Comparison With Other Dementias
Dementia is the result of physical changes in the brain that can lead to memory loss and an inability to think clearly.
Several types of dementia exist, including:
PD dementia has different symptoms to other types.
Alzheimers dementia, for example, impairs memory and language. PD dementiam on the other hand, affects problem-solving, the speed at which thoughts occur, memory, and mood, alongside other important cognitive functions.
Dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinsons disease dementia are similar in that the Lewy Bodies might be present in both forms.
However, whether the disease causes Lewy bodies or if Lewy bodies cause the disease symptoms is unclear. Researchers also believe that the way the Lewy bodies form in Parkinsons disease dementia is different from those in Lewy body dementia.
Effects Of Memory And Cognitive Changes
While it may seem clear to you that emotional states can have a significant impact on your thinking, the reverse is also true: Your thinking can sometimes strongly influence your emotional states. You know the proverbial story of two men who see the same glass of water but one sees it as half full and the other as half empty? The same goes for thinking and emotional states.
Sometimes your assessment of a situation can influence your emotional reaction to that situation. More generally, executive cognitive functions can influence your mood states because those executive functions control all the information you have about the situations you find yourself in. Executive functions control your appraisal of those situations. If you find it difficult to recall happy memories, you may become more sad or depressed. If you find it difficult to plan a vacation, you may put off the vacation and thus influence your mood states and so forth.
Problems with executive functions can also get you into trouble over serious matters like money. If you find it difficult to balance the checkbook, you may get a bit sloppier about your finances. Consider also that the extra jolt of dopamine that comes from taking dopamine medications can sometimes make you temporarily more energized and impulsive. Now when you couple a heightened sense of impulsivity with a lowered capacity for thinking efficiently through decisions, you sometimes get impulsive respondingbad decisions.
Parkinsons Disease Treatment And Its Future
Parkinsons disease has no cure. However, millions of dollars are going into research every year to help better understand the disease, from how its defined to how its treated. The ultimate end goal is developing a cure for Parkinsons, but in the meantime, doctors and researchers have developed treatment plans based on what they presume is causing the disease in the first placemost often the lack of certain brain chemicals and cells like dopamine.
The plans vary per patient, and some of these treatment options include:
There isnt any real way to definitively prevent the disease, either. As with prevention for any disease or malady, its suggested that you maintain a healthy lifestyle before and after a diagnosis. Remaining physically engaged through activities like running, yoga, and weight lifting and eating healthy are both ways to provide your body with the best opportunity for a healthy life.
Clinical trials are also viewed as a treatment option because they may give you as good of a chance of relieving symptoms as other already-existent treatments. There are clinical trials happening year-round with various institution and foundations, and your demographic may fit a trial in its beginning pre-clinical stage or an advanced stage.
Talk to your doctor about any available clinical trials that you may qualify for and how to become a part of them. Also stay in contact with your doctor regarding any concerns that you may have with Parkinsons or how to get it treated.
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Stiffness And Slow Movement
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.
What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease Dementia
Cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease may range from a single isolated symptom to severe dementia.
- The appearance of a single cognitive symptom does not mean that dementia will develop.
- Cognitive symptoms in Parkinson’s disease usually appear years after physical symptoms are noted.
- Cognitive symptoms early in the disease suggest dementia with Parkinsonian features, a somewhat different condition.
Cognitive symptoms in Parkinson’s disease include the following:
- Loss of decision-making ability
- Loss of short- and long-term memory
- Difficulty putting a sequence of events in correct order
- Problems using complex language and comprehending others’ complex language
Persons with Parkinson’s disease, with or without dementia, may often respond slowly to questions and requests. They may become dependent, fearful, indecisive, and passive. As the disease progresses, many people with Parkinson’s disease may become increasingly dependent on spouses or caregivers.
Major mental disorders are common in Parkinson’s disease. Two or more of these may appear together in the same person.
The combination of depression, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease usually means a faster cognitive decline and more severe disability. Hallucinations, delusions, agitation, and manic states can occur as adverse effects of drug treatment of Parkinson’s disease, this might complicate the diagnosis of Parkinson’s dementia.
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Cognitive Problems And Parkinsons
Many people with Parkinsons experience some mild memory loss and thinking problems. Symptoms vary widely and may fluctuate through the day. Research has shown that cognitive problems tend to be more severe in people with Parkinsons with more pronounced bradykinesia and rigidity, and less severe in those with more pronounced tremor.
If you are experiencing changes in your thinking and mental abilities, its natural to be concerned. You may worry you could go on to develop dementia however, this happens to comparatively few people. One study found that after ten years with Parkinsons, 80% of people with the condition experienced some cognitive difficulties, but less than 20% had developed dementia – known as Parkinsons disease dementia . The symptoms of PDD are very different from those of Alzheimers disease.
