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Questions To Ask About Parkinson’s Disease

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Is There A Cure For Parkinson’s Disease

Ask the expert: Parkinson’s Disease research

Although research is ongoing, to date there is no known cure or way to prevent Parkinson’s disease. Still, research in Parkinson’s disease has made remarkable progress. There is very real hope that the causes, whether genetic or environmental, will be identified and the precise effects of these causes on brain function will be understood. These remarkable achievements give real hope for the future.

Even though there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, by identifying individual symptoms and determining a proper course of treatment, most people with the disease can live enjoyable, fulfilling lives.

What Medicine Can I Take For Parkinson’s Disease

Doctors have many good ways to treat Parkinson’s. However, no drug will cure it. Treatment also won’t change the course of the disease. Because of this, there is no rush to start treatment quickly. If your symptoms are manageable, you can wait.

The first question to ask your doctor about treatment is this: When should it start?

Then, you also need to ask about medication options. The drug used most often to treat Parkinson’s is levodopa. It converts to dopamine in the brain. Doctors usually prescribe carbidopa along with it. Carbidopa makes levodopa work better. You can take these drugs together as one drug.

When talking with your doctor about medication, be sure to ask about these things:

  • Will the drug help all my symptoms? Often a drug helps some symptoms more than others. For instance, bradykinesia and rigidity respond very well to levodopa. Tremor does not respond as well. You need to work with your doctor to find the drug that works best for your symptoms.
  • Will I need to take more of the drug over time? That can happen. For instance, levodopa may become less effective as time goes on. Then, you would need to take a bigger dose.
  • What about side effects? If dosage goes up, side effects often increase, too. Ask what side effects each drug has. At higher doses, levodopa can cause dyskinesia. That’s uncontrolled and sudden movements.

What Tests Will Be Done To Diagnose This Condition

When healthcare providers suspect Parkinsons disease or need to rule out other conditions, various imaging and diagnostic tests are possible. These include:

New lab tests are possible

Researchers have found possible ways to test for possible indicators or Parkinsons disease. Both of these new tests involve the alpha-synuclein protein but test for it in new, unusual ways. While these tests cant tell you what conditions you have because of misfolded alpha-synuclein proteins, that information can still help your provider make a diagnosis.

The two tests use the following methods.

  • Spinal tap. One of these tests looks for misfolded alpha-synuclein proteins in cerebrospinal fluid, which is the fluid that surrounds your brain and spinal cord. This test involves a spinal tap , where a healthcare provider inserts a needle into your spinal canal to collect some cerebrospinal fluid for testing.
  • Skin biopsy. Another possible test involves a biopsy of surface nerve tissue. A biopsy includes collecting a small sample of your skin, including the nerves in the skin. The samples come from a spot on your back and two spots on your leg. Analyzing the samples can help determine if your alpha-synuclein has a certain kind of malfunction that could increase the risk of developing Parkinsons disease.

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Primary Questions To Ask Your Loved One’s Doctor

  • What treatment options are available? Are there new treatments expected? The first thing a caregiver and a senior’s doctor should discuss is the different ways of treating Parkinson’s disease. There are several medicinal paths that can be taken after an initial diagnosis and Walsh feels that it is vital for the family and the patient to be aware of the pros and cons of each option. You may also want to inquire about medications and even new surgical options expected to become available in the near future. Walsh says that the near future will likely bring several new therapies for the disease. Perform your own research and be ready and willing to ask questions about the medications, symptoms, side effects, and alternatives. Keeping an open line of communication with your health care provider is a key component in treatment.
  • How can I help my loved one improve their sleep and diet? The right diet paired with the optimal amount of sleep can make a huge difference in the life of a person with this disease. Walsh notes that these two variables are often more impactful to a person’s quality of life than the symptoms brought on by their disease. He says that a doctor might not think to ask about a patient’s sleeping and eating habits, so it is important to raise the topic on their own.
  • Parkinsons Is A Progressive Disease Whats Meant By That

    Questions To Ask About Parkinson

    Parkinsons is not like a flu or fever that you take antibiotics and recover in 2-3 days. It is a progressive disease that means it develops and becomes worse over time.

    At first, some abnormal changes appear in the brain that begins to damage parts of the brain responsible for movements. These changes are gradual and the effect is limited to the brain only.

    After 15-20 years, the damage reaches the level where it begins to affect body normal movements. This is the early stage where typical symptoms of the disease start to develop. These early symptoms are mild and appear either on one or both sides of the body. At this stage, the disease can easily be diagnosed clinically.

    After 10 years of diagnosis, the brains ability of performing movement functions is severely affected. The symptoms become severe and begins to affect the patients daily life activities. This is called the mid-stage of the disease.

    When the disease has passed 20 years, it reaches its advanced stage. At this stage, the symptoms become very severe and most often the patient needs assistance for mobility.

