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Help For Parkinson’s Disease

Traditional Chinese Medicine And Acupuncture

Parkinson’s Disease support group

Traditional Chinese Medicine views disease as caused by internal imbalances. It has historically been used to treat Parkinson disease with acupuncture and individually prepared herbal remedies. One study showed that acupuncture improved symptoms in a small group of people with Parkinson disease. People with Parkinson disease may also find that acupuncture helps them sleep better. If you consult a TCM practitioner, make sure your doctor is aware of any suggested treatment.

Bathing With Parkinsons Disease

  • Use a shower chair if necessary.
  • Use a hand-held hose for showering and bathing.
  • Use a long-handled sponge or scrubbing brush.
  • Use soap-on-a-rope, bath mitts, or sponges with soap inside or a soft soap applicator instead of bar soap.
  • Use lukewarm water, as very hot water can cause fatigue.
  • Sew straps on towels to make them easier to hold while drying.
  • Place a non-skid rug on the floor outside the tub to dry your feet so you dont slip.
  • Put a towel on the back of your chair and rub your back against it to dry. Or, use a terry cloth robe instead of a towel to dry off.

Treatment And Medication Options For Parkinsons Disease

For decades, doctors couldnt treat Parkinsons disease effectively and thought it was a terminal illness. In the late 19th century, arsenic, morphine, hemlock, and cannabis were used to treat tremors.

The biggest advance in Parkinsons treatment came in the 1960s. Researchers identified differences in the brains of people with Parkinsons associated with low levels of the chemical dopamine, which plays a role in coordinated movement.

Theres no cure for Parkinsons, but a number of treatments can help manage the diseases symptoms.

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Who Gets Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsonâs disease, documented in 1817 by physician James Parkinson, is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimerâs disease. Estimates regarding the number of people in the United States with Parkinsonâs range from 500,000 to 1,500,000, with 50,000 to 60,000 new cases reported annually. No objective test for Parkinsonâs disease exists, so the misdiagnosis rate can be high, especially when a professional who doesnât regularly work with the disease makes the diagnosis.

Does The Parkinsons Foundation Offer Financial Help

Smart garment help for people with Parkinsons disease

While the Foundation does not give financial aid, information specialists can refer you to organizations that may be able to help with financial assistance for medication, transportation, basic needs and respite or nursing home care. Our specialists can also give information about various government social service programs that you may qualify for.

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Taking Care Of Business

The Parkinson’s Foundation has developed a thorough guide to getting your household and personal documents organized at www.parkinson.org

  • Organize your medical histories
  • Keep a journal of medications and dosages
  • Organize your personal financial documents
  • Insurance and long-term care plans
  • Livings wills, durable power of attorney, advanced medical directives

Parkinsons Disease: Causes Symptoms And Treatments

Parkinsons disease is a brain disorder that causes unintended or uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination.

Symptoms usually begin gradually and worsen over time. As the disease progresses, people may have difficulty walking and talking. They may also have mental and behavioral changes, sleep problems, depression, memory difficulties, and fatigue.

While virtually anyone could be at risk for developing Parkinsons, some research studies suggest this disease affects more men than women. Its unclear why, but studies are underway to understand factors that may increase a persons risk. One clear risk is age: Although most people with Parkinsons first develop the disease after age 60, about 5% to 10% experience onset before the age of 50. Early-onset forms of Parkinsons are often, but not always, inherited, and some forms have been linked to specific gene mutations.

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Prognosis Of Parkinsons Disease

As Parkinsons progresses, symptoms often worsen. Some people who respond well to therapy have minimal disability issues. Others, however, become severely incapacitated.

Although Parkinsons isnt considered a fatal disease itself, it can cause life-threatening complications that may shorten your life span.

Today, most people living with Parkinsons disease have close to a normal life expectancy.

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So what are the differences that you see?

What in what way?

Is that something youve found out by trying it out or was it?

Some people said that therapies like yoga, Tai Chi and massage helped them to relax and to feel as if they were doing something positive to help themselves. Relaxation meant relief from pain, spasm and feelings of stress. Many people, several of whom had noticed that their emotional state greatly affected their symptoms, noted that relaxation helped calm their tremor, helped them to sleep and made them feel generally better. Joe had tried various things and felt they did more for his mood than for his physical symptoms’ I think it helped me feel I was doing something to be better, made me feel lifted a bit and of course attention to ones body, physical attention, massage, acupuncture. Anything like that makes one feel better, makes one feel loved really.

Last reviewed May 2017.

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How Does This Condition Affect My Body

Parkinsons disease causes a specific area of your brain, the basal ganglia, to deteriorate. As this area deteriorates, you lose the abilities those areas once controlled. Researchers have uncovered that Parkinsons disease causes a major shift in your brain chemistry.

