by preventing him or her from having an accident. Your loved one should also continue to exercise , and he or she may need help around the house to prevent falls. Practicing good fall-prevention strategies in your loved ones home also reduces the risk of an injury that could affect his or her longevity.
Professional caregivers can be a wonderful source of support for seniors with Parkinsons who need help with transportation, exercising safely, and completing daily tasks. Families looking for top-rated Toronto home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimers, dementia, stroke, and Parkinsons care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones. If your loved one needs professional home care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Call one of our Care Managers today at 488-8777.
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