Wednesday, April 10, 2024
Wednesday, April 10, 2024
HomeSide EffectsHow To Tell If You Have Parkinson's Disease

How To Tell If You Have Parkinson’s Disease

Stiffness And Slow Movement

Parkinson’s Disease: What Signs Do Specialists See?

Parkinsons disease mainly affects adults older than 60. You may feel stiff and a little slow to get going in the morning at this stage of your life. This is a completely normal development in many healthy people. The difference with PD is that the stiffness and slowness it causes dont go away as you get up and start your day.

Stiffness of the limbs and slow movement appear early on with PD. These symptoms are caused by the impairment of the neurons that control movement. A person with PD will notice jerkier motions and move in a more uncoordinated pattern than before. Eventually, a person may develop the characteristic shuffling gait.

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.

Parkinson’s Disease Diet And Nutrition

Maintaining Your Weight With Parkinson’s Disease

Malnutrition and weight maintenance is often an issue for people with Parkinson’s disease. Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy weight.

  • Weigh yourself once or twice a week, unless your doctor recommends weighing yourself often. If you are taking diuretics or steroids, such as prednisone, you should weigh yourself daily.
  • If you have an unexplained weight gain or loss , contact your doctor. He or she may want to modify your food or fluid intake to help manage your condition.
  • Avoid low-fat or low-calorie products. . Use whole milk, whole milk cheese, and yogurt.

Read Also: Is Parkinson Disease Deadly

Why Is Expert Care Important

Early expert care can help reduce PD complications. Findings show that 60 percent of people with Parkinson’s fall short of getting the expert care they need. The National Parkinson Foundation has estimated that about 6,400 people with Parkinson’s die unnecessarily each year due to poor care.

Trained neurologists will help you recognize, treat and manage the disease. Common approaches include medication, surgical treatment, lifestyle modifications , physical therapy, support groups, occupational therapy and speech therapy. The best approach is interdisciplinary care, where you are seen by multiple specialists on a regular basis and all of the specialists talk and arrange the best possible coordinated care. This is what is referred to as a patient-centric approach to Parkinson’s care.

Referral To A Specialist

Your Tears can Tell If You Have Parkinson

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.

Read Also: Cost Of Levodopa

What Has Your Experience Been Since You Disclosed That You Have Parkinsons Disease To Your Colleagues And Friends

The support has been phenomenal, and it has been incredibly heartwarming for me to see. I didnt anticipate feeling this amount of love and a part of me regrets not telling people sooner.

If you think about other peoples situations if they were to come to you with this kind of problem, you would greet them with compassion and love, but when it is yourself, it is hard to give yourself that grace.

The amount of brain energy and time that I spent on hiding symptoms was enormous and added a huge amount of stress to my life. Once I told everyone, I had a tremendous sense of relief.

You Are A Rapid Response Nurse Which Puts You In A Lot Of High Intensity Situations How Has Your Job Been Since Diagnosis

I was a rapid response nurse, but as my symptoms got more pronounced, I decided to shift away from that type of nursing. I just got a new position as a post-heart transplant nurse coordinator, so when I start working again after paternity leave, I will go back to a new job.

I have not been back to work since I publicly disclosed my diagnosis, so that will be a new experience.

Read Also: Does Parkinson’s Cause Memory Issues

How To Share Your Condition At Work

Many newly diagnosed people with Parkinsons disease avoid telling their employers and coworkers about their condition because they fear they will be unfairly treated. But the Americans with Disabilities Act was created, in part, to keep employers from discriminating against people with disabilities or certain health conditions when they are hired, on the job or being fired.

Realize that there are rules that may protect your right to keep your job and require your employer to make reasonable accommodations to help keep you working. Under the ADA, reasonable accommodations are defined as any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions.

However, there are exceptions, particularly for small businesses and other situations. Thus, if you are nervous about being fired because of your Parkinsons disease, consider consulting an attorney or a legal aid agency before you share your condition with your employer.

