Hospital And Medical Environments
Electrical medical treatment. In the case that a medical treatment is administered where an electrical current is passed through the body from an external source, first deactivate the IPG by setting all electrodes to off, turning stimulation off, and setting amplitude to zero. Regardless if the device is deactivated, take care to monitor the device for proper function during and after treatment.
High-output ultrasonics and lithotripsy.The use of high-output devices, such as an electrohydraulic lithotriptor, may cause damage to the electronic circuitry of an implanted IPG. If lithotripsy must be used, do not focus the energy near the IPG.
Ultrasonic scanning equipment.The use of ultrasonic scanning equipment may cause mechanical damage to an implanted neurostimulation system if used directly over the implanted system.
External defibrillators.The safety of discharge of an external defibrillator on patients with implanted neurostimulation systems has not been established.
Therapeutic radiation. Therapeutic radiation may damage the electronic circuitry of an implanted neurostimulation system, although no testing has been done and no definite information on radiation effects is available. Sources of therapeutic radiation include therapeutic X rays, cobalt machines, and linear accelerators. If radiation therapy is required, the area over the implanted IPG should be shielded with lead. Damage to the system may not be immediately detectable.
Parkinsons Disease Is A Progressive Disorder
Parkinsons Disease is a slowly progressive neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affects movement and, in some cases, cognition. Individuals with PD may have a slightly shorter life span compared to healthy individuals of the same age group. According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research, patients usually begin developing Parkinsons symptoms around age 60. Many people with PD live between 10 and 20 years after being diagnosed. However, a patients age and general health status factor into the accuracy of this estimate.
While there is no cure for Parkinsons disease, many patients are only mildly affected and need no treatment for several years after their initial diagnosis. However, PD is both chronic, meaning it persists over a long period of time, and progressive, meaning its symptoms grow worse over time. This progression occurs more quickly in some people than in others.
Pharmaceutical and surgical interventions can help manage some of the symptoms, like bradykinesia , rigidity or tremor , but not much can be done to slow the overall progression of the disease. Over time, shaking, which affects most PD patients, may begin to interfere with daily activities and ones quality of life.
Foods Containing Saturated Fat And Cholesterol
Some studies suggest that dietary fat intake may increase the risk of Parkinsons.
Although having a higher intake of cholesterol can elevate a persons Parkinsons risk, having a higher intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids may reduce the risk.
Therefore, a person with Parkinsons may wish to reduce their intake of cholesterol to help control the symptoms of the condition. They may also wish to reduce the amount of saturated fat in their diet.
However, further studies are required to explore the link between dietary fat and Parkinsons.
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Care For The Caregiver
Whether youre a spouse, parent, child, or friend, your role as a caregiver is to be on call 24/7. Youll likely feel as if your entire world revolves around your loved one, while your personal life takes a backseat.
Research shows that caregiver burden is high among Parkinsons caregivers, who likely face emotional, social, physical, and financial challenges as a result.
As the demands of caring for a loved one increase, many caregivers neglect their own health. Its important to be proactive and take care of yourself. Keep current with your own medical appointments and healthcare needs.
Other things you can do to stay in shape include:
- eat a balanced diet
Who Gets Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsonâs disease, documented in 1817 by physician James Parkinson, is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimerâs disease. Estimates regarding the number of people in the United States with Parkinsonâs range from 500,000 to 1,500,000, with 50,000 to 60,000 new cases reported annually. No objective test for Parkinsonâs disease exists, so the misdiagnosis rate can be high, especially when a professional who doesnât regularly work with the disease makes the diagnosis.
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How To Help Someone With Parkinsons Disease Thrive
The symptoms of Parkinsons can have a significant impact on physical, mental and social abilities, but family caregivers can make life much easier for seniors who are living with this condition. By learning about PD and planning ahead, a caregiver may be able to anticipate changing needs and abilities and resolve issues before they negatively affect a loved one. Taking proactive steps to ensure a PD patients safety, extend their independence and preserve their functional abilities will help them remain in their own home longer and have a beneficial impact on their overall quality of life.
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 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.
What Doctors Look For When Diagnosing Parkinsons
Certain physical signs and symptoms noticed by the patient or his or her loved ones are usually what prompt a person to see the doctor. These are the symptoms most often noticed by patients or their families:
Shaking or tremor: Called resting tremor, a trembling of a hand or foot that happens when the patient is at rest and typically stops when he or she is active or moving
Bradykinesia: Slowness of movement in the limbs, face, walking or overall body
Rigidity: Stiffness in the arms, legs or trunk
Posture instability: Trouble with balance and possible falls
Once the patient is at the doctors office, the physician:
Takes a medical history and does a physical examination.
