Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Wednesday, December 7, 2022
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How Can I Tell If I Have Parkinson’s

What Is Rem Behavior Disorder And How Is It Connected To Parkinson’s

Medicare and Parkinsons: What You Need to Know

A: REM behavior disorder is different than other sleep problems, like insomnia. People who have it may jerk or kick it’s as though they are acting out their dreams. In a similar pattern to anosmia, people with idiopathic REM sleep behavior disorder have at least a 50 percent chance of eventually developing Parkinson’s disease.

Answer: The Signs Of Parkinsons Disease Are Subtle At First But They Are There

Catching the signs of Parkinsons disease is difficult, so whether youre looking at your friends, family, or yourself, spotting them can be difficult at first. Part of this is due to severity. The symptoms of Parkinsons disease tend to start off very gently and can easily be missed. The other issues that symptoms can be widely varied. What you might see in one person with Parkinsons disease might be completely opposite of another person.

One sign to look out for includes tremors. People may have an unexpected shaking in a limb, extending down to their hands and fingers. This is most obvious in someone when the hand is otherwise at rest. Muscle stiffness is another very common sign to look out for. This may occur anywhere on a persons body and might cause a person to lose some of their range of motion. In turn, this may decrease other unconscious movements. Things like blinking, smiles and moving your arms naturally as you move your body is often affected. That movement might also slow down quite a bit. This is known as bradykinesia. The gradual slowing down of a persons muscles and movements can really slow down life and the actions performed within it. Its also possible for people to find their balance and posture is not what it once was. Falling may be more common, as is stooping. Since the changes are gradual, people may never quite realize they are happening, so attention needs to be paid.

How Is Parkinson’s Disease Treated

If a doctor thinks a person has Parkinson’s disease, there’s reason for hope. Medicine can be used to eliminate or improve the symptoms, like the body tremors. And some experts think that a cure may be found soon.

For now, a medicine called levodopa is often given to people who have Parkinson’s disease. Called “L-dopa,” this medicine increases the amount of dopamine in the body and has been shown to improve a person’s ability to walk and move around. Other drugs also help decrease and manage the symptoms by affecting dopamine levels. In some cases, surgery may be needed to treat it. The person would get anesthesia, a special kind of medicine to prevent pain during the operation.

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Your Symptoms Are Unique To You

Article written by Jackie Hunt Christensen.

Since that life-altering moment you received your diagnosis, you probably have learned about the symptoms of Parkinsons disease and your treatment options. But what you should also know is that your Parkinsons and how you deal with it are as unique as you are.

For some people embracing new activities that refocus their attention away from troubling symptoms and onto things that are intrinsically satisfying can help. The key, she says, is to find ways to bring joy and happiness into your life every day.

Learn The Protocol For Your State

Series on Parkinsons Disease  Neurology &  Sleep Centre

Colorado is not a medically mandated state. Its a self-reporting state, which means its up to you to assess whether or not you are fit to drive. With that said, Dittmar says that approximately 75% of the driving assessments she does are direct referrals from doctors.

Once Dittmar has completed a driving assessment, she sends the report to the drivers doctor and it gets linked back to the drivers DMV profile. The recommendations then become connected to a license.

These recommendations must be measurable. For example, some of the restrictions that could be placed on a driver include:

  • Can only drive in daylight
  • Can only drive within a certain radius of their home
  • Can only drive below certain speeds

In some states, the report gets sent to the medical board. Contact the DMV in your state to learn more about how its done where you live.

Also Check: 10 Early Warning Signs Of Parkinson Disease

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.

Is Parkinsons Disease Inherited

Scientists have discovered gene mutations that are associated with Parkinsons disease.

There is some belief that some cases of early-onset Parkinsons disease disease starting before age 50 may be inherited. Scientists identified a gene mutation in people with Parkinsons disease whose brains contain Lewy bodies, which are clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein. Scientists are trying to understand the function of this protein and its relationship to genetic mutations that are sometimes seen in Parkinsons disease and in people with a type of dementia called Lewy body dementia.

Several other gene mutations have been found to play a role in Parkinsons disease. Mutations in these genes cause abnormal cell functioning, which affects the nerve cells ability to release dopamine and causes nerve cell death. Researchers are still trying to discover what causes these genes to mutate in order to understand how gene mutations influence the development of Parkinsons disease.