Check into your companys personnel policies. Find out about sick leave and continuation of health benefits.

Contact the Job Accommodation Network . This resource center, provided by the federal Department of Labor, has developed a number of suggestions for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

What Can You Do If You Have Pd

Should I tell people I have Parkinson’s Disease?
  • Work with your doctor to create a plan to stay healthy. This might include the following:
  • A referral to a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in the brain
  • Care from an occupational therapist, physical therapist or speech therapist
  • Meeting with a medical social worker to talk about how Parkinson’s will affect your life
  • Start a regular exercise program to delay further symptoms.
  • Talk with family and friends who can provide you with the support you need.
  • For more information, visit our Treatment page.

    Page reviewed by Dr. Chauncey Spears, Movement Disorders Fellow at the University of Florida, a Parkinsons Foundation Center of Excellence.

    Also Check: Is Parkinson’s Disease Fatal

    Who Gets Parkinson’s Disease

    About 1 million people in the United States have Parkinson’s disease, and both men and women can get it. Symptoms usually appear when someone is older than 50 and it becomes more common as people get older.

    Many people wonder if you’re more likely to get Parkinson’s disease if you have a relative who has it. Although the role that heredity plays isn’t completely understood, we do know that if a close relative like a parent, brother, or sister has Parkinson’s, there is a greater chance of developing the disease. But Parkinson’s disease is not contagious. You can’t get it by simply being around someone who has it.

    Difference Between Parkinsons Disease Dementia And Dementia With Lewy Bodies

    Technically, the difference between these two conditions lies in how quickly the cognitive difficulties and hallucinations develop in relation to the movement issues. In DLB, the cognitive difficulties and hallucinations develop much sooner in the disease course than in PDD, sometimes even prior to the movement difficulties. Because of the similarities between PD, PDD, and DLB, current thinking in the medical community is that they should be viewed as related diseases which fall along a continuum of Lewy body disorders.

    Also Check: What Is Advanced Parkinson’s Disease

    What Is And Isn’t Parkinson’s Disease

    I am often asked if Parkinson’s Disease is a form of Alzheimers. Parkinson’s is not Alzheimers, ALS or a brain tumor, and the prognosis for Parkinson’s, though not a perfect scenario, leaves room to live a productive life.

    PD is a progressive and chronic neurological disease that often begins with mild symptoms that advance gradually over time. Symptoms can be so subtle in the early stages that they go unnoticed, leaving the disease undiagnosed for years. For patients with Parkinson’s, there is a reduction in the body chemical dopamine, which controls movement and mood so simple activities like walking, talking and writing can be impacted.

    Due to the complexity of PD, diagnosis is based on a variety of factors. The best diagnosis is made by an expert doing a careful history and exam followed by tracking responses to therapy. There is no blood or laboratory test to diagnose Parkinson’s disease.

    While Parkinson’s reaches all demographics, the majority of people with PD are age 60 or older. Men and people with a family history of the disease have an increased risk.

    Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms Everyone Should Know

    Pin on Animated Parkinson

    Parkinsons disease symptoms can include tremor and trouble with movement, along with emotional and cognitive changes.

    Parkinson’s disease symptoms can vary significantly from person to person. Some people may have range of motor symptoms, like tremor, stiffness, and slow movements. Others may also experience the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as anxiety, cognitive changes, and loss of smell.

    It has to do with a chemical messenger known as dopamine, which plays a role in the brain’s ability to control movement, coordination, and emotional responses. In Parkinson’s disease, the brain cells that produce dopamine either stop doing their job or they die out, resulting in both motor and non-motor symptoms. It’s not always easy to tell if someone you care about has Parkinson’s disease. Let’s take a closer look at the symptoms of the disease and signs that someone should make an appointment with their doctor.

