Who Gets Parkinson’s Disease Dementia
No two cases of Parkinson’s are exactly alike, so it’s hard to say for sure who will develop Parkinson’s disease dementia and who will not. However, researchers have identified several factors that may increase a person’s risk for Parkinson’s disease dementia, including:
- Older age, especially at the time Parkinson’s symptoms began
- Being a man
- Advancing to late-stage Parkinson’s disease
- Experiencing visual hallucinations
- More severe motor symptoms
- Having a history of dementia in your family
People with Parkinson’s disease may wish to consider planning for their future sooner rather than later, especially if they have certain risk factors or notice cognitive changes. That way, if their cognitive symptoms progress, their advance planning can help dementia caregivers best fulfill their wishes.
People usually live an average of five to seven years with the disease, but the prognosis of Parkinson’s disease dementia can vary from person to person.
Different Types Of Parkinsons Disease
As Parkinsons begins to take its full effect, the disease can ravage different parts of the brain and cause varying symptoms. The diagnosis of what type of Parkinsons you have depends on this . Sometimes, doctors dont know the exact cause, either, but they know you exhibit symptoms that line up with Parkinsons. Lets dig into the different forms of the wicked disease:
There are other generations of the disease, but they are the most rare forms. Nevertheless, they carry similar symptoms as all other forms of the disease.
How Can I Help Myself
Keeping physically active and mentally stimulated is very important when living with both Parkinsons and cognitive problems.
Avoiding stress is also important. Anything that puts you under pressure is likely to worsen memory problems, so try to take each day at a steady pace. Allow time for rest and relaxation, and make time to do the things you enjoy. Relaxing effectively can help to improve your concentration, attention span and ability to plan.;Complementary therapies;such as;yoga;and;Tai Chi, together with exercise such as swimming may help with this.
We can all be forgetful and while this is often frustrating, a good quality of life can still be enjoyed if you make some adaptations.
You could begin by adapting your home and work environments to accommodate your needs. For example, removing clutter will reduce the number of visual distractions and make it easier for you to find your way around. Keeping furniture in the same place and having a regular daily routine may be helpful. At night, you may find it useful to keep a low-level night light on to minimise possible disorientation if you wake.
As time passes, carrying out more complex tasks is likely to become harder. Try writing down the various steps you have to go through in order to complete specific tasks, and follow these steps one by one.
The following tips may also help maintain brain function and improve quality of life:
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Executive Dysfunction In Parkinsons
Executive functions in cognition are higher-order mental processes, including the ability to plan, organize, initiate and regulate behavior to meet goals. Executive functioning is present in activities such as multitasking, switching tasks, and solving problems. The prefrontal cortex of the brain and the dopamine system are responsible for executive function. As PD damages these areas, executive dysfunction occurs, and executive dysfunction is one of the most common cognitive impairments found in people with PD.3,4
Dementia With Lewy Bodies And Parkinson Disease Dementia
, MD, PhD, Department of Neurology, University of Mississippi Medical Center
Dementia with Lewy bodiesParkinson disease dementia
Dementia is chronic, global, usually irreversible deterioration of cognition.
Dementia with Lewy bodies is the 3rd most common dementia. Age of onset is typically > 60.
Lewy bodies are spherical, eosinophilic, neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions composed of aggregates of alpha-synuclein, a synaptic protein. They occur in the cortex of some patients who have dementia with Lewy bodies. Neurotransmitter levels and neuronal pathways between the striatum and the neocortex are abnormal.
Lewy bodies also occur in the substantia nigra of patients with Parkinson disease, and dementia may develop late in the disease. About 40% of patients with Parkinson disease develop Parkinson disease dementia, usually after age 70 and about 10 to 15 years after Parkinson disease has been diagnosed.
Because Lewy bodies occur in dementia with Lewy bodies and in Parkinson disease dementia, some experts think that the two disorders may be part of a more generalized synucleinopathy affecting the central and peripheral nervous systems. Lewy bodies sometimes occur in patients with Alzheimer disease, and patients with dementia with Lewy bodies may have neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson disease, and Alzheimer disease overlap considerably. Further research is needed to clarify the relationships among them.
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How Parkinsons Affects The Cochlea
It is well known that aging is related to hearing loss. However Parkinsons disease also affects the cochlea, which is the sensory organ of hearing.
The important neurotransmitter dopamine, the absence of which causes Parkinsons disease, helps to protect the cochlea from noise exposure. Inadequate dopamine can thus lead to damage to the cochlea and result in hearing loss.
Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease Dementia
Signs and symptoms of Parkinsons disease dementia include:
- Mental inflexibility
- Short-term memory issues and memory loss
- Trouble with decision making
- Executive function difficulty
- Slow processing speed
- Visual processing difficulty
Non-motor symptoms that can be associated with PDD include:
- Psychosis :
What Are The Different Types Of Memory Loss Diseases
Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, Huntingtons disease, and multi-infarct dementia are among the most common types of memory loss diseases. Memory loss, also sometimes referred to as dementia, is most commonly associated with aging, but it can actually affect any individual at any age. This is particularly true in individuals who have developed specific diseases. Modern medicine may help slow the decline of memory loss attributed to these conditions, but there is no way to cure any of them.
Memory loss may be acute or chronic. Acute cases are typically attributed to a sudden physical or emotional trauma. Chronic memory loss, however, is mostly due to one of several progressive diseases and is mostly irreversible.
As people age, minor memory loss is considered normal, and deficits in memory are not necessarily caused by any known diseases. The aging process is, however, often accompanied by the threat of certain diseases known to impair cognitive functioning.
Does Parkinsons Cause Muscle Atrophy
People who suffer from Parkinsons disease often experience muscle rigidity especially in the arms, legs and shoulder muscles. One of the first symptoms experienced by Parkinsons patient is severe pain in the shoulder and stiffness. Muscle rigidity can either be unilateral i.e. only one side of the body is affected or it can be bilateral i.e. both the sides are affected. Other than muscles, rigidity can also be experienced in ankles, neck, hips and trunk. In addition, both extensor and flexor muscles get equally affected in Parkinsons disease. Patient experience difficulty in performing normal body movement and thus the extent of rigidity increases. This symptom ultimately leads to severe discomfort and pain in the body muscles.
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How Is Parkinsons Disease Dementia Different From Alzheimers Disease
Parkinsons disease Dementia must not be confused with Alzheimers disease. Dementia is a hallmark feature of Alzheimers whereas a patient may not necessarily contract Dementia if he happens to contract Parkinsons. Having mentioned that, Dementia does have a greater social and occupational impact on the functioning of people when it affects someone with Parkinsons as compared to Alzheimers.
This is due to the combination of motor and cognitive impairments. Parkinsons directly affects problem-solving functions in a person, besides other aspects such as the speed of thinking, memory, and mood. Parkinsons Dementia Aggression can also be related to Lewy bodies, where sticky clumps of protein are found in the nerve cells of people diagnosed with Parkinsons.
Finally, it must be known to all those associated with Parkinsons in any capacity, whether be it a patient or a caregiver, that majority of people with Parkinsons may experience some of the other forms of cognitive impairment over time. Though cases vary from person to person, the development of Dementia in those diagnosed with Parkinsons cannot be predicted. To put it in numbers, 30 percent of people with Parkinsons never develop dementia as a part of their progression.
What Is Aggressive Parkinsons Disease
As written above, Parkinsons dementia aggression is that form of Parkinsons which makes the patient exhibit aggressive behavior. They vent out their aggression either verbally or physically, in the various forms that have been written above. Besides verbal and physical outbursts, PD Dementia patients are also prone to hallucinating caused by the medication administered. Hallucinations in PD Dementia patients primarily occur because of the effects of dopaminergic agents for motor symptoms.
Loss of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area is one of the likeliest of all neuropathological causes as changes in serotonin and norepinephrine systems are not. For the uninitiated, the ventral tegmental area is the origin of the mesolimbic dopaminergic projection. Plenty of studies have gone into analyzing the cause behind the aggression in PD Dementia patients. Depression in PD Dementia patients has been identified due to changes in the medial frontal cortex and the anterior cingulate. Akinetic-rigid variants have been found in patients showing signs of major depression.
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Coping With A Parkinsons Diagnosis
A diagnosis of Parkinsons can be a frightening experience for both you and your loved ones. While there is currently no cure, there are treatments available for Parkinsons symptoms and lifestyle changes you can make to slow the progression of the disease and delay the onset of more debilitating symptoms, including Parkinsons disease dementia. Early diagnosis can prolong independence and help you to live life fully for much longer.
If youve been diagnosed with Parkinsons you may feel anger, deep sadness, or fear about what the future will bring. These feelings are all normal. Its also normal to grieve as you deal with this enormous adjustment.
Give yourself some time to adjust. As with any major change in life, dont expect that you will smoothly snap into this new transition. You may feel alright for a while, and then suddenly feel stressed and overwhelmed again. Take time to adjust to this new transition.
Learn all you can about Parkinsons disease and Parkinsons disease dementia. Educating yourself and making important decisions early can help you feel more in control during this difficult time.;
Reach out for support. Living with Parkinsons presents many challenges, but there is help available for this journey. The more you reach out to others and get support, the more youll be able to cope with symptoms while continuing to enrich and find meaning in your life.
Changes In Sleeping Patterns
As Parkinsons progresses, you can also develop problems with sleep patterns. These may not happen in the early stages, but can be noticeable later. You might wake up often in the middle of the night or sleep more during the day than you do at night.
