What Other Conditions Have Similar Symptoms And Signs Of Parkinsons Disease
Other neurological diseases may cause symptoms similar to Parkinsons disease. The term Parkinsonism refers to a patient that has symptoms similar to Parkinsons.
Early in the disease process, it can be tough to make an assertive diagnosis and difference between Parkinsons and Parkinson-like diseases.
Often the correct diagnosis is made after further symptoms develop, and the physician can monitor the course of the disease.
The development of additional symptoms and the course of the illness generally points towards the correct diagnosis. These are the most common neurological diseases that can produce Parkinson-like symptoms.
- Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
- Lewy Body disease or Dementia with Lewy bodies
- Corticobasal degeneration or corticobasal ganglionic degeneration
Nonetheless, doctors should think of other causes rather than Parkinsons disease when events like this happen.
- Poor response to dopamine
- Early loss of balance or vision problems
- Prominent intellectual decline dementia
- Rapid onset or progression of the disease
Actually, though it is a disease that is not clearly understood, there are specific organizations like Parkinsons UK that dedicate themselves to doing research.
These organizations look forward to following the natural course of the disease and developing clinical trials for patients in an attempt to find a cure.
Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Initial cognitive deterioration in dementia with Lewy bodies resembles that in other dementias. However, dementia with Lewy bodies often manifests with early and prominent deficits in attention, executive function, and visuoperceptual ability prominent or persistent memory impairment tends to occur as the dementia progresses.
Extrapyramidal symptoms occur. However, in dementia with Lewy bodies , cognitive and extrapyramidal symptoms usually begin within 1 year of each other. Also, the extrapyramidal symptoms differ from those of Parkinson disease in dementia with Lewy bodies, tremor does not occur early, rigidity of axial muscles with gait instability occurs early, and deficits tend to be symmetric. Repeated falls are common.
Fluctuating cognitive function is a relatively specific feature of dementia with Lewy bodies. Periods of being alert, coherent, and oriented may alternate with periods of being confused and unresponsive to questions, usually over a period of days to weeks but sometimes during the same interview.
Memory is impaired, but the impairment appears to result more from deficits in alertness and attention than in memory acquisition thus, short-term recall is affected less than digit span memory .
Patients may stare into space for long periods. Excessive daytime drowsiness is common.
Visuospatial and visuoconstructional abilities are affected more than other cognitive deficits.
How Can We Manage Hallucinations
It may not be necessary to treat all hallucinations of a person with PDD. Hallucinations are often harmless, and it is okay to allow them to happen, as long as they are not disruptive or upsetting to the person or surroundings. Sometimes, recognizing the hallucination and then switching the topic might be an efficient way of handling frustrations that occur because of a hallucination. If hallucinations need medical treatment, your provider may be able to discuss and suggest some options. However, many of the medications used to treat hallucinations may make movement symptoms worse.
What Is Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease is a condition in which a part of the brain called the substantia nigra loses nerve cells. This loss of nerve cells results in a reduction of a substance called dopamine which is important for the regulation of movement of the body. As the dopamine levels decrease the persons movements become slower. Most people with a diagnosis of Parkinsons do not go on to develop dementia although about a third will, usually in the later stages. This is known as Parkinsons disease with dementia and may also be referred to as Lewy body dementia.
It is estimated that Parkinsons disease affects about 1 in 500 people and it is currently thought that it may be due to a combination of genetic and environmental causes. About one fifth of people diagnosed with Parkinsons disease are under 40 years old but it is more common in the over 50s.
How Is Parkinson Disease Treated
Parkinson disease can’t be cured. But there are different therapies that can help control symptoms. Many of the medicines used to treat Parkinson disease help to offset the loss of the chemical dopamine in the brain. Most of these medicines help manage symptoms quite successfully.
A procedure called deep brain stimulation may also be used to treat Parkinson disease. It sends electrical impulses into the brain to help control tremors and twitching movements. Some people may need surgery to manage Parkinson disease symptoms. Surgery may involve destroying small areas of brain tissue responsible for the symptoms. However, these surgeries are rarely done since deep brain stimulation is now available.
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Treating Parkinsons Disease Dementia
A treatment plan for PDD typically includes medications that boost the brains level of certain neurotransmitters and help improve memory and processing speed, Dr. Petrossian says. Exercise is also an important part of the treatment planDr. Petrossian recommends skill-based activities like boxing or dance to boost cognitive function as well as fitness. PDD symptoms should be monitored long-term by a neurologist, and in some cases a psychiatrist, says Dr. Okun. In many cases, physical, occupational, speech, and social work therapy can also be useful since PPD affects all aspects of life.