    You May Like: What Are Early Warning Signs Of Parkinson’s Disease

    Trying Parkinsons Disease Medications

    One of the features of PD is that it will significantly and consistently improve when you begin taking medication that targets your dopamine system.10 Your doctor may ask you to try taking Parkinsons medication, like carbidopa-levodopa, to help confirm a PD diagnosis. Levodopa is a drug that is converted into dopamine in your brain, replacing some of the dopamine you lose due to the disease. Levodopa is frequently paired with carbidopa, which helps prevent levodopa from breaking down before it reaches your brain. Your doctor will observe if carbidopa-levodopa helps your motor symptoms. Carbidopa-levodopa is typically very effective at treating motor symptoms, so a significant response to the medication used to treat it helps confirm the diagnosis. Parkinsons medications are generally very safe and the risk of taking them is low, while the benefit is great because it might help if you do have Parkinsons and improve your mobility.10

    Related: What you can do before you see your doctor next.

    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.

    Recommended Reading: Non Parkinson’s Bradykinesia

    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.

    What Doctors Look For When Diagnosing Parkinsons

    How do you measure Parkinson’s Disease?

    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.

    Don’t Miss: How Long Can A Person Live With Parkinson’s

    Problems With Balance Or Walking

    Bradykinesia can also contribute to increasing instability, walking difficulties and changes in gait. An early symptom of this is a decrease in the natural swing of one or both arms when walking. As things progress, the steps you take may become slower and smaller, and you may start shuffling your feet.

    Some people with Parkinsons disease may also experience freezing episodes where it can feel like their feet are stuck in place, which can increase the risk of falling.

    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

    Don’t Miss: Does Jack Kornfield Have Parkinson’s

    Your Symptoms Are Unique To You

    Article written by Jackie Hunt Christensen.

    Since that life-altering moment you received your diagnosis, you probably have learned about the symptoms of Parkinsons disease and your treatment options. But what you should also know is that your Parkinsons and how you deal with it are as unique as you are.

    For some people embracing new activities that refocus their attention away from troubling symptoms and onto things that are intrinsically satisfying can help. The key, she says, is to find ways to bring joy and happiness into your life every day.

    How Did You Know You Have Parkinsons

    10 Early Warning Signs of Parkinson

    by Allan Cole

    How Did You Know?

    People ask me how I found out I have Parkinsons disease. This question never bothers me no questions do, really. Its an unusual diagnosis to get in your late 40s, and people are curious. I would be curious, too. I might even want reassurance that I didnt have Parkinsons myself.

    Getting my diagnosis required several things. One was paying attention to a faint tremor in my left index finger, but also listening to my gut. I knew something wasnt right with my body. A diagnosis also meant trusting my primary care doctor and following her advice, in spite of my fervent hope that it was overkill. After all, I had always been the picture of good health. Getting a diagnosis also required showing up for an appointment I never wanted to have, could easily have delayed, and for which I had to wait anxiously for over a month.

    Ultimately, finding out I have Parkinsons required adhering to my belief that knowing the truth is better than running from it.

    This is how I found out.

    The Erratic Index Finger

    As squealing bus brakes announce the arrival of students for early morning classes, I take quick sips of warm coffee between spurts of typing on my computer. With thoughts flowing, my excitement grows as something new begins to live on the page. My left hand, like my left wrist and forearm, has been stiff for months. It tries to keep pace with the right hands fluid keystrokes.

    I see my doctor and she refers me to a neurologist, Dr. T.*

    The Exam

    Read Also: What Are Early Warning Signs Of Parkinson’s Disease

    What Is Your Daily Life Like With Pd

    My daily life is a little less spontaneous now due to timing of medications with activities. Every morning I wake up and schedule my day around ON and OFF times. So many factors contribute to how my body is functioning sleep, stress, meals, intensity of exercise and so on. Its an evolving, moving target. Attitude, perspective, and the ability to laugh go a long way. Yes, my body is changing, and Parkinsons presents challenges at times. Its not that my body is becoming unable to perform certain things. Rather I just have to find new ways to perform certain functions.


    Popular Articles