Scientists think that about 10% to 15% of persons with Parkinsons disease may have a genetic mutation that predisposes them to development of the disease. There are also environmental factors involved that are not fully understood.

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How Does Parkinsons Affect The Face

Everyday tasks such as getting dressed, writing, picking something up off the floor take twice as long as they used to. Some people describe the feeling of slowness and stiffness as walking through molasses or moving in slow-motion. Because subconscious muscle movements of the face are responsible for ones facial expressions and others interpretation of our mood, patients can be thought to be upset or depressed when they are not. This is known as having a masked face.

What Is Parkinson’s Disease Its A Movement Disorder

I have a tremor. Is it Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive brain illness that affects the way you move. In more clinical terms, Parkinsons disease is a neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system.

Normally, there are cells in the brain that produce a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine sends signals to the parts of your brain that control movement. When approximately 60-80% of the dopamine-producing brain cells are damaged, symptoms of Parkinson’s disease appear, and you may have trouble moving the way you want.

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic illness and it slowly progresses over time. While there is no therapy or medicine that cures Parkinsons disease, there are good treatment options available that can help you live a full life.

Also Check: Is Parkinson’s Disease Fatal

What Accommodations Do I Use

The stiffness in my hands and tremor both make it difficult to type and use the mouse. Typing on a regular keyboard is usually fine for me, but it has become almost impossible for me to use the keypad on mobile devices. There are currently three accommodations I use:

  • A foot pedal allows me to click, right-click, and double-click without using the buttons on the mouse. This keeps me from accidentally clicking or dragging items.

  • A head tracker allows me to position the mouse using my head to avoid issues with moving it during a tremor.

  • I use voice dictation on my phone and am exploring it on my PC to ease typing and navigation.

  • Thankfully, these accommodations have allowed me to remain 100% productive in both my work and hobbies like astrophotography.

    Is There A Link

    Some people have MS and Parkinsonâs, but it could be a coincidence.

    Research suggests that the damage that MS causes to your brain can lead some people to develop Parkinsonâs later on.

    If you have MS, your immune system triggers ongoing inflammation. This can create lesions in your brain that cause Parkinsonâs disease. If lesions form in certain spots in your brain, they can affect how it makes dopamine.

    Recommended Reading: Cardinal Signs Of Parkinson’s Disease

    Is There A Way To Slow The Progress Of Parkinson’s

    Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder, which means its symptoms worsen slowly over time. There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease yet and no known way to slow its progress.

    But there are treatments and medications that can control or reduce the symptoms and help people live productive lives. Some research suggests that regular exercise may slow the progress of Parkinson’s. Physical activity can also alleviate stiffness and other symptoms.

    There are other things a person can do to feel better after a diagnosis of Parkinson’s, such as joining social support groups and learning as much as possible about the disease. It’s also important to make the home safer and less cluttered, since a person with Parkinson’s is more likely to fall.

    While it’s not always easy, neurologists say a positive mindset can also help.

    Is Early Diagnosis Possible

    Treating Parkinson

    Experts are becoming more aware of symptoms of Parkinsons that precede physical manifestations. Clues to the disease that sometimes show up before motor symptoms and before a formal diagnosis are called prodromal symptoms. These include the loss of sense of smell, a sleep disturbance called REM behavior disorder, ongoing constipation thats not otherwise explained and mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

    Research into these and other early symptoms holds promise for even more sensitive testing and diagnosis.

    For example, biomarker research is trying to answer the question of who gets Parkinsons disease. Researchers hope that once doctors can predict that a person with very early symptoms will eventually get Parkinsons disease, those patients can be appropriately treated. At the very least, these advances could greatly delay progression.

    Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center

    Our center provides compassionate and timely treatment to patients with movement disorders, such as dystonia, ataxia, essential tremor and similar conditions. But our mission goes beyond patient care excellence. By offering educational events and support groups, we empower patients and caregivers to become better partners in their health.

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    Medicines For Parkinson’s Disease

    Medicines prescribed for Parkinson’s include:

    • Drugs that increase the level of dopamine in the brain
    • Drugs that affect other brain chemicals in the body
    • Drugs that help control nonmotor symptoms

    The main therapy for Parkinson’s is levodopa, also called L-dopa. Nerve cells use levodopa to make dopamine to replenish the brain’s dwindling supply. Usually, people take levodopa along with another medication called carbidopa. Carbidopa prevents or reduces some of the side effects of levodopa therapysuch as nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, and restlessnessand reduces the amount of levodopa needed to improve symptoms.