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    Q How Do You Know That I Have Parkinsons Disease Do I Need To Get Any More Testing

    A. Many people who receive a diagnosis of PD are surprised that the doctor made the diagnosis with seemingly very little objective testing. Some of the motor features of PD are unique to PD and easily observed by a neurologist who are trained in these assessments. Neurologists are therefore able diagnose many people in a very straightforward manner and further testing is not necessary.

    However, not everyones diagnosis is as simple as that, and for those people, there are more objective tests that are available. DaTSCAN, as well as a test of cerebrospinal fluid and a skin biopsy test can give doctors more information about diagnosis.

    Understand That Pd Affects Different People Differently

    There are common symptoms of PD such as tremor but that doesnt mean that everyone with Parkinsons experiences them. Though tremor is common in women, at least 10 percent of our patients dont have it, Subramanian says.

    Research suggests that women are more likely to experience mental health symptoms related to PD, such as depression, anxiety, and disrupted sleep years before they develop subtle motor symptoms, she adds. Motor symptoms are those that affect physical movement.

    Other important symptoms for women to know about include bladder and pelvic floor issues, constipation, and sexual dysfunction.

    Learn about all PD symptoms and, if you notice anything new or different, tell your care team.

    Read Also: Cure Parkinson’s With Diet

    Questions Youve Always Wanted To Ask About Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery

    Deep brain stimulation is a surgical therapy used to treat certain aspects of Parkinsons disease . Mel Mitchell, age 74, was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease in 2013. Mel underwent DBS surgery in 2020 with the goal of improving his PD symptoms. We asked the most frequently asked questions for someone who has undergone this brain surgery.

    Why did you decide to undergo DBS surgery?

    I was diagnosed with Parkinsons nine years ago. I had been taking the medication Sinemet since my diagnosis, but Parkinsons medications only have so much impact when it comes to improving motor symptoms. About two and a half years ago, it seemed that DBS would be the next logical step in my Parkinsons journey. When I spoke with my neurologist and a neurosurgeon, they agreed I would be the perfect candidate for DBS.

    Did you have any fears going into surgery?

    My biggest fear was that the surgery wouldnt work. There is a lot of preparation that goes along with getting ready for DBS surgery, so I didnt want it to be for nothing. I also have a blood clotting disease which creates a bigger chance of blood clots, so I need to manage that whenever I go into surgery.

    One thing that helped ease my fears was meeting with a representative from the company I used for my DBS instrument. She talked to me and my wife about DBS and she attended my surgery and my fine tune sessions. She was extremely helpful in sharing real life examples and answering our questions.

    What was it like getting brain surgery?

    What Is Guided Imagery

    Commonly Asked Questions in the Parkinsons Disease Clinic

    Guided imagery is a proven form of focused relaxation that helps create harmony between the mind and body. Guided imagery coaches you in creating calm, peaceful images in your mind a mental escape.

    This technique, which can aid any treatment or procedure, provides a powerful psychological strategy that enhances a persons coping skills. Many people dealing with stress feel loss of control, fear, panic, anxiety, helplessness, and uncertainty. Research has shown that guided imagery can dramatically counteract these effects. It can help people overcome stress, anger, pain, depression, insomnia, and other problems often associated with illnesses and medical/surgical procedures. It is clear that stress and depression can worsen the symptoms of Parkinsons disease. By using guided imagery, you can stay calm.

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    Parkinsons Disease Quiz Questions

    • What was Parkinsons Disease originally refered to?
  • John Parkinson discovered Parkinsons Disease
  • Dopamine affects the part of the brain associated with and
  • The average age of onset of Parkinsons is about
  • Parkinsons disease appears to be slightly more common in
  • Is as Resting Tremor a symptom of Parkinsons Disease?
  • What Chromosome is affiliated with Parkinsons Disease
  • How many stages of Parkinsons Disease are there?
  • What is the name of the workout video for Parkinsons offered on the website?
    • Sample QuestionThe dopamine-producing region of the brain which dies in Parkinsons disease is called theAmygdala
    • Sample QuestionYou are having lunch with a friend in your office cafeteria. It is seemingly quiet, and the only other sound is the soft humming of the refrigerator. Your friend sits across from you and places her container on the table. You take a quick peek which of the following foods listed would alarm you the most?Stacys Pita Chips

    Also Check: How To Treat Parkinsons

    Myth : Parkinsons Medications Cause Symptoms

    Fact: Even though the myth that Parkinsons disease medicines are toxic and make the condition progress faster was completely debunked, it persists. Levodopa is the main drug therapy for Parkinsons disease. Its a potent drug that helps patients with motor symptoms. But many people got the idea that over time, it makes the disease progress faster. The myth was that levodopa is somehow toxic and is somehow making the Parkinsons progression faster, hurting patients.

    This misconception was debunked decades ago with a large clinical trial, where it was found that people exposed to levodopa versus a placebo werent worse. In fact, they were better at the end of the study.

    Its true that levodopa isnt a cure as yet, there is no cure for Parkinsons disease but its not toxic.

