What Causes Parkinsons Disease
The most prominent signs and symptoms of Parkinsons disease occur when nerve cells in the basal ganglia, an area of the brain that controls movement, become impaired and/or die. Normally, these nerve cells, or neurons, produce an important brain chemical known as dopamine. When the neurons die or become impaired, they produce less dopamine, which causes the movement problems associated with the disease. Scientists still do not know what causes the neurons to die.
People with Parkinsons disease also lose the nerve endings that produce norepinephrine, the main chemical messenger of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls many functions of the body, such as heart rate and blood pressure. The loss of norepinephrine might help explain some of the non-movement features of Parkinsons, such as fatigue, irregular blood pressure, decreased movement of food through the digestive tract, and sudden drop in blood pressure when a person stands up from a sitting or lying position.
Many brain cells of people with Parkinsons disease contain Lewy bodies, unusual clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein. Scientists are trying to better understand the normal and abnormal functions of alpha-synuclein and its relationship to genetic mutations that impact Parkinsons andLewy body dementia.
Treatment For Constipation In Parkinsons Disease
Your doctor may suggest various treatments to help combat constipation, including:
- dietary changes, including more fibre rather than refined or highly processed foods, and water
- moderate exercise
- avoidance of unnecessary medicines that contain substances known to cause constipation
- laxatives, particularly agents that bulk and lubricate the stools
- treatment for any other medical problem that may be contributing to your constipation, such as haemorrhoids .
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
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Parkinsons Gut Health Jump Start
Its no surprise that the hunt is on for new therapeutic approaches for Parkinsons that target the gut microbiota . Fortunately, you dont have to wait for the next scientific breakthrough to get a jump start on improving the health of your gut.
The goal of this jump start is to begin to decrease inflammation, heal the gut lining, and restore healthy gut balance through 4 simple strategies that you can start today with very little investment and very little change to your diet.
Lets take a look
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Building A Lewy Body Dementia Care Team
After receiving a diagnosis, a person with LBD may benefit from seeing a neurologist who specializes in dementia and/or movement disorders. Your primary doctor can work with other professionals to follow your treatment plan. Depending on an individual’s particular symptoms, physical, speech, and occupational therapists, as well as mental health and palliative care specialists, can be helpful.
Support groups are another valuable resource for people with LBD and their caregivers. Sharing experiences and tips with others in the same situation can help people find practical solutions to day-to-day challenges and get emotional and social support.
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Check Your Blood Pressure
Keeping your blood pressure under control is an essential part of dementia prevention. Cardiovascular diseases are often linked to different forms of dementia. You can decrease your blood pressure through sports, healthy nutrition and abstaining from smoking or drinking. However, some people need to take additional medication to reach their blood pressure targets. Talk to your doctor!
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Parkinsons And Decreased Range Of Movement
Exercise is important for everyone, but its especially important for people with Parkinsons disease. Physical therapy or exercise can help improve mobility, muscle tone, and range of motion.
Increasing and maintaining muscle strength may be helpful as muscle tone is lost. In some cases, muscle strength can act as a buffer, countering some of the other effects of Parkinsons. Additionally, massage can help you reduce muscle stress and relax.
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Common Bladder Problems And When To Seek Help
Bladder problems can disrupt day-to-day life. When people have bladder problems, they may avoid social settings and have a harder time getting tasks done at home or at work. Common bladder problems include urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, and urinary retention.
Some signs of a bladder problem may include:
- Inability to hold urine or leaking urine
- Needing to urinate more frequently or urgently
- Pain or burning before, during, or after urinating
- Trouble starting or having a weak stream while urinating
- Trouble emptying the bladder
If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your health care provider.
Treatment for bladder problems may include behavioral and lifestyle changes, exercises, medications, surgery, or a combination of these treatments and others. For more information on treatment and management of urinary incontinence, visit Urinary Incontinence in Older Adults.
What Are The Symptoms
Symptoms of PD vary from person to person, as does the rate of progression. A person who has Parkinson’s may experience some of these more common “hallmark” symptoms:
- Bradykinesia – slowness of movement, impaired dexterity, decreased blinking, drooling, expressionless face.
- Tremor at rest – involuntary shaking that decreases with purposeful movement. Typically starts on one side of the body, usually the hand.
- Rigidity – stiffness caused by involuntary increase in muscle tone.
- Postural instability – sense of imbalance. Patients often compensate by lowering their center of gravity, which results in a stooped posture.