Some Parkinsons symptoms can make speech and facial communication difficult, and slowed thinking will often make things even harder. As the ability to remember words is affected, your vocabulary can become limited and humour may be less understood. It can also get harder to follow conversations, and this can result in you not making sense, or forgetting what you have said and repeating things.
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.
What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinson Disease
Parkinson disease symptoms usually start out mild, and then progressively get much worse. The first signs are often so subtle that many people don’t seek medical attention at first. These are common symptoms of Parkinson disease:
- Tremors that affect the face and jaw, legs, arms, and hands
- Slow, stiff walking
Living With Parkinsons Disease
Depending on severity, life can look very different for a person coping with Parkinsons Disease. As a loved one, your top priority will be their comfort, peace of mind and safety. Dr. Shprecher offered some advice, regardless of the diseases progression. Besides movement issues Parkinsons Disease can cause a wide variety of symptoms including drooling, constipation, low blood pressure when standing up, voice problems, depression, anxiety, sleep problems, hallucinations and dementia. Therefore, regular visits with a neurologist experienced with Parkinsons are important to make sure the diagnosis is on target, and the symptoms are monitored and addressed. Because changes in your other medications can affect your Parkinsons symptoms, you should remind each member of your healthcare team to send a copy of your clinic note after every appointment.
Dr. Shprecher also added that maintaining a healthy diet and getting regular exercise can help improve quality of life. Physical and speech therapists are welcome additions to any caregiving team.
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What Causes Parkinsons Disease Dementia
A chemical messenger in the brain called dopamine helps control and coordinate muscle movement. Over time, Parkinsons disease destroys the nerve cells that make dopamine.
Without this chemical messenger, the nerve cells cant properly relay instructions to the body. This causes a loss of muscle function and coordination. Researchers dont know why these brain cells disappear.
Parkinsons disease also causes dramatic changes in a part of your brain that controls movement.
Those with Parkinsons disease often experience motor symptoms as a preliminary sign of the condition. Tremors are one of the most common first symptoms of Parkinsons disease.
As the disease progresses and spreads in your brain, it can affect the parts of your brain responsible for mental functions, memory, and judgment.
Over time, your brain may not be able to use these areas as efficiently as it once did. As a result, you may begin experiencing symptoms of Parkinsons disease dementia.
You have an increased risk of developing Parkinsons disease dementia if:
- youre a person with a penis
- youre older
Does Parkinsons Disease Cause Memory Loss
My mother was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is becoming more and more forgetful. Is this a symptom of the disease?
Dr. Janis Miyasaki responds:
As many as 70 percent of Parkinson’s patients will ultimately end up developing dementiausually in the later stages of the disease.
Even in the early stages of the disease, tests show some patients starting to have subtle changes in thinking. These patients may not be able to access information as efficiently as they once did. They can have trouble doing two things at once.
One problem is that the medications we give Parkinson’s patients to help with motor problems can lead to worsening memory, confusion, hallucinations and delusions.
The good news is that the drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s seem to be more effective in patients with Parkinson’s . But these medications also can worsen a patient’s motor symptoms. Some notice they are slower and stiffer when taking these drugs. Some have increased .
So, there’s a trade-off. If a patient is reporting problems with memory and thinking and is having some hallucinations, I will try reducing the dosage of some of the less effective Parkinson’s drugs. And I will try them on the lowest doses of an Alzheimer’s medication.
The memory problems you mention are a sign that you’ll need to become more involved in your mother’s care and life. And you probably should be attending her doctor’s visits.
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Symptoms And Signs Of Parkinsons Disease
Its difficult to directly diagnose Parkinsons disease. There is no specific test doctors can perform to confirm a diagnosis, which is why its important for research to continue to identify the ever-evolving definition of Parkinsons. In addition to pinpointing many of these symptoms, doctors will also delve through family history and perform an overall examination of the brain to officially diagnose someone.
The rate at which these symptoms onset varies per person, and theres no specific amount of time youre guaranteed to lived once diagnosed. It can develop quickly or you can live 30 years before the worst of the disease starts to show. While Parkinson himself identified six main qualities of the disease when he first detailed it, the symptoms of Parkinsons have developed over time. They include, but arent completely limited to, the following:
Parkinson Disease & Mimics
Parkinson disease is a complex progressive neurological disease involving the loss of neurons in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra. This results in a reduction in the amount of dopamine, a chemical messenger or neurotransmitter. When this important chemical in the brain is depleted, the symptoms of Parkinsons disease develop.