Under normal circumstances, your brain uses chemicals known as neurotransmitters to control how your brain cells communicate with each other. When you have Parkinsons disease, you dont have enough dopamine, one of the most important neurotransmitters.

When your brain sends activation signals that tell your muscles to move, it fine-tunes your movements using cells that require dopamine. Thats why lack of dopamine causes the slowed movements and tremors symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

As Parkinson’s disease progresses, the symptoms expand and intensify. Later stages of the disease often affect how your brain functions, causing dementia-like symptoms and depression.

How Is Parkinsons Disease Diagnosed

There arent any specific tests to diagnose someone with Parkinsons disease.

Doctors typically make a diagnosis based on the following:

  • Medical history
  • Blood and lab tests

Sometimes, people who have a known inherited form of Parkinsons disease can take a gene test to determine their risk for developing the disease.

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Exercise And Healthy Eating

Regular exercise is particularly important in helping relieve muscle stiffness, improving your mood, and relieving stress.

There are many activities you can do to help keep yourself fit, ranging from more active sports like tennis and cycling, to less strenuous activities such as walking, gardening and yoga.

You should also try to eat a balanced diet containing all the food groups to give your body the nutrition it needs to stay healthy.

Related Conditions And Causes Of Parkinsons Disease

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Many conditions can cause symptoms that are similar to those of Parkinsons disease, including the following:

  • Essential tremor

This foundation was founded in 2000 by the actor Michael J. Fox, who received a diagnosis of young-onset Parkinsons disease in 1991. Take a look at Parkinsons 360, the foundations guide for living with Parkinsons. Or if youd like to join a Parkinsons research study, visit the Fox Trial Finder.

With a mission to empower people with Parkinsons, this foundation funds research geared toward improving care and treatment for the disease. Sign up for their newsletter to receive news updates and information about Parkinsons resources. Or if you need help connecting with a health professional, call the foundations helpline at 800-4PD-INFO .

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The Challenge Of Regulating Cbd Products

Practically, CBD products can be obtained relatively easily at health food stores and online. They are not considered drugs , and therefore are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration . This can be very problematic because without FDA oversight:

  • There is no assurance that what is stated on the package is what is being sold. For example, even if the bottle says it is pure CBD, the product may contain other chemicals from the cannabis plant, or a higher amount of THC than advertised
  • The manufacturing process, which is also not regulated, may introduce contaminants
  • There is no assurance that the dosage written on the bottle is correct
  • Medication interactions between CBD products and other drugs are not clear to consumers

The FDA is aware of the health claims that are made by manufacturers about various products and issues warnings to companies who market CBD products with unsubstantiated health claims.

Tips For Yourself As A Caregiver

While caring for someone with Parkinsons disease, its also important to care for yourself. These are some tips that can be helpful:

  • Allow yourself time to process your emotions: Your loved one may not be the only person struggling to accept their diagnosis and prognosis. You may feel like youre in an alternate reality, where your whole world has turned upside down. Take the time you need to process your emotions so that you can stabilize yourself and be a source of support for them.
  • Set realistic goals:Caregiving can be stressful and take a lot of work. It can be helpful to set realistic goals for yourself and determine your limits.
  • Forgive imperfections: There may be times when youre unable to do everything you planned to or as well as you hoped to. Be kind to yourself accept that youre human and everything may not always be perfect.
  • Explore community resources: It can be helpful to locate medical services, support groups, and other community services for your loved one as well as yourself in advance before you need them.

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How Parkinsons Disease Affects The Brain

The Parkinsons disease brain stops producing dopamine cells, which in turn causes problems with movement and coordination known as motor symptoms. We all have a basic understanding of how Parkinsons disease affects the brain, but what really happens when someone has Parkinsons disease? Lets explore the facts surrounding the Parkinsons disease brain and how it differs from a normal, healthy brain.

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Parkinsons disease is a degenerative illness of the nervous system that results in loss of intentional movement and impaired motor functioning. Parkinsons disease symptoms affects smooth, natural movements of the body, and can make it hard to perform everyday tasks like speaking properly, walking, swallowing and sleeping.

With Parkinsons, the area of the brain that controls muscular movements receives less dopamine than usual. Dopamine is an important chemical necessary for not only coordinating proper body movements, but also things like learning, increasing motivation and regulating moods. This is one reason why depression and other mood changes often affect those with Parkinsons.

What causes Parkinsons, and is it curable? There is no specific known cause, but some aggravating factors include exposure to certain chemicals and toxic water, plus inflammation of the brain. While there is no cure for Parkinsons , there are medications available to boost dopamine in the brain and help manage symptoms.

A 2016 study by researchers at the University of Saskatchewan also found a possible way to stop the progression of Parkinsons. Researchers created caffeine-based chemical compounds which also contained nicotine, metformin and aminoindan that prevented the misfolding of alpha-synuclein, a protein necessary for dopamine regulation.