    People with Parkinson’s should never stop taking levodopa without telling their doctor. Suddenly stopping the drug may have serious side effects, such as being unable to move or having difficulty breathing.

    Other medicines used to treat Parkinsons symptoms include:

    • Dopamine agonists to mimic the role of dopamine in the brain
    • MAO-B inhibitors to slow down an enzyme that breaks down dopamine in the brain
    • COMT inhibitors to help break down dopamine
    • Amantadine, an old antiviral drug, to reduce involuntary movements
    • Anticholinergic drugs to reduce tremors and muscle rigidity

    Software Analyzes Facial Expressions Hand Movements

    Smiles are not the only behaviors that Hoque and his lab can analyze for early symptoms of Parkinsons disease or related disorders.

    In collaboration with Ray Dorseya leading expert in Parkinsons disease and the David M. Levy Professor of Neurology at Rochesterand the Universitys Morris K. Udall Parkinson Disease Research Center, the researchers have developed a five-pronged test that neurologists could administer to patients sitting in front of their computer webcams hundreds of miles away.

    This could be transformative for patients who are quarantined, immobile, or living in underdeveloped areas where access to a neurologist is limited, Hoque says.

    In addition to making the biggest smile, and alternating it with a neutral expression three times, patients taking the test are also asked to:

    • Read aloud a complex written sentence
    • Touch their index finger to their thumb 10 times as quickly as possible
    • Make the most disgusted look possible, alternating with a neutral expression, three times
    • Raise their eyebrows as high as possible, then lower them as far as they can, three times slowly

    Using machine learning algorithms, the computer program showswithin minutesa percentage likelihood from each of the tests whether the patient is showing symptoms of Parkinsons disease or related disorders.

    Hence the importance of testing other expressions and movements, according to Ali, a former postdoctoral associate in Hoques lab who now is an associate data scientist at Sysco.

    Recommended Reading: What Are Early Warning Signs Of Parkinson’s Disease

    Want More Practical Articles Like This

    Much more can be found in a powerful new edition of Davis Phinney Foundations free Every Victory Counts® manual. Its jam-packed with up-to-date information about everything Parkinsons, plus an expanded worksheets and resources section to help you put what youve learned into action. Color coding and engaging graphics help guide you through the written material and point you to complementary videos, podcasts and other materials on the Every Victory Counts companion website. And, it is still free of charge thanks to the generosity of our sponsors.

    Request your copy of the new Every Victory Counts manual by clicking the button below.

    What Should Others Be Aware Of When Interacting With Me

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    My tremor is the most visible symptom. If you see my hand or arm shaking, understand this is a “normal” symptom and there is no need for concern. What may be less obvious is the impact PD has on my facial expressions. The symptoms sometimes pull my face into a frown, so please don’t think I’m scowling, angry, or upset. I noticed that it’s harder to work the muscles on the left side of my face, so you may notice what looks an arched eyebrow or half-grin. This is probably me expressing astonishment or just trying to smile. PD also causes me to speak more softly, and often I’m not aware. It’s perfectly fine to let me know you are having trouble hearing me because I can speak louder if I focus.

    Due to challenges with typing, I always prefer a voice chat over a text-based one.

    The head tracker that I use requires me to wear a silver dot on my forehead or glasses.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease

    The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include tremors or trembling difficulty maintaining balance and coordination trouble standing or walking stiffness and general slowness.

    Over time, a person with Parkinson’s may have trouble smiling, talking, or swallowing. Their faces may appear flat and without expression, but people with Parkinson’s continue to have feelings even though their faces don’t always show it. Sometimes people with the disease can have trouble with thinking and remembering too.

    Because of problems with balance, some people with Parkinson’s fall down a lot, which can result in broken bones. Some people with Parkinson’s may also feel sad or depressed and lose interest in the things they used to do.

    The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease appear gradually and get worse over time. But because Parkinson’s disease usually develops slowly, most people who have it can live a long and relatively healthy life.

    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.

    Recommended Reading: Jack Kornfield Parkinson’s

    Take Control Of Your Care

    Whether you see a general neurologist or movement disorder specialist, be honest about your symptoms and how your treatment is working. Ask about other options you could try. And dont hesitate to get another opinion.

    Need help finding a neurologist or movement disorder specialist? Use our physician finder tool to find a specialist near you.

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