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    What Is Parkinsons Disease

    Parkinsons disease is a chronic neurological condition. It is progressive and symptoms worsen over time. It is named after Dr James Parkinson who first described the condition in 1817.

    People with Parkinsons disease experience a loss of nerve cells in the part of their brains responsible for controlling voluntary movements. This part of the brain is called the substantia nigra . The nerve cells in the substantia nigra usually produce a chemical called dopamine which helps transmit messages from the brain to the rest of the body via the central nervous system . As these cells are lost, people with Parkinsons disease experience a loss of dopamine and the messages controlling movement stop being transmitted efficiently.

    Parkinsons disease is more common as people get older but it can affect younger adults. Men tend to be affected in slightly higher numbers than women.

    How Can I Better Cope With Having Parkinson’s Disease

    Questions To Ask About Parkinson

    The most important step you can take is to seek help as soon as you feel less able to cope with Parkinson’s disease. Taking action early will enable you to understand and deal with the many effects of your condition. A mental health care provider can design a treatment plan to meet your specific needs. Strategies can be designed to help you regain a sense of control over your life and improve your quality of life.

    Other steps you can take include the following.

    • Find out as much as you can about the illness.
    • Talk to your friends and family about it. Don’t isolate them. They will want to be involved in helping you.
    • Do things you enjoy.
    • Do not be afraid to ask your doctor, nurse, or other health care provider to repeat any instructions or medical terms that you don’t understand or remember. They should always be available to answer your questions and address your concerns.
    • Make use of resources and support services offered by your hospital and in your community.
    • Learn to manage stress. This will help you to maintain a positive physical, emotional, and spiritual outlook on life. Being stressed out will only make the situation worse. You should try to organize a daily routine that will reduce stress, with down time for both you and your family members.
    • If you are depressed — and this is more than just feeling sad occasionally — antidepressants can be prescribed to help lift your mood.

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    How Long Can My Parent Expect To Enjoy An Independent Lifestyle

    This is a common question among families, and the answer can vary from person to person. With the right medication and treatment, some seniors with Parkinsons can expect to enjoy living independently for approximately 10 to 15 years. However, having an understanding of the general timeline and progression of the disease will allow you to plan for your parents future care needs, such as making his or her home safe and hiring in-home care.

    Many seniors in the early stages of Parkinsons are able to live on their own, but they may need a bit of help with everyday activities, such as exercising and preparing nutritious meals. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable elder care.Families trust Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.

    Parkinsons Disease Research Education And Clinical Centers

    Q. What is Parkinsons Disease ?

    A. Parkinsons disease is a progressive neurological disorder or disorder of the brain. It was first described by Dr. James Parkinson in 1817 in a paper titled Essay on the Shaking Palsy. The average age of onset for Parkinsons disease is 60 years old however, it can be seen in people much younger. It affects men slightly more than women and Caucasians more than people of color. As many as 1.5 million Americans are currently affected by PD. The cause of PD is still not clearly understood. There are many theories amongst scientists including genetic, environmental and viral factors.

    Q. What are the symptoms of Parkinsons disease?

    A. The most common symptoms of Parkinsons disease include tremor at rest, rigidity , bradykinesia and postural instability . Generally, at least two of these four symptoms must be present for a diagnosis of PD to be made. Parkinsons disease is not limited to these four symptoms. Individuals with PD may also experience difficulty walking , reduced facial expressions, small handwriting, soft and muffled speech, constipation, sleep disturbances, depression, anxiety, memory problems, difficulty swallowing, and reduced armswing.

    Q. How is Parkinsons disease diagnosed?

    Q. How is Parkinsons Disease treated?

    A. At this time, there is no known cure for Parkinsons disease. Medications are the most useful form of treatment. PD medications include:

    -Carbidopa/Levodopa

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    What Is The Difference Between Tremors And Parkinsons Disease

    The most common cause of tremor is a condition called essential tremor. Both essential tremor and Parkinsons disease are movement disorders. A movement disorder can be defined as any disease or injury that interferes with an individuals movement.

    ET and PD are different conditions but are sometimes associated because they share many features.

    Essential tremor is a disease of the bodys system of nerves characterized by tremors. Areas affected most often include the hands, arms, head, and sometimes the voice. Essential tremor does not affect life expectancy, but it can become disabling for many common activities, such as writing and eating. ET also does not increase the risk for Parkinsons disease.

    Symptoms of essential tremor include:

    • Involuntary tremors that occur for brief periods of time
    • A shaking voice
    • Tremors are the only symptom
    • Difficulty with balance

    Parkinsons disease is a chronic, progressive brain and nerve disease that affects a small area of nerve cells in an area of the brain known as the substantia nigra. These cells normally produce dopamine, a chemical that transmits signals between areas in the brain. These signals, when working normally, coordinate smooth and balanced muscle movement. Parkinsons disease however, causes the neurons in the substantia nigra to die, leading to a lack of dopamine in the brain. The loss of dopamine leads to a loss of the ability to control body movements normally.

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