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Caregiving For People Living With Parkinsons

Caring for a loved one with PD can be a challenging job, especially as the disease progresses. Former caregivers of a loved one with PD suggest doing the following : Get prepared, Take care of yourself, Get help , Work to maintain a good relationship with your loved one, and Encourage the person with PD for whom you care, to stay active.

Preparing for caregiving starts with education. Reading this fact sheet is a good start. More resources are available to you in theResources section of this fact sheet. Early Parkinsonâs disease usually requires more emotional support and less hands-on care. It is a good time for family members/caregivers to educate themselves about the disease.

What Treatments Are Available

Many Parkinsons patients enjoy an active lifestyle and a normal life expectancy. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet and staying physically active contributes to overall health and well-being. Parkinsons disease can be managed with self-care, medication, and surgery.

Self careExercise is as important as medication in the treatment of PD. It helps maintain flexibility and improves balance and range of motion. Patients may want to join a support group and continue enjoyable activities to improve their quality of life. Equally important is the health and well being of the family and caregivers who are also coping with PD. For additional pointers, see Coping With Parkinsons Disease.

These are some practical tips patients can use:

Medications There are several types of medications used to manage Parkinsons. These medications may be used alone or in combination with each other, depending if your symptoms are mild or advanced.

After a time on medication, patients may notice that each dose wears off before the next dose can be taken or erratic fluctuations in dose effect . Anti-Parkinsons drugs can cause dyskinesia, which are involuntary jerking or swaying movements that typically occur at peak dosage and are caused by an overload of dopamine medication. Sometimes dyskinesia can be more troublesome than the Parkinsons symptoms.

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Davis Phinney And Kelsey Phinney Practice Vocal Exercises For Parkinson’s

In this 23-minute episode of The Parkinson’s Podcast, Davis Phinney and his daughter and podcast host, Kelsey Phinney, practice and explain some vocal warmup exercises before Davis sings a few pop songs. Davis’s voice gets louder and clearer over the course of the session and is a good demonstration of the benefit of speech therapy and daily practice of speech exercises, including singing, for those with Parkinson’s.

Easing Cramps Spasms Or Tremors Due To Parkinsons

Understanding Parkinson
  • Massage your legs nightly to relieve leg cramps.
  • Take warm baths and use heating pads to help relieve muscle spasms and ease cramps.
  • Use mineral ice to relax sore joints and muscles.
  • Squeeze a small rubber ball to reduce hand tremors.
  • At first indication of a tremor, if possible, try lying on the floor, face down, and relaxing your body for five to 10 minutes.

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The Increased Interest In Cbd Products As Supplemental Treatment

There is also a very confusing array of CBD products that are available for purchase. These vary in:

  • What the manufacturers state is in the product. That is, some formulations of CBD will state on their label that they also contain a small amount of THC or that they contain other cannabis-derived compounds, but not THC. Others state that they are pure CBD.
  • The formulation. CBD is available in oils, creams, pills, inhalants and more.

It is not just the Parkinsons disease community that has taken an interest in CBD. There are countless health claims that CBD is helpful for a whole host of conditions. Clinical trial evidence to support the use of CBD however, is minimal. The only FDA-approved indication for CBD is to reduce seizure frequency in certain rare and severe forms of childhood epilepsy. A purified form of CBD, sold under the brand name Epidiolex® was tested in a well-designed clinical trial in order to gain this approval. .

For all the other health claims, there is not enough clinical trial data to allow the FDA to state whether or not CBD is effective. And there definitely is not enough data to support the use of one type or formulation of CBD over another.

This has not dimmed the enthusiasm of millions of CBD users for a wide range of medical conditions.

Risk Factors For Parkinsons Disease

The cause of Parkinsons remains unknown, but several factors can contribute to its development, including a family history of the disease. Men are more likely to develop Parkinsons, and most people develop the disease around age 60 or older, although in 10% of cases it can begin as early as age 40.

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How To Talk To A Loved One About Parkinsons Disease

These are some strategies that can be helpful while talking to a loved one about Parkinsons disease:

  • Check in regularly: Check in on the person regularly to ask them how theyre feeling and coping.
  • Use empathetic language: Parkinsons disease can affect a persons ability to go about their daily life. The person might find it challenging to do things they once did easily. This can be difficult and frustrating for them. Try to be empathetic when you speak to them, so they feel supported.
  • Offer assistance: As Parkinsons disease progresses, the person may not be able to drive, cook, clean, or care for themselves. Offer them your assistance and let them know they can count on you.
  • Encourage them to settle their affairs: If your loved one is in a position to make important decisions, it can be helpful to encourage them to settle their affairs.

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