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How Do You Know You Have Parkinson’s Disease

What Is Parkinson’s Disease Its A Movement Disorder

How do you measure 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.

What Are The Primary Motor Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease

There are four primary motor symptoms of Parkinsons disease: tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia and postural instability . Observing two or more of these symptoms is the main way that physicians diagnose Parkinsons.

It is important to know that not all of these symptoms must be present for a diagnosis of Parkinsons disease to be considered. In fact, younger people may only notice one or two of these motor symptoms, especially in the early stages of the disease. Not everyone with Parkinsons disease has a tremor, nor is a tremor proof of Parkinsons. If you suspect Parkinsons, see a neurologist or movement disorders specialist.

Tremors

Rigidity

Bradykinesia

Postural Instability

Walking or Gait Difficulties

Dystonia

Vocal Symptoms

Causes Of Parkinsons Disease

At present, we do not know the cause of Parkinsons disease. In most people there is no family history of Parkinsons Researchers worldwide are investigating possible causes, including:;

  • environmental triggers, pesticides, toxins, chemicals
  • genetic factors
  • combinations of environment and genetic factors;
  • head trauma.

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What If You Have Parkinson’s

After Parkinson’s is diagnosed, your doctor will help you develop an individualized plan to address the symptoms that have the biggest impact on your everyday life and help slow down the progression of the disease. The first step is getting a referral to a neurologist for expert care especially one who is trained in movement disorders.

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As dementia progresses, managing disorientation, confusion, agitation, and impulsivity can be a key component of care.

Some patients experience hallucinations or delusions as a complication of Parkinsons disease. These may be frightening and debilitating. Approximately 50 percent of those with the disease may experience them.

The best thing to do when giving care to someone experiencing hallucinations or delusions from Parkinsons disease dementia is to keep them calm and reduce their stress.

Take note of their symptoms and what they were doing before they exhibited signs of hallucinating and then let their doctor know.

This element of the disease can be particularly challenging for caregivers. Patients may become unable to care for themselves or be left alone.

Some ways to make caregiving easier include:

  • sticking to a normal routine whenever possible
  • being extra comforting after any medical procedures
  • limiting distractions
  • using curtains, nightlights, and clocks to help stick to a regular sleep schedule
  • remembering that the behaviors are a factor of the disease and not the person

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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.

How Do I Know If I Have Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsons disease is a progressive disease of the nervous system that affects mainly coordination. While it is associated with abnormally low levels of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that helps regulate movement, researchers are not yet sure what causes the brain cells responsible for making dopamine break down.

What are the Symptoms?

Parkinsons disease has a wide array of symptoms that vary from patient to patient. They also change as the patient progresses, and not all of them affect the patients motor skills. Parkinsons disease is an insidious condition that develops slowly, so the early symptoms often go unnoticed, even by the patient.

The best-known and most common symptom is tremor. The patient will experience an involuntary shaking of a body part while they are awake and standing still or sitting. Moving often makes the tremor go away. The tremor usually affects a hand, arm or leg, but it can also involve the lips, tongue or chin. In the early stages of Parkinsons disease, the tremor usually only affects one body part on one side of the body. As the disease progresses, the tremor may remain confined to one side of the body, or it may start to affect both sides.

Other common symptoms of Parkinsons include:

How is the Disease Diagnosed?

  • Acute Pain Due to Trauma
  • Radiating Pain to Arms or Legs

Sleep Disorders

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Complementary And Alternative Therapies

Some people with Parkinson’s disease find;complementary therapies help them feel better. Many complementary treatments and therapies claim to ease the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

However, there’s no clinical evidence they’re effective in controlling the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Most people think complementary treatments have no harmful effects. However, some can be harmful and they shouldn’t be used instead of the medicines prescribed by your doctor.

Some types of herbal remedies, such as St John’s wort, can interact unpredictably if taken with some types of medication used to treat Parkinson’s disease.

If you’re considering using an alternative treatment along with your prescribed medicines, check with your care team first.

