Difference Between Parkinsons Disease And Als Signs And Symptoms
Parkinsons disease typically begins with tremors, followed by muscle stiffness, difficulty standing or walking, changes in speech, slow movements, impaired posture and balance, loss of automatic movements, and writing changes.
Signs and symptoms of ALS include slurred speech, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, emotional liability , loss of tongue muscle contour, excess saliva, difficulty breathing, limp muscles or flaccid weakness, muscle wasting, and twitching.
In the early stages of the disease, ALS patients may notice that performing regular everyday tasks has become more challenging. For example, they may experience difficulty climbing steps or getting up from a chair. Symptoms may first begin on one side of the body, but as the condition progresses, they spread to both sides.
As you can see, ALS and Parkinsons disease share symptoms associated with the negative impact of both conditions on movement and muscle function.
What Happens At The Exam
If your doctor thinks you might have Parkinsonâs disease, theyll recommend that you see a specialist who works with nervous system issues, called a neurologist. One whoâs also trained in movement disorders, like Parkinsonâs, may be able to make the right diagnosis faster.
Your neurologist will probably want to see how well your arms and legs move and check your muscle tone and balance.
They may ask you to get out of a chair without using your arms for support, for example. They also may ask a few questions:
- What other medical conditions do you have now or have you had in the past?
- What medications do you take?
- Has your handwriting gotten smaller?
- Do you have trouble with buttons or getting dressed?
- Do your feet feel âstuckâ to the floor when you try to walk or turn?
- Do people say your voice is softer or your speech is slurred?
Parkinsonâs disease can look different from person to person. Many people have some symptoms and not others.
How To Tell The Difference
While a primary care physician or internist may be the first doctor to see a patient with tremors, he or she is generally not the most qualified person to issue a diagnosis. Instead, a referral is made to a specialist called a neurologist who is trained and experienced in movement disorders. Since there are many things that can cause uncontrollable shakiness, the neurologists initial concern is ruling out a disease, especially PD. Since there are no lab tests that can confirm the diagnosis, the initial consultation usually consists of the following:
- Personal medical history, including any past or current medications
- Family history
- Observation of physical symptoms, e.g. tremor, facial expression, walking, balance
- Testing reflexes, motor coordination, and muscle rigidity
- Writing tasks (handwriting sample, tracing a spiral shape
- Also ruling out PD based on pre-symptom experience, e.g. loss of sense of smell within the previous 10 years is a tell-tale sign of PD though it doesnt occur in every patient)
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Link Between Parkinsons Disease And Als
Parkinsons disease and ALS are a lot more similar than you may think. The two neurological diseases share neurons that are highly sensitive to stress, misfolded proteins and reduced protein recycling, toxic proteins that spread from neuron to neuron, and neuroinflammation which is triggered by the immune system and aggravates the condition.
These commonalities between ALS and Parkinsons disease allow researchers to better hone in on more effective treatments for both diseases.
Be Honest With Yourself And Your Doctor
It is important to discuss alcohol consumption with your doctor to make sure you are approaching it safely. Elements of PD, including motor symptoms such as bradykinesia and dyskinesia , will vary from person to person, so its important to make decisions based on your medical history.
Taking into account environmental factors such as how central alcohol is to your social life can affect the decisions you make. Be honest with your doctor about your habits and preferences remember, your doctor wants to work with you to make your symptoms as manageable as possible, not to judge or shame you.
As you decide how alcohol may fit into your life post-diagnosis lifestyle, there are many factors to consider, such as the type of alcoholic beverage, your other risk factors, and your neurologists recommendations specific to your medical history. Most importantly, monitor how you feel when you drink alcohol and be willing to have open and honest conversations about drinking with your doctor and other important people in your life.
I am not even a big drinker, but miss the odd one, wrote a MyParkinsonsTeam member. So, I had an alcohol-free beer, which tasted OK, to be honest.
Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms: Life Expectancy
Even though Parkinson’s disease is a serious, progressive condition, it is not considered a fatal illness. People who have Parkinson’s disease usually have the same average life expectancy as people without the disease.
But when the disease is in its advanced stages, Parkinson’s symptoms can lead to life-threatening complications, including:
- Falls that lead to fractured bones
Thinking about the progression of Parkinson’s disease can be frightening. But proper treatments can help you live a full, productive life for years to come. And researchers hope to one day find ways to halt the progression of Parkinson’s and restore lost functioning.