Asks about current and past medications. Some medications may cause symptoms that mimic Parkinsons disease.
Performs a neurological examination, testing agility, muscle tone, gait and balance.
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How Can Homage Support With Parkinson’s Care
In-home Parkinsons care support allows individuals with Parkinsons to receive holistic care in the comfort of home.
Homages trained Care Professionals can assist with the following activities:
- Personal hygiene, includes showering, toileting, diaper changing and dressing
- Mobility support, includes manual or assisted transfers to facilitate movement around the home and reduce fall-risk
- Companionship to interact through activities and conversations to keep loneliness at bay
- Staying active, includes home and outdoor exercises
- Medication reminders for prompt medication consumption
- Meal preparation, purchase of takeaway or cooking meals suitable for the care recipients diet
- Medical escorts to doctors appointment and medication collection
- Light housekeeping, includes keeping the care recipients room spick and span, washing the care recipients dishes
- Simple nursing care, includes tube feeding and suctioning
- Complex nursing procedures, includes wound and stoma care
- Home physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy
Everyones care needs are unique. Reach out to our Care Advisors at to learn more about how our Care Pros can support you in your journey with Parkinsons.
Impulsive And Compulsive Behaviour
Some patients who take dopamine agonists can experience problems controlling impulsive or compulsive behaviour .
Impulsive behaviour refers to the inability of patients to resist carrying out certain activities, some of these activities could be harmful to themselves or others. In many cases, this behaviour is out of character.
Compulsive behaviour refers to an overwhelming urge to act in a certain way to reduce the worry or tension this urge produces. This behaviour can be expressed in a number of ways, including addictive gambling, impulsive shopping, binge eating and hypersexuality.
Nurses who suspect a patient might be experiencing compulsive or impulsive behaviour should discuss the issue with the patient and the patients neurologist or GP as soon as possible.
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Bathing And Personal Care Tips
For someone with Parkinsons disease, showering is typically preferred to taking baths because getting in and out of the tub becomes increasingly difficult. However, some people with PD may eventually experience changes in the brain that affect memory, judgement and focus. The Alzheimers Association estimates that 50 to 80 percent of Parkinsons patients experience these and other symptoms of dementia. Individuals living with Parkinsons disease dementia and Lewy body dementia may benefit from some adaptations, assistive devices and caregiving techniques that are used in dementia care.
For example, many dementia patients are confused or even frightened by the sound and feel of running water while showering. If your loved one requires assistance with bathing, be sure to give them time to adapt to the situation and understand what is happening. Gently talk them through the process, ensure they are warm and comfortable, and start by cleansing less sensitive areas of the body, such as the feet and hands, before proceeding to other areas.
Eating Drinking And Parkinson’s Disease
- Don’t rush your meals. Allow the extra time you need to finish your meal. Rest your elbows on the table to provide more motion at your wrist and hand.
- Sit with your knees and hips bent at a 90-degree angle in a straight-back chair.
- Use utensils with built-up, lightweight handles, or use a “spork” — a spoon and fork in one. Use a rocker knife for cutting food.
- Use a non-skid mat to stabilize objects on the table.
- Use a plate guard or plate with a raised lip to prevent food from spilling.
- Use a long straw with a non-spill cup or use a plastic mug with a large handle.
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What Does It Mean To Be A Parksinons Disease Care Partner
Being a care partner for someone with Parkinsons disease is a whirlwind of challenges, responsibilities, setbacks and victories. It is a very difficult, but potentially very rewarding role. Knowing that many of you reading this are trying to navigate the complexities of being a care partner, we thought it would be helpful to hear from others in your situation. If you havent already, you might find that reading our Becoming a Care Partner overview will be helpful as well.
For todays blog, I spoke with three care partners to bring their unique perspectives to our readers who might be grappling with similar issues. Remember, every person with PD is different, their disease progression is different, and each care partner is different so keep that in mind as you read on. But despite those differences, we think you will find helpful advice, bits of inspiration, and some solace in their stories. All names have been changed for privacy.
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Complex Parkinson’s Disease And Palliative Care
Complex Parkinson’s disease is defined as the stage when treatment is unable to consistently control symptoms, or the person has developed uncontrollable jerky movements .
These problems can still be helped by adjustment or addition of some of the medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease, under the supervision of a doctor with a specialist interest in Parkinson’s disease.