Dementia With Lewy Bodies And Parkinson’s Disease Dementia
Dementia with Lewy bodies, the second most common cause of dementia in the elderly, is typically associated with the development of a cognitive syndrome with frontal/parietal involvement, well formed visual hallucinations, and fluctuations, followed by the development of parkinsonism. Dementia with Lewy bodies is characterised pathologically by Lewy bodies, senile plaques, and variable tangle formation. A rare pure form comprises only Lewy bodies with a much younger onset in a series of nine cases from Japan, eight had an onset before 40 years of age. In other patients, dementia is increasingly recognised as a common feature of advancing Parkinson’s disease, but develops less frequently and with a longer latency in patients with young-onset disease. Patients with early-onset parkinsonism are more likely to have an underlying genetic cause. Of these, mutations in the parkin gene are not typically associated with dementia, but -synuclein triplications and mutations in the glucocerebrosidase gene can be associated with prominent cognitive impairment, in some cases resembling classic dementia with Lewy bodies.
If You Live In South Jersey And Have Questions About The Final Stages Of Parkinsons Disease Or Hospice Care For Your Loved One Please Call Samaritan At 229
Samaritan is a member of the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation, a network of not-for-profit hospice and palliative providers across the country. If you know someone outside of our service area who is living with advanced illness and can benefit from hospice or palliative care, please call 1 -GET-NPHI for a referral to a not-for-profit provider in your area.
Severity Of Motor Symptoms
Compared to those without dementia, PDD patients had more severe motor features with a greater impairment in balance. Of the 36 participants, 13 were characterised H & Y stage IV and V, whereas the others were between stages IIII. In particular, of the seven PDD participants, six were characterised by having H & Y stages IV and V.
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Memory And Thinking Problems
You may experience forgetfulness, slowed thinking and difficulty concentrating. You might find it harder to follow conversations, and remember some words and names. This can make communication difficult.
You may also find it increasingly difficult to make decisions, plan activities and solve problems. This can make everyday activities harder.
Living With Parkinsons Disease
You can take some measures and ease your life while living with Parkinsons disease:
- Set an exercise routine for yourself. Exercises can help in keeping muscles flexible and mobile. Also, exercise releases natural brain chemicals that can improve emotional and mental states.
- High protein food can maintain the health of your brain
- You can join physical therapies. Your physical therapist can advice some of the light strengthening exercises according to your condition
- Speech therapies can always work when communication becomes difficult due to the disease.
- Handle your hallucinations. Hallucinations are often harmless but sometimes they can upset you too much. Try to recognize your hallucinations and then change the topic.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Other illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol affect the brain and they should be treated.
Please be aware of your familys disease history. Condition like Parkinsons disease can be controlled initially. If you are around a person with Parkinsons disease dementia, make sure to give them love and strength.
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Is The Dementia Caused By Parkinsons Or Something Else
Indications that dementia may be caused by something other than Parkinsons disease include agitation, delusions , and language difficulties. If the onset of cognitive symptoms is sudden, theyre more likely due to something other than Parkinsons diseaseeven reversible causes such as infection, a vitamin B12 deficiency, or an underactive thyroid gland.
Depression can mimic dementia by causing similar symptoms such as apathy, memory problems, and concentration difficulties. Since depression is very common in Parkinsons patients, its important to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression in older adults.
Parkinsons disease dementia vs. other dementias
Other types of dementia that can be commonly mistaken for Parkinsons disease dementia include:
Lewy Body Dementia is characterized by fluctuations in alertness and attention, recurrent visual hallucinations, and Parkinsonian motor symptoms like rigidity and the loss of spontaneous movement. In this disorder, cognitive problems such as hallucinations tend to occur much earlier in the course of the disease and often precede difficulties with walking and motor control.
Alzheimers disease and Parkinsons disease are both common in the elderly, especially in those over 85. Patients with Parkinsons who develop dementia may even develop Alzheimers dementia as well. Therefore, its important to be aware of the signs of Alzheimers Disease and how its treated.
What Happens In Pdd
People with PDD may have trouble focusing, remembering things or making sound judgments. They may develop depression, anxiety or irritability. They may also hallucinate and see people, objects or animals that are not there. Sleep disturbances are common in PDD and can include difficulties with sleep/wake cycle or REM behavior disorder, which involves acting out dreams.
PDD is a disease that changes with time. A person with PDD can live many years with the disease. Research suggests that a person with PDD may live an average of 57 years with the disease, although this can vary from person to person.
See A Doctor If Youre Noticing Symptoms Beyond Parkinsons
Sometimes the mood or memory changes a person experiences cannot entirely be explained just by Parkinsons. If this is the case, the caregiver should explore other diagnoses, because if something cannot be explained by Parkinsons, theres certainly a risk of it being dementia, Oguh said.
She added that some signs to look for include increased memory and behavioral problems, like mood swings, anxiety or depression. Psychiatric behaviors, like hallucinations, delusions or paranoia, cannot just be explained by Parkinsons, and are more likely to be caused by a form of dementia like Lewy body dementia.
Oguh urged caregivers to be aware of changing symptoms like these.