Referral To A Specialist
If your GP suspects Parkinson’s disease, you’ll be referred to a specialist.
This will usually be:
- a neurologist, a specialist in conditions affecting the brain and nervous system
- a geriatrician, a specialist in problems affecting elderly people
The specialist will most likely ask you to perform a number of physical exercises so they can assess whether you have any problems with movement.
A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is likely if you have at least 2 of the 3 following symptoms:
- shaking or tremor in a part of your body that usually only occurs at rest
- slowness of movement
- muscle stiffness
If your symptoms improve after taking a medication called levodopa, it’s more likely you have Parkinson’s disease.
Special brain scans, such as a single photon emission computed tomography scan, may also be carried out in some cases to try to rule out other causes of your symptoms.
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What About My Spouse Or Partner
Although it is important to rely on your friends and family for support, for many people with PD, the support of a spouse or partner is the most critical. You and your partner are a team, and you should ask them to be as involved as you want them to be.
Soon after your diagnosis, invite your partner to medical appointments or health education classes, giving them an opportunity to ask questions and learn ways that they can support you.
Rely on your partner, and focus on communicating clearly and effectively about each persons concerns and needs. Going forward, your partner or spouse will be one of your main sources of guidance and support. They can help you talk to other people about your condition as well.
Importance Of Early Diagnosis
Its important to diagnose the cause of tremor symptoms early because each requires a different treatment approach. For instance, there are particular medications for PD that offset the loss of dopamine in the brain, and while they benefit almost every PD patient in the early stages, they are useless for ET. There are many interventions that are appropriate for either ET or PD that can ease symptoms, slow progression, and improve quality of life. An early diagnosis also helps the doctor, patient and family members to develop a go forward treatment strategy, set up an appointment schedule, find support, identify potential future needs, and plan accordingly.
A great asset of early and accurate diagnosis is that it enables patients and family empowerment to offset the discouragement, worry and fear that can accompany diagnosis. There is a saying that knowledge is power, and at Sperling Neurosurgery Associates we also believe knowledge is hope.
We are proud to offer an outpatient procedure called MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound to manage essential tremors, which is FDA approved to treat ET. MRgFUS does not require medication, there is no incision or drilling into the skull, and no exposure to radiation. Not only is it proven safe and effective for ET, it is currently in clinical trial for PD-related tremors, and we know that this is good reason for optimism about improved quality of life for those with tremors.
For more information contact Sperling Neurosurgery Associates
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Causes And Risk Factors Of Parkinsons Disease
Most cases of Parkinsons disease are idiopathic, meaning the cause is unclear.
Its widely believed that a person with Parkinsons may have been genetically vulnerable to the disease, and that one or more unknown factors in the environment eventually triggered the disease.
Normally, the neurons in this part of the brain make the chemical messenger dopamine, which allows communication with another area of the brain, the corpus striatum.
This communication helps produce smooth, purposeful movement. When the neurons in the substantia nigra die, the resulting loss of communication leads to the motor symptoms of Parkinsons.
Although the cause of this cell death is unknown, many researchers believe that the cells are killed by clumped proteins called Lewy bodies.
Tom Thought That Because Some Pink Tablets Relieved His Symptoms This Meant He Was Ok He Didn’t
I first suspected there was something wrong when I was travelling and I was writing a postcard to a friend of mine in, in Australia whose name is Anthony Diecopolis. And, and I got to the Anthony Diec and I couldnt finish the opolis. And its very strange my hand had sort of gone into a sort of spasm and it just wouldnt, wouldnt finish writing the, the, the word. And so thats a bit strange.
And so I went when, when I got I, I went to the doctor and said, What on earths going on? And I had since then Id also developed this slight tremor in my right hand. He said, Well its probably, Essential Tremor or trapped nerve or something like that. And anyway, then it got a bit worse and then I was, I was recommended to go to a neurologist. And the neurologist had a look at me and gave me some pills. And he said, Come back and tell me if these work.