Another common sleep disturbance for people with Parkinsons is rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder. This is when you start acting out your dreams in your sleep, such as verbally and physically, which can get uncomfortable if someone is sharing your bed. Dr. Rundle-Gonzalez says many times a bed partner will be the one to notice sleep problems.
REM sleep behavior disorder can also happen in people who dont have Parkinsons. However, if this isnt something youve dealt with before, its likely related to your disease. There are medications your doctor can prescribe to help you sleep comfortably through the night.
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.
Mild Memory And Cognitive Problems
Mild memory loss and thinking problems are known as mild;cognitive;impairment, or MCI. Many people experience some form of thinking or memory problems at some point in life, perhaps due to factors such as grief or stress. But when people experience greater difficulties with memory, language, thinking or judgment than might be expected at their age, they may have MCI.
The terms memory problems and ‘memory loss’ can be misleading because far more than just memory may be affected. If you have mild cognitive problems, you may experience:
- Slowed thought processes. You may find it hard to follow a number of steps to complete a task or have problems multi-tasking
- Difficulties with planning, problem-solving or making decisions
- Difficulties following and taking part in conversations
- Difficulty finding the right word
- Lack of motivation
- Short-term memory loss difficulty remembering names or the sequence of recent events
- Problems with judging distances or direction. Describing how to get from one place to another may become hard.
Visual;hallucinations;or delusions may accompany cognitive problems in some people. Sometimes these are drug induced or they may be related to Lewy body;dementia;so you should let your doctor know if you experience these symptoms.
People with cognitive difficulties may be unaware of the problems they are experiencing, and friends and family may notice first.
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Managing Cognitive Impairments In Parkinsons
After a thorough evaluation to rule out other causes of cognitive impairment, patients with PD may be treated with medication, occupational therapy, and/or speech therapy. The medications used to treat cognitive impairments in people with PD are based on treatments used for Alzheimers disease. Occupational therapy can help a person with PD by providing adaptive strategies for daily activities. Speech therapy can help with language functions, as well as information processing. 3,4
Effects Of Memory And Cognitive Changes
While it may seem clear to you that emotional states can have a significant impact on your thinking, the reverse is also true: Your thinking can sometimes strongly influence your emotional states. You know the proverbial story of two men who see the same glass of water but one sees it as half full and the other as half empty? The same goes for thinking and emotional states.
Sometimes your assessment of a situation can influence your emotional reaction to that situation. More generally, executive cognitive functions can influence your mood states because those executive functions control all the information you have about the situations you find yourself in. Executive functions control your appraisal of those situations. If you find it difficult to recall happy memories, you may become more sad or depressed. If you find it difficult to plan a vacation, you may put off the vacation and thus influence your mood states and so forth.
Problems with executive functions can also get you into trouble over serious matters like money. If you find it difficult to balance the checkbook, you may get a bit sloppier about your finances. Consider also that the extra jolt of dopamine that comes from taking dopamine medications can sometimes make you temporarily more energized and impulsive. Now when you couple a heightened sense of impulsivity with a lowered capacity for thinking efficiently through decisions, you sometimes get impulsive respondingbad decisions.
What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Symptoms of Parkinsons disease and the rate of decline vary widely from person to person. The most common symptoms include:
Other symptoms include:
- Speech/vocal changes: Speech may be quick, become slurred or be soft in tone. You may hesitate before speaking. The pitch of your voice may become unchanged .
- Handwriting changes: You handwriting may become smaller and more difficult to read.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Sleeping disturbances including disrupted sleep, acting out your dreams, and restless leg syndrome.
- Pain, lack of interest , fatigue, change in weight, vision changes.
- Low blood pressure.
What Is Parkinsons Disease Dementia
Parkinsons disease dementia is a brain disorder that occurs in somebut not allpeople living with Parkinsons disease. The brain cell damage caused by the disease can lead to a loss of memory and other cognitive functions such as problem solving and speed of thinking. These changes in thinking and behavior can impact your daily living, independence, and relationships.
In those who do develop Parkinsons disease dementia, there is at least one yearand usually 10 to 15 yearsbetween the Parkinsons diagnosis and the onset of dementia. According to estimates by the Alzheimers Association, 50% or more of people with Parkinsons disease eventually experience dementia, although there are a number of risk factors that impact the likelihood of developing symptoms:
- Parkinsons patients who experience hallucinations, excessive daytime sleepiness, and more severe motor control problems are at higher risk for dementia.
- Dementia is more common in people who are older at onset of Parkinsons.
- Dementia is a bigger risk factor in non-tremor predominant Parkinsons.
- Overwhelming stress, cardiovascular disease, and adverse reactions to the Parkinsons disease drug levodopa can also indicate an increased risk for developing dementia.
- Dementia is relatively rare in people who develop Parkinsons before age 50, no matter how long they have had the disease.
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