I think sometimes family members are able to realize sooner than the patient, Oguh said. Often the patient might lack insight as to what is happening. I would encourage family members to seek expert opinion and treatment options.
Diagnoses Not To Be Missed
A diagnosis of dementia tends to attract therapeutic nihilism and, although treatment is only symptomatic for many patients with degenerative dementias, many other non-degenerative diseases that can present with cognitive impairment or in which dementia is the major or only feature can be successfully treated. The following are examples of diseases that can mimic Alzheimer’s disease and often present in young-onset dementia clinics.
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Diagnosis: Parkinson’s Dementia Or Dementia With Lewy Bodies
During assessment, a specialist may look at when the dementia symptoms first appeared before reaching a diagnosis of Parkinson’s dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies.
If there have been motor symptoms for at least one year before dementia symptoms occur, specialists will often give a diagnosis of Parkinson’s dementia.
If dementia symptoms occur before or at the same time as motor symptoms, specialists will usually give a diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies.
However, it should be noted that in some cases of dementia with Lewy bodies, no motor symptoms develop at all.
Theres no single test – diagnosis is made through several different assessments, usually starting with an appointment with your GP or Parkinson’s nurse.
Some people find it helps to go to the appointment with someone who knows them well, who can give the GP or Parkinson’s nurse information about changes they’ve noticed.
Your GP can discuss your symptoms with you and carry out a physical examination, including blood and urine tests, to rule out other potential causes of the symptoms .
Your GP may also review your medication, in case your symptoms are side effects.
If your GP thinks you have dementia, they can refer you to a specialist, such as a neurologist, psychiatrist or geriatrician.
You might be referred to a memory clinic or memory service. In some areas of the country, you can refer yourself to these services.
But if you feel you need to see the specialist again, you can ask to be referred back.
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.
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Not Everyone With Parkinsons Will Develop Dementia
Despite the fact that the pathology of Parkinsons disease can trigger the development of different types of dementia, not everyone with Parkinsons will develop dementia. About 30 percent of people with Parkinsons will actually not develop dementia at all, as stated by the National Parkinson Foundation.
However, the vast majority of people with Parkinsons may experience some form of cognitive impairment over time, the foundation says.
Theres A Spectrum Of Pathologies
Scientists have been examining this linkand how the two diseases often overlapfor some time, but still arent completely certain how they contribute to one another. As a result, physicians sometimes group the diseases into different combinations when making diagnoses.
Dementia in Parkinsons patients can present itself in varying forms. In some cases, the Parkinsons pathology can trigger the dementia pathologya situation that results in whats known as Parkinsons disease dementia, says Dr. Aaron Ritter, Director of the Clinical Research Program at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
A substantial subset of folks with Parkinsons who live long enough, will develop dementia, Ritter said.Its separate from Alzheimers, but its likely related to Parkinsons pathology, a sort of spreading of Parkinsons.
In other cases, patients may develop a form of dementia like Alzheimers separately from their Parkinsons disease, though this isnt visible until after death, through an autopsy.
Many people with Parkinsons may also develop Lewy body dementia shortly after their diagnosis. When you have Parkinsons, and see cognitive declineor things like hallucinations and delusionsup to a year after your Parkinsons diagnosis, you may have Lewy body dementia, Oguh said.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease Dementia
Parkinson’s disease dementia can’t be diagnosed conclusively by a single test. Instead, doctors may use multiple tests and consider a range of Parkinson’s disease dementia criteria, including symptoms like:
- Feelings of disorientation or confusion
- Agitation or irritability
Not all cases of cognitive impairment are severesome people with Parkinson’s disease can still manage their work and personal life just fine. But once a person has Parkinson’s disease dementia, it usually means that they can no longer go about their daily life as they once did.
Difference Between Parkinsons Disease Dementia And Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Technically, the difference between these two conditions lies in how quickly the cognitive difficulties and hallucinations develop in relation to the movement issues. In DLB, the cognitive difficulties and hallucinations develop much sooner in the disease course than in PDD, sometimes even prior to the movement difficulties. Because of the similarities between PD, PDD, and DLB, current thinking in the medical community is that they should be viewed as related diseases which fall along a continuum of Lewy body disorders.
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When To Seek Hospice Care
When you or your loved one have a life expectancy of six months or less, you become eligible for hospice care a type of comfort care provided at the end of life for someone living with end-stage Parkinsons disease. Hospice provides extra support so your loved one can live as comfortably as possible.
If you have experienced a significant decline in your ability to move, speak, or participate in activities of daily living without caregiver assistance, its time to speak with a hospice professional.
Some of the things that determine whether your loved one with end-stage Parkinsons is eligible for hospice include: difficulty breathing, bed bound, unintelligible speech, inability to eat or drink sufficiently, and/or complications including pneumonia or sepsis.
If you live in South Jersey, our nurse care coordinator can answer your questions and decide if your loved one is ready for hospice care. Call us 24/7 at 229-8183.