Other symptoms that may or may not occur:
Freezing or being stuck in place Shuffling gait or dragging of one foot Stooped posture Cognitive impairment
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What Are The Symptoms Of Essential Tremor
The key symptom of essential tremor is shaking usually your hands when youre trying to use them. That shaking can take different forms and usually happens under certain circumstances. The forms and circumstances where tremors are likely include:
- Action tremor: This is a form of essential tremor that happens during actions, such as reaching for an object.
- Postural tremor: This is shaking that happens when you hold part of your body in a specific pose, such as holding a hand outstretched and keeping it at the same height.
Essential tremor almost always affects both sides of your body but often affects one side more than the other. In addition to your hands, tremors can affect other parts of your body such as your head, voice, face and trunk.
The tremor itself isn’t dangerous, but it can cause problems with everyday activities as the condition worsens. Eventually, people with essential tremor may have trouble with activities such as eating with utensils and drinking from a glass, dressing themselves and writing.
Essential tremor gets better or worse under certain circumstances. Examples include:
|May help tremors|
|Electrolyte, thyroid or blood sugar problems.|
When healthcare providers diagnose essential tremor, they analyze the way the tremors happen. Two key components of tremors are their frequency and their amplitude. The following example explains these terms and what they look like in a hand tremor:
Lewy Body Dementia Research
Many avenues of research are being explored to improve our understanding of LBD. Some researchers are working to identify the specific differences in the brain between the two types of LBD. Others are looking at the disease’s underlying biology, genetics, and environmental risk factors. Still other scientists are trying to identify biomarkers , improve screening tests to aid diagnosis, and research new treatments.
Scientists hope that new knowledge about LBD will one day lead to more effective treatments and even ways to cure and prevent the disorder. Until then, researchers need volunteers with and without LBD for clinical studies.
NIH and other groups help people learn about clinical trials and studies and find research opportunities near them. Visit the following websites for details:
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How Is It Diagnosed
Diagnosing Parkinson’s disease is mostly a clinical process, meaning it relies heavily on a healthcare provider examining your symptoms, asking you questions and reviewing your medical history. Some diagnostic and lab tests are possible, but these are usually needed to rule out other conditions or certain causes. However, most lab tests aren’t necessary unless you don’t respond to treatment for Parkinson’s disease, which can indicate you have another condition.
What Causes Corticobasal Degeneration
Researchers currently think corticobasal degeneration is a form of frontotemporal degeneration and distinct from Alzheimers disease. The breakdown of cells here affects your brains frontal and temporal lobes.
The condition occurs when a tau, a protein normally found in brain cells, abnormally clumps together. These clumps, or neurofibrillary tangles, cause your brain cells to degenerate or die. This leads to problems with movement, speech and memory.
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What Is The Outlook For Someone With Corticobasal Degeneration
A person with corticobasal degeneration has increasing difficulty taking care of themselves. People may live five to 10 years after the onset of symptoms. Many of these individuals die from disease complications resulting from falls, lack of mobility or infections related to their inability to maintain their personal hygiene.
The disease increases the risk of life-threatening complications, such as:
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.
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How Is Parkinson Disease Treated
Parkinson disease can’t be cured. But there are different therapies that can help control symptoms. Many of the medicines used to treat Parkinson disease help to offset the loss of the chemical dopamine in the brain. Most of these medicines help manage symptoms quite successfully.
A procedure called deep brain stimulation may also be used to treat Parkinson disease. It sends electrical impulses into the brain to help control tremors and twitching movements. Some people may need surgery to manage Parkinson disease symptoms. Surgery may involve destroying small areas of brain tissue responsible for the symptoms. However, these surgeries are rarely done since deep brain stimulation is now available.
How Parkinsons Disease Affects The Body
Life with Parkinsons is challenging, to say the least. This progressive disease starts slowly, and because theres currently no cure, it gradually worsens how you think and feel.
Giving up may seem like the only solution, but it certainly isnt. Thanks to advanced treatments, many people are able to continue living healthy, productive lives with Parkinsons.
Take a glance at this infographic to get a visual picture of how Parkinsons can affect everything from your memory to your movement.
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Support For People Living With Parkinsons Disease
While the progression of Parkinsons is usually slow, eventually a persons daily routines may be affected. Activities such as working, taking care of a home, and participating in social activities with friends may become challenging. Experiencing these changes can be difficult, but support groups can help people cope. These groups can provide information, advice, and connections to resources for those living with Parkinsons disease, their families, and caregivers. The organizations listed below can help people find local support groups and other resources in their communities.