As Parkinson’s disease progresses, you’ll be invited to discuss the care you want with your healthcare team as you near the end of your life. This is known as palliative care.
When there’s no cure for an illness, palliative care tries to alleviate symptoms, and is also aimed at making the end of a person’s life as comfortable as possible.
This is done by attempting to relieve pain and other distressing symptoms, while providing psychological, social and spiritual support for you and your family.
Palliative care can be provided at home or in a hospice, residential home or hospital.
You may want to consider talking to your family and care team in advance about where you’d like to be treated and what care you wish to receive.
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What To Expect In The Late Stages Of Parkinsons Disease
- Stage Four of Parkinsons Disease In stage four, PD has progressed to a severely disabling disease. Patients with stage four PD may be able to walk and stand unassisted, but they are noticeably incapacitated. Many use a walker to help them. At this stage, the patient is unable to live an independent life and needs assistance with some activities of daily living. The necessity for help with daily living defines this stage. If the patient is still able to live alone, it is still defined as Stage Three.
- Stage Five of Parkinsons Disease Stage five is the most advanced and is characterized by an inability to arise from a chair or get out of bed without help. They may have a tendency to fall when standing or turning, and they may freeze or stumble when walking. Around-the-clock assistance is required at this stage to reduce the risk of falling and help the patient with all daily activities. At stage five, the patient may also experience hallucinations or delusions.1,2
What Medications Are Used To Treat Parkinsons Disease
Medications are the main treatment method for patients with Parkinsons disease. Your doctor will work closely with you to develop a treatment plan best suited for you based on the severity of your disease at the time of diagnosis, side effects of the drug class and success or failure of symptom control of the medications you try.
Medications combat Parkinsons disease by:
- Helping nerve cells in the brain make dopamine.
- Mimicking the effects of dopamine in the brain.
- Blocking an enzyme that breaks down dopamine in the brain.
- Reducing some specific symptoms of Parkinsons disease.
Levodopa: Levodopa is a main treatment for the slowness of movement, tremor, and stiffness symptoms of Parkinsons disease. Nerve cells use levodopa to make dopamine, which replenishes the low amount found in the brain of persons with Parkinsons disease. Levodopa is usually taken with carbidopa to allow more levodopa to reach the brain and to prevent or reduce the nausea and vomiting, low blood pressure and other side effects of levodopa. Sinemet® is available in an immediate release formula and a long-acting, controlled release formula. Rytary® is a newer version of levodopa/carbidopa that is a longer-acting capsule. The newest addition is Inbrija®, which is inhaled levodopa. It is used by people already taking regular carbidopa/levodopa for when they have off episodes .
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Cleaning Tips For Those With Parkinson’s
- Use long handles on sponge mops, cleaning brushes, dust pans, brooms, or window washers.
- Sit to fold laundry, wash dishes, iron clothes, use the sweeper, mop the floor, or to plug in appliances at low outlets. Adapt counters so that you can reach them from your wheelchair or from a sitting position.
Build A Good Relationship
Caring for a loved one with Parkinsons can place a great deal of stress on your relationship. A person you love is changing both physically and mentally, and both of you are needing to adapt.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation recommends keeping communication as open as possible and being flexible with your changing roles. Be aware that some changes, such as new apathy or irritability, is not directed personally at you.
If both you and your loved one are willing, consider consulting a therapist together. You can work through any of the anger, denial, or upset you are feeling, and find ways to keep your relationship healthy and loving.
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How Parkinsons Symptoms Affect Daily Life
Symptoms of Parkinsons primarily affect how the body moves, which significantly changes daily life for both you and your older adult.
Symptoms may include:
- Tremors a main symptom of Parkinsons. It often begins in the hands, arms, and legs, often happening when the body is not moving and going away when movement starts.
- Slowed movements a key marker of Parkinsons, it may look like dragging feet on the floor or taking an extremely long time to complete basic tasks.
- Contracture a growing rigidity of muscles and joints that limit range of motion and flexibility. It can even lead to skeletal deformities.
- Balance problems weakness, muscle rigidity, and slowed movements all contribute to balance problems and increased risk of falling.
- Speech changes decrease in voice volume as well as slurred or slowed speech accompanies progression of Parkinsons
Additional non-motor symptoms can also impact daily life. These include excessive sweating, loss of smell, mood/personality changes, constipation, urinary urgency, difficulty writing, trouble sleeping, hallucinations, and even neck pain.