This is about, about sort of, nine months after my, my not being able to finish the, the postcard. And, and he said, Take these pills. And the pills worked. Magically the tremors stopped and I thought this is wonderful. And so I went back to the neurologist and I said, Yes everythings fine now. The pills have, the pills have worked. And far from looking happy about this he looked rather, rather grave and he said, I think youd better go to another neurologist.
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Stooping Or Hunched Posture
People who have Parkinsons disease may notice changes in their posture due to other symptoms of the disease, such as muscle rigidity.
People naturally stand so that their weight is evenly distributed over their feet. However, people who have Parkinsons disease may start bending forward, making them appear hunched or stooped over.
New Diagnostic Standards For Parkinsons
Until recently, the gold-standard checklist for diagnosis came from the U.K.s Parkinsons Disease Society Brain Bank. It was a checklist that doctors followed to determine if the symptoms they saw fit the disease. But thats now considered outdated. Recently, new criteria from the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society have come into use. This list reflects the most current understanding of the condition. It allows doctors to reach a more accurate diagnosis so patients can begin treatment at earlier stages.
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Parkinsons Disease And Alcohol: Your Guide
If you have Parkinsons disease , you may be wondering whether alcohol consumption affects the development or progression of your condition. Some people may wonder if they should avoid drinking completely. As one MyParkinsonsTeam member asked, How does alcohol affect Parkinsons how much can I drink? Or should I avoid drinking altogether?
Some studies havent found that small amounts of alcohol are associated with a higher PD risk, while others highlight the dangers alcohol can pose for anyone with a chronic condition. In addition, there may be adverse interactions between alcohol and common Parkinsons medications. Because of conflicting information, people with PD may feel confused about whether or not to drink.
Ive been told by more than one doctor that I should not have any alcohol, one MyParkinsonsTeam member wrote. And at this point, I dont remember which doctor or specifically why.
So, how do you decide what approach to take?
If you have Parkinsons disease and are trying to decide whether or not to reduce your drinking or quit alcohol completely here are some things to consider.
What Is Rem Behavior Disorder And How Is It Connected To Parkinson’s
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.
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Who Is Affected By Tremor
About 70% of people with Parkinsons experience a tremor at some point in the disease. Tremor appears to be slightly less common in younger people with PD, though it is still one of the most troublesome symptoms. People with resting tremor usually have a more slowly progressing course of illness than people without tremor.
Should I Tell My Boss
Every person has a different way of talking to their boss or colleagues about their diagnosis. While some feel that medical information should be kept private, other people may want to disclose their diagnosis or may have to because of their symptoms or work responsibilities. Generally speaking, you may want to tell your employer about your diagnosis early enough to receive necessary accommodations. If you notice that you now need certain workplace accommodations to continue to do your job, this is probably a good time to tell your boss.
While employers typically appreciate early disclosure of medical conditions, some people with Parkinson’s choose to keep their medical status private until otherwise necessary. Under the American Disability Act, you may be protected from workplace discrimination for a disability if you have requested a reasonable accommodation.
During the early stages of the condition, you may not require accommodations and therefore may not want or need to disclose this information. Regardless of when you decide to tell your employer, we recommend that you establish an ongoing conversation. Your symptoms and needs will continue to change over time, so establishing an open, honest dialogue may benefit you, and your employer, in the long run.
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What Are The Different Stages Of Parkinsons Disease
Each person with Parkinsons disease experiences symptoms in in their own unique way. Not everyone experiences all symptoms of Parkinsons disease. You may not experience symptoms in the same order as others. Some people may have mild symptoms others may have intense symptoms. How quickly symptoms worsen also varies from individual to individual and is difficult to impossible to predict at the outset.
In general, the disease progresses from early stage to mid-stage to mid-late-stage to advanced stage. This is what typically occurs during each of these stages:
Early symptoms of Parkinsons disease are usually mild and typically occur slowly and do not interfere with daily activities. Sometimes early symptoms are not easy to detect or you may think early symptoms are simply normal signs of aging. You may have fatigue or a general sense of uneasiness. You may feel a slight tremor or have difficulty standing.
Often, a family member or friend notices some of the subtle signs before you do. They may notice things like body stiffness or lack of normal movement slow or small handwriting, lack of expression in your face, or difficulty getting out of a chair.
Standing and walking are becoming more difficult and may require assistance with a walker. You may need full time help to continue to live at home.
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