What Causes Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
The exact cause of PLMD is unknown. However, several medications are known to make PLMD worse. These medications include some antidepressants, antihistamines, and some antipsychotics. PLMD may be related to a low iron level or problems with limb nerve conduction due to diabetes or kidney disease. Though not necessarily a cause, the following are all thought to “influence” or increase the risk of periodic limb movements in sleep:
- Neurodevelopmental and genetic disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and William’s syndrome
- Spinal cord injury/spinal cord tumor
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Diagnosis Of Parkinsons Disease
There are currently no blood or laboratory tests to diagnose non-genetic cases of Parkinsons. Doctors usually diagnose the disease by taking a persons medical history and performing a neurological examination. If symptoms improve after starting to take medication, its another indicator that the person has Parkinsons.
A number of disorders can cause symptoms similar to those of Parkinsons disease. People with Parkinsons-like symptoms that result from other causes, such as multiple system atrophy and dementia with Lewy bodies, are sometimes said to have parkinsonism. While these disorders initially may be misdiagnosed as Parkinsons, certain medical tests, as well as response to drug treatment, may help to better evaluate the cause. Many other diseases have similar features but require different treatments, so it is important to get an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible.
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Other Causes Of Parkinsonism
“Parkinsonism” is the umbrella term used to describe the symptoms of tremors, muscle rigidity and slowness of movement.
Parkinson’s disease is the most common type of parkinsonism, but there are also some rarer types where a specific cause can be identified.
These include parkinsonism caused by:
- medication where symptoms develop after taking certain medications, such as some types of antipsychotic medication, and usually improve once the medication is stopped
- other progressive brain conditions such as progressive supranuclear palsy, multiple systems atrophy, and corticobasal degeneration
- cerebrovascular disease where a series of small strokes cause several parts of the brain to die
You can read more about parkinsonism on the Parkinson’s UK website.
What Does Parkinson’s Do To The Brain
Deep down in your brain, there’s an area called the substantia nigra, which is in the basal ganglia. Some of its cells make dopamine, a chemical that carries messages around your brain. When you need to scratch an itch or kick a ball, dopamine quickly carries a message to the nerve cell that controls that movement.
When that system is working well, your body moves smoothly and evenly. But when you have Parkinson’s, the cells of your substantia nigra start to die. There’s no replacing them, so your dopamine levels drop and you can’t fire off as many messages to control smooth body movements.
Early on, you won’t notice anything different. But as more and more cells die, you reach a tipping point where you start to have symptoms.
That may not be until 80% of the cells are gone, which is why you can have Parkinson’s for quite a while before you realize it.
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Research Is Underway To Further Understand The Cardiac Effects Of Parkinsons
It is possible to image the sympathetic nervous system of the human heart by injecting a radioactive tracer, meta-iodo-benzyl-guanidine, . Development of this technique, known as MIBG cardiac imaging, holds much promise as a test to confirm the diagnosis of PD , to identify those who are at risk of developing PD in the future, and to distinguish PD from related disorders. MIBG cardiac imaging is still considered an experimental procedure for detection of PD and is not yet in use as a clinical tool for this purpose.
A recent research study was conducted in monkeys in which the destruction of the sympathetic nerves of the heart was chemically induced to mimic the changes that are seen in PD. The cardiac system was then imaged using a number of new-generation radioactive tracers, which bind to markers of inflammation and oxidative stress. This model system may help to shed light on the molecular changes that accompany the loss of the sympathetic nerves of the heart and can also be used to track the response of the cardiac system to therapeutic agents.
What Are Risk Factors Of Depression
There are many things that may be risk factors of depression. For some people, changes in the brain can affect mood and result in depression. Others may experience depression after a major life event, like a medical diagnosis or a loved ones death. Sometimes, those under a lot of stress especially people who care for loved ones with a serious illness or disability can feel depressed. Others may become depressed for no clear reason.
Research has shown that these factors are related to the risk of depression, but do not necessarily cause depression:
- Medical conditions, such as stroke or cancer
- Genes people who have a family history of depression may be at higher risk
- Functional limitations that make engaging in activities of daily living difficult
- Addiction and/or alcoholism included in Substance-Induced Depressive Disorder
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