Surgery For People With Parkinsons Disease

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Deep brain stimulation surgery is an option to treat Parkinsons disease symptoms, but it is not suitable for everyone. There are strict criteria and guidelines on who can be a candidate for surgery, and this is something that only your doctor and you can decide. Surgery may be considered early or late in the progression of Parkinsons.;When performing deep-brain stimulation surgery, the surgeon places an electrode in the part of the brain most effected by Parkinsons disease. Electrical impulses are introduced to the brain, which has the effect of normalising the brains electrical activity reducing the symptoms of Parkinsons disease. The electrical impulse is introduced using a pacemaker-like device called a stimulator.;Thalamotomy and pallidotomy are operations where the surgeon makes an incision on part of the brain. These surgeries aim to alleviate some forms of tremor or unusual movement, but they are rarely performed now.

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Common Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsons is mostly known for its movement-related symptoms . Everyone with Parkinsons has the first symptom, bradykinesia. The term literally means slowness of movement. Researchers believe that this is due to changes in the motor areas of the brain . These changes interfere with the brains ability to execute the commands to move.

Experiencing bradykinesia alone does not result in a diagnosis of Parkinsons disease. The patient must also exhibit at least one of the following movement symptoms:

  • Postural instability
  • Rigidity
  • Tremor

Of the three, tremor is the most common and most commonly associated with the condition. It presents as a slight shaking in the hand or chin. Rigidity is when the patient experiences stiffness in the arms or legs that is not caused by arthritis. Finally, postural instability simply means that the patient has issues with balance or is prone to falling.

Other movement symptoms include:

  • Insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, restless legs syndrome, vivid dreams, and other sleep disorders
  • Losing sense of taste or smell
  • Mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, and apathy

Some non-movement symptoms do not become apparent until a patient has had PD for many years.

Causes Of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain called the substantia nigra. This;leads to a reduction;in a chemical called dopamine in the brain.

Dopamine plays a vital role in regulating the movement of the body. A reduction in dopamine is responsible for many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Exactly what causes the loss of nerve cells is unclear. Most experts think that a combination of genetic and environmental factors is responsible.

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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?

Tell your doctor if youâve noticed a change in your sense of smell or you have trouble with sleep, memory, or mood.

Parkinsonâs disease can look different from person to person. Many people have some symptoms and not others.

Living With Parkinson’s Disease

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As Parkinson’s develops, a person who has it may slow down and won’t be able to move or talk quickly. Sometimes, speech therapy and occupational therapy are needed. This may sound silly, but someone who has Parkinson’s disease may need to learn how to fall down safely.

If getting dressed is hard for a person with Parkinson’s, clothing with Velcro and elastic can be easier to use than buttons and zippers. The person also might need to have railings installed around the house to prevent falls.

If you know someone who has Parkinson’s disease, you can help by being a good friend.

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Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease

Parkinson’s disease has four main symptoms:

  • Tremor in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
  • Stiffness of the limbs and trunk
  • Slowness of movement
  • Impaired balance and coordination, sometimes leading to falls

Other symptoms may include depression and other emotional changes; difficulty swallowing, chewing, and speaking; urinary problems or constipation; skin problems; and sleep disruptions.

Symptoms of Parkinsons and the rate of progression differ among individuals. Sometimes people dismiss early symptoms of Parkinson’s as the effects of normal aging. In most cases, there are no medical tests to definitively detect the disease, so it can be difficult to diagnose accurately.

Early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are subtle and occur gradually. For example, affected people may feel mild tremors or have difficulty getting out of a chair. They may notice that they speak too softly, or that their handwriting is slow and looks cramped or small. Friends or family members may be the first to notice changes in someone with early Parkinson’s. They may see that the person’s face lacks expression and animation, or that the person does not move an arm or leg normally.

People with Parkinson’s often develop a parkinsonian gait that includes a tendency to lean forward, small quick steps as if hurrying forward, and reduced swinging of the arms. They also may have trouble initiating or continuing movement.

What Is The Prognosis And Life Expectancy For Parkinson’s Disease

    The severity of Parkinson’s disease symptoms and signs vary greatly from person to peson, and it is not possible to predict how quickly the disease will progress. Parkinson’s disease itself is not a fatal disease, and the average life expectancy is similar to that of people without the disease. Secondary complications, such as pneumonia, falling-related injuries, and choking can lead to death. Many treatment options can reduce some of the symptoms and prolong the quality of life.

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    What Tests Might I Have

    Your doctor may want to start by testing your blood or doing a brain scan to rule out other conditions.

    People who have Parkinsonâs disease donât make enough of a brain chemical called dopamine, which helps you move. If those first tests donât show a reason for your symptoms, your doctor may ask you to try a medication called carbidopa-levodopa, which your brain can turn into dopamine. If your symptoms get much better after you start the drug, your doctor probably will tell you that you have Parkinsonâs disease.

