What Is Parkinson Disease
Parkinson disease is a movement disorder. It can cause the muscles to tighten and become rigid This makes it hard to walk and do other daily activities. People with Parkinsons disease also have tremors and may develop cognitive problems, including memory loss and dementia.
Parkinson disease is most common in people who are older than 50. The average age at which it occurs is 60. But some younger people may also get Parkinson disease. When it affects someone younger than age 50, it’s called early-onset Parkinson disease. You may be more likely to get early-onset Parkinson disease if someone in your family has it. The older you are, the greater your risk of developing Parkinson disease. It’s also much more common in men than in women.
Parkinson disease is a chronic and progressive disease. It doesn’t go away and continues to get worse over time.
Nutrition: What’s The Best Parkinsons Diet
What’s best to add to your medical Parkinsons Disease treatments?
- People with Parkinsons disease will benefit greatly from exercise and a Parkinsons diet with high quality proteins such as fish, along with lots of fruits and vegetables.
Why? Because “oxidative stress” is a big factor in the progression of Parkinsons disease symptoms.
Anti-oxidants counteract “oxidative stress,” one of the known Parkinsons Disease causes.
- Antioxidants in food and supplements will help to SLOW DOWN MANY Parkinsons disease symptoms.
- Add brain health supplements, especially that boost the “master ANTIOXIDANT” glutathione, to prevent and even repair damage.
Your Parkinsons Disease treatments will be enhanced and your life will likely be more fun!
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.
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Memory Or Thinking Problems
Having issues with thinking and processing things could mean your disease is progressing. Parkinsons is more than a movement disorder. The disease has a cognitive part as well, which means it can cause changes in the way your brain works.
During the final stage of the disease, some people may develop dementia or have hallucinations. However, hallucinations can also be a side effect of certain medications.
If you or your loved ones notice that youre getting unusually forgetful or easily confused, it might be a sign of advanced-stage Parkinsons.
How Do Symptoms Progress And What Is The Outlook
The symptoms of PD tend to become gradually worse over time. However, the speed of progression varies greatly from person to person. When symptoms first begin, you may not need treatment when symptoms are relatively mild.
Most people with PD can expect to have some time of relatively mild symptoms. Then, when the symptoms become worse, they can expect several years of good or reasonable control of the symptoms with medication. But everyone is different and it is difficult to predict for an individual how quickly the disease will progress. Some people may only be slightly disabled 20 years after PD first begins, whereas others may be very disabled after 10 years.
Research into PD is active. For example, one main aim of research is to find medicines that prevent the damage to the affected cells, rather than just treating the symptoms, which is the main value of treatment at present. Further research on these chemicals continues. Research is underway using stem cell therapy to help treat PD. Other researchers are looking at alpha synuclein, a protein that gathers around the junction between nerve cells and is thought to affect the way messages are conducted between the brain and the nerves controlling movement.
Further reading and references
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Comparing Cbd With Levodopa For Parkinsons
Levodopa is an established treatment for Parkinsons disease. Although its not perfect, its currently the most effective treatment for PD. It helps boost the level of dopamine in the brain.
Levodopa is effective at targeting the motor symptoms of the condition, such as tremors or muscle stiffness.
However, this medicine does little to combat the nonmotor symptoms of Parkinsons disease. These are the problems that can significantly affect a persons daily life. They include anxiety, sleep disturbance, fatigue, irritation, and depression.
Furthermore, prolonged use of levodopa may result in side effects like elevated anxiety, agitation, confusion, and nausea. It may also trigger tremors that result from the medication itself, not PD.
CBD appears to help with those nonmotor symptoms and potential side effects, rather than physical problems. A study with more than 200 participants found that regular use of cannabis was highly effective on non-motor symptoms of Parkinsons Disease. However, this study included a combination of THC with CBD, not CBD oil alone.
How Is Tremor Treated
While most tremors are incurable, there are ways to manage symptoms. In certain circumstances, mild symptoms do not necessitate treatment.
Finding the right treatment requires precise cause identification. Treatment for serious health problems can occasionally alleviate or eliminate tremors.
Once diagnosed, your doctor determines the best course of action. Theres really no one size fits all Parkinsons treatment.
Some patients do well with physical therapy and lifestyle modifications, while others require surgery.
Regardless of treatment though, doctors often recommend certain aids to help make life easier. Among them, the Parkinsons spoon.
Weighted utensils are one of the most essential aids for those with Parkinsons disease. Given the weight of the utensils, it keeps your hands from shaking.
These Weighted Utensils include ergonomic designs that help alleviate tremors, giving more muscle strength, and assists those with sensory problems to have postural control.
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Parkinsons & Brain Treatments
A doctor may prescribe medications to conserve dopamine in the brain and replace missing amounts of the chemical. This protects the brain and slows down the progression of symptoms. Another option is deep brain stimulation. This surgical procedure implants a special device into the brain, which creates electrical signals that help stimulate body movement.
While living with this condition causes significant alterations to the brain, you or your loved one will still be able to thrive and enjoy an excellent quality of life. The volunteers at Connecticut Advocates for Parkinsons of Hartford County, CT, are focused on providing each affected person with wellness and educational opportunities to make this possible. For information about their support groups and events for men and women with Parkinsonâs, call 266-6040, or visit their website. Explore community activities and discover care tips by following their page.
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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 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.
How Is Parkinson Disease Diagnosed
Parkinson disease can be hard to diagnose. No single test can identify it. Parkinson can be easily mistaken for another health condition. A healthcare provider will usually take a medical history, including a family history to find out if anyone else in your family has Parkinson’s disease. He or she will also do a neurological exam. Sometimes, an MRI or CT scan, or some other imaging scan of the brain can identify other problems or rule out other diseases.