There are two types of symptoms: motor and non-motor . Common motor symptoms include: essential tremor, slowness of movement, stiffness and impairment of balance later.
Non-motor symptoms vary from person-to-person and more so than the motor symptoms. They can include, low-blood pressure, constipation, speech difficulties , depression, Fatigue, Sleep problems, osteoporosis etc
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How Is Parkinsons Disease Dementia Diagnosed
No single test can diagnose Parkinsons disease dementia. Instead, doctors rely on a series or combination of tests and indicators.
Your neurologist will likely diagnose you with Parkinsons and then track your progression. They may monitor you for signs of dementia. As you get older, your risk for Parkinsons dementia increases.
Your doctor is more likely to conduct regular testing to monitor your cognitive functions, memory recall, and mental health.
Dementia Caused By Huntingtons Disease
Huntingtons disease is an inherited degenerative brain disease that affects the mind and body. It usually appears between the ages of 30 and 50, and is characterised by intellectual decline and irregular involuntary movement of the limbs or facial muscles. Other symptoms include personality change, memory disturbance, slurred speech, impaired judgement and psychiatric problems.There is no treatment available to stop the progression of this disease, but medication can control movement disorders and psychiatric symptoms. Dementia occurs in the majority of people with Huntingtons disease.
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What Is Parkinson’s Disease Dementia
Parkinson’s disease is an age-related degenerative disorder of certain brain cells. It mainly affects movements of the body, but other problems, including dementia, may occur. It is not considered a hereditary disease, although a genetic link has been identified in a small number of families.
- The most common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are tremor of the hands, arms, jaw, and face rigidity of the trunk and limbs slowness of movement and loss of balance and coordination.
- Other symptoms include shuffling, speaking difficulties, , facial masking , swallowing problems, and stooped posture.
- The symptoms worsen gradually over years.
Depression, anxiety, personality and behavior changes, sleep disturbances, and sexual problems are commonly associated with Parkinson’s disease. In many cases, Parkinson’s disease does not affect a person’s ability to think, reason, learn, or remember .
About 500,000 people in the United States have Parkinson’s disease, and about 50,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. The number of those who have some cognitive symptoms is difficult to pinpoint because accurate data are lacking for the following reasons:
Most people have the first symptoms of Parkinson’s disease after the age of 60 years, but Parkinson’s disease also affects younger people. Early-onset Parkinson’s disease strikes people around the age of 40 years, or even earlier.
Frontotemporal Dementia With Parkinsonism
One form of familial FTD, also known as frontotemporal dementia with Parkinsonism-17 , is caused by genetic changes in the gene for tau protein, located on chromosome 17. No other risk factors for this condition are known.
FTDP-17 is rare and accounts for only three per cent of all cases of dementia. Symptoms progressively get worse over time and usually appear between the ages of 40 and 60. The condition affects both thinking and behavioural skills and movements such as rigidity, lack of facial expression and problems with balance .
It can be distressing to be told that you have a genetic disorder or are at risk of having one. Genetic counselling provides the person and their family with information about a genetic disorder and its likely impact on their lives. This can assist a person with FTDP-17 to make informed medical and personal decisions about how to manage their condition and the challenges it presents to their health and wellbeing. Prenatal genetic counselling is also available for parents to help them decide about a pregnancy that may be at risk of FTDP-17.
What Causes Parkinson Disease
Parkinson disease arises from decreased dopamine production in the brain. The absence of dopamine makes it hard for the brain to coordinate muscle movements. Low dopamine also contributes to mood and cognitive problems later in the course of the disease. Experts don’t know what triggers the development of Parkinson disease most of the time. Early onset Parkinson disease is often inherited and is the result of certain gene defects.
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.
Stooping Or Hunching Over
Are you not standing up as straight as you used to? If you or your family or friends notice that you seem to be stooping, leaning or slouching when you stand, it could be a sign of Parkinson’s disease .
What is normal?If you have pain from an injury or if you are sick, it might cause you to stand crookedly. Also, a problem with your bones can make you hunch over.
Distinguishing Between Types Of Dementia
For physicians and families intent on pinning down a diagnosis, one major complicating factor is the existence of so many kinds of dementia. More than 50 conditions can mimic or cause dementia.
Alzheimers disease is by far the most common intractable condition. But other causes of irreversible dementia include blood vessel diseasevascular dementia), other degenerative disorders , slow-growing brain tumors, or infections of the central nervous system .
In some types of dementia, treatment will improve mental functioning, and in a small percentage, the dementia is completely reversible if treatment begins before permanent brain damage occurs. Thats why it is important to report to a doctor any signs of dementia as early as possible.
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