    If the medication doesnât work for you and thereâs no other explanation for your issues, your doctor might suggest an imaging test called a DaTscan. This uses a small amount of a radioactive drug and a special scanner, called a single photon emission computed tomography scanner, to see how much dopamine is in your brain. This test can’t tell you for sure that you have Parkinson’s disease, but it can give your doctor more information to work with.

    It can take a long time for some people to get a diagnosis. You may need to see your neurologist regularly so they can keep an eye on your symptoms and eventually figure out whatâs behind them.

    Early Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease

    What are the important things to know if I have Parkinson’s Disease?

    Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease of the nervous system that affects movement. Approximately 1 million people in the U.S. are living with the disease. This year, about 60,000 more will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

    Many people associate Parkinson’s disease with tremors or shaking of their hands. While this is a common symptom, other important symptoms include stiffness of muscles and slowing of movement.

    Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease usually start on one side of the body. They usually remain worse on that side even after symptoms begin to affect both sides.

    The early signs and symptoms are different for each person. The symptoms may be mild enough to go unnoticed for months or years.

    Here are early symptoms that can raise concern for Parkinson’s disease:

    • Smaller handwriting
    • Family members may observe that one arm swings less on one side when walking.
    • Soft or low voice Again, it is family members or friends who may ask one to speak louder. The speech may be more of a monotone without the usual inflections.

    It is the combination of several symptoms that would raise suspicion for Parkinson’s disease. A single symptom is not enough to make a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.

    It is important to talk with your health care provider if you have any of the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease. This is to properly diagnose the condition and rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.

    Leonardo Fugoso, M.D., is a neurologist;in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

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    Early Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Can Be Overlooked

    Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are divided into 2 groups: motor symptoms and non-motor symptoms.

    Early non-motor symptoms can be subtle and it’s possible to overlook them as signs of Parkinson’s: for example, anxiety and depression, fatigue, loss of smell, speech problems, difficulty sleeping, erectile dysfunction, incontinence and constipation. Another sign of Parkinson’s is handwriting that becomes smaller.

    Motor symptoms of Parkinson’s can include tremor , slowness of movement , muscle rigidity and instability .

    It’s possible for non-motor symptoms to start occurring up to a decade before any motor symptoms emerge. Years can pass before symptoms are obvious enough to make a person to go to the doctor.

    There’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to Parkinson’s disease different people will experience different symptoms, and of varying severity. One in 3 people, for example, won’t experience tremor.

    On average, 37 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s every day in Australia. Parkinson’s Australia;;;

    Surgical Options For Parkinsons Disease

    As of 2019, there are two surgeries prescribed to treat Parkinsons. These are only ordered if medications previously helped control movement symptoms but are no longer effective.

    The first is called deep brain stimulation. The surgeon inserts a wire, or lead, into the subthalamic nucleus, which is the part of the brain that controls movement. The wire extends to an external device called a neurostimulator. This sends electrical pulses through the lead to stimulate the subthalamic nucleus.

    The second surgery is prescribed in cases where the patient suffers too many side effects from the levodopa or requires too strong a dose. A surgeon inserts a tube in the small intestine, through which the patient receives doses of carbidopa. This enhances the effect of levodopa, allowing the patient to receive a smaller dose.

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    Lewy Body Dementia Vs Parkinsons Disease Dementia

    Diagnoses of Lewy body dementia include dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinsons disease dementia. Symptoms in both of these diagnoses can be similar.

    Lewy body dementia is a progressive dementia caused by abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. Lewy bodies are also seen in Parkinsons disease.

    The overlap in symptoms between Lewy body dementia and Parkinsons disease dementia include movement symptoms, rigid muscles, and problems with thinking and reasoning.

    This seems to indicate that they could be linked to the same abnormalities, though more research is needed to confirm that.

    The later stages of Parkinsons disease have more severe symptoms that may require help moving around, around-the-clock care, or a wheelchair. Quality of life can decline rapidly.

    Risks of infection, incontinence, pneumonia, falls, insomnia, and choking increase.

    Hospice care, memory care, home health aides, social workers, and support counselors can be a help in later stages.

    Parkinsons disease itself isnt fatal, but complications can be.

    Research has shown a median survival rate of about

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