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What Are The Different Types Of Tremors
To fully understand the arm movement assessment and how the weighted utensil works, I elaborated on common disease symptoms.
Ive included videos to help explain each one in a bit more detail.
Essential tremor common symptoms include trembling in the hands and arms that occur while moving or sitting.
Additional symptoms also occur as head tremors and can also cause a shaking sound if the voice box is affected.
Check out the video below for examples:
As NIH explains, a dystonic tremor occurs in people who are affected by dystoniaa movement disorder where incorrect messages from the brain cause muscles to be overactive, resulting in abnormal postures or sustained, unwanted movements.
NIH goes on to explain that this type of tremor is most common in young to middle-aged adults and that it can affect any muscle in your body.
This video does a good job of explaining it:
Cerebellar tremors are easily seen and occur typically after a purposeful movement. Think pressing the button on your phone or typing on your keyboard.
Damage to the cerebellum the part of your brain responsible for most basic muscle movements- causes these types of tremors.
Its typically caused by strokes, tumors, and degenerative disorders like MS. Also, alcohol abuse can cause chronic damage to the cerebellum.
The video below focuses on this type of tremor in relation to Parkinsons disease.
Beyond The Substantia Nigra
In Parkinsons, other areas of the brain beyond the substantia nigra are involved as the condition progresses. Changes in higher brain areas are linked to non-motor symptoms that can affect people with Parkinsons later on in the condition, and often have a significant impact on quality of life.
For instance, symptoms that affect memory and thinking can be linked to the presence of Lewy bodies in the largest area of the brain the cerebral cortexas well as the limbic system. The limbic system is also believed to be involved in symptoms involving mood and pain, and similar changes in the inferior temporal gyrus, an area of the brain involved in processing what we see, are thought to be the reason for hallucinations.
But research into the spread of Parkinsons through these areas, and how we can stop it , is just one side of the story. There is also ongoing research into where Parkinsons starts, and the effects it is having before it reaches these areas.
The presence of non-motor symptoms many months and maybe even years before the physical symptoms, such as tremor and slowness of movement, points towards the presence of other changes in the body long before the loss of dopamine-producing cells in the substantia nigra. These early symptoms could even help researchers predict those who will go on to be diagnosed with Parkinsons, which would help in the development of new and better treatments.
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What Lifestyle Changes Can I Make To Ease Parkinsons Symptoms
Exercise: Exercise helps improve muscle strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, and tremor. It is also strongly believed to improve memory, thinking and reduce the risk of falls and decrease anxiety and depression. One study in persons with Parkinsons disease showed that 2.5 hours of exercise per week resulted in improved ability to move and a slower decline in quality of life compared to those who didnt exercise or didnt start until later in the course of their disease. Some exercises to consider include strengthening or resistance training, stretching exercises or aerobics . All types of exercise are helpful.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet: This is not only good for your general health but can ease some of the non-movement related symptoms of Parkinsons, such as constipation. Eating foods high in fiber in particular can relieve constipation. The Mediterranean diet is one example of a healthy diet.
Preventing falls and maintaining balance: Falls are a frequent complication of Parkinson’s. While you can do many things to reduce your risk of falling, the two most important are: 1) to work with your doctor to ensure that your treatments whether medicines or deep brain stimulation are optimal and 2) to consult with a physical therapist who can assess your walking and balance. The physical therapist is the expert when it comes to recommending assistive devices or exercise to improve safety and preventing falls.
How Is Parkinsons Disease Treated
There is no cure for Parkinsons disease. However, medications and other treatments can help relieve some of your symptoms. Exercise can help your Parkinsons symptoms significantly. In addition, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language therapy can help with walking and balance problems, eating and swallowing challenges and speech problems. Surgery is an option for some patients.
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What Are The Causes
The cause of Parkinson’s is largely unknown. Scientists are currently investigating the role that genetics, environmental factors, and the natural process of aging have on cell death and PD.
There are also secondary forms of PD that are caused by medications such as haloperidol , reserpine , and metoclopramide .
Changes In Sleeping Patterns
As Parkinsons progresses, you can also develop problems with sleep patterns. These may not happen in the early stages, but can be noticeable later. You might wake up often in the middle of the night or sleep more during the day than you do at night.
Another common sleep disturbance for people with Parkinsons is rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder. This is when you start acting out your dreams in your sleep, such as verbally and physically, which can get uncomfortable if someone is sharing your bed. Dr. Rundle-Gonzalez says many times a bed partner will be the one to notice sleep problems.
REM sleep behavior disorder can also happen in people who dont have Parkinsons. However, if this isnt something youve dealt with before, its likely related to your disease. There are medications your doctor can prescribe to help you sleep comfortably through the night.
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Is Parkinsons Disease Fatal
Parkinsons disease itself doesnt cause death. However, symptoms related to Parkinsons can be fatal. For example, injuries that occur because of a fall or problems associated with dementia can be fatal.
Some people with Parkinsons experience difficulty swallowing. This can lead to aspiration pneumonia. This condition is caused when foods, or other foreign objects, are inhaled into the lungs.
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.
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Should I Tell My Colleagues
This is up to you, so take some time to consider what you think is best. Colleagues can be very supportive, and it may help to talk with someone you can trust at work. You may find that other colleagues are also carers. Together, you may be able to talk to your employer about ways you could be supported in juggling your job and caring.
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.
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