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Signs Of Young Onset Parkinson’s

Unique Characteristics Of Young

Ask the MD: Do Young-Onset Parkinson’s disease patients experience the same symptoms?

Although Parkinson’s is similar among people of all ages, those with young-onset PD generally have slower disease progression. They also tend to experience more side effects from dopaminergic medications and are more likely to have dyskinesias in response to the drug levodopa. Dyskinesias are abnormal, involuntary movements. They appear like a dance with wiggling movements of arms, legs, body or face.

Other problems associated with PD, such as memory loss, confusion, and problems with balance tend to occur less often in people with young-onset Parkinson’s. However, as with PD in older patients, the disease severity and symptoms vary from person to person.1,2

Where To Get More Information

  • If you’re experiencing any symptoms and are concerned, see your GP.
  • To learn more about Parkinson’s disease and to find support, visit Parkinson’s Australia or call the Info Line on 1800 644 189.
  • The Shake It Up Australia Foundation partners with The Michael J. Fox Foundation to help raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s disease research.
  • The Garvan Institute of Medical Research is working hard to find ways to diagnose Parkinson’s earlier and repurpose existing drugs to slow its progress. Find out more here.
  • The Young Onset Parkinsons Exchange is an app and online resource for people living with young onset Parkinsons.

Whats Different About Young

The age of diagnosis matters for a variety of reasons, from probable causes of early cases to symptoms and treatment:

  • Genetics. As with any case of Parkinsons disease, the exact cause is usually unknown. That said, The young-onset cases of Parkinsons disease are, on average, a bit more likely to be familial or genetic, says Gregory Pontone, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Movement Disorders Psychiatry Clinic.
  • Symptoms. In many patients with YOPD, dystonia is an early symptom. People with YOPD also report more dyskinesia . They also tend to exhibit cognitive problems, such as dementia and memory issues, less frequently.
  • Progression. Patients with young-onset Parkinsons appear to have a slower progression of the disease over time, says Pontone. They tend to have a milder course, staying functional and cognitively intact for much longer.
  • Treatment. Most patients with Parkinsons take the medication levodopa. However, other drugs, such as MAO-B inhibitors, anticholinergics, amantadine, and dopamine receptor agonists, may be used before levodopa.

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Diagnosis In Young Onset Parkinsons

Many young onset patients experience delay in diagnosis given the uncommon age and often different symptoms as outlined below. Similar to late onset patients, the diagnosis is made based on history and clinical examination. There are still no proven diagnostic tests that can definitively diagnose PD. In some cases, other mimics of Parkinsons need to be evaluated for given their increased likelihood in younger patients. Given the complexities, it is important to seek evaluation by a neurologist and in many cases a movement disorder specialist.

In addition, young onset patients are more likely to have a genetic risk factor or cause to their symptoms, especially if there is a family history. Genetic testing can be considered, but should always be done after consulting a physician and in many cases a genetic counselor.

Discuss With Your Physician

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Non-motor symptoms can sometimes be difficult to recognize. Therefore, it is important to make your doctor aware of them.

One useful resource is the PD NMS Questionnaire. You can use this to record your symptoms and discuss them with your doctor.

Dr. Ron Postuma, whose research was funded by donations to the Parkinson Canada Research Program, has also developed tools to help people with Parkinsons and their physicians identify and manage non-motor symptoms.

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What Is The Outlook

Researchers are working to find a cure for Parkinsons, but therapies can ease the symptoms. Also, younger brains have higher neuroplasticity, which means they have more ability to respond to therapy. Young onset Parkinsons disease progresses slower than late onset, but it eventually impacts your ability to complete daily tasks like driving.

One study following 1,221 individuals with Parkinsons disease reveals that people with earlier onset had a longer median survival but a reduced life expectancy than people with the late onset version.

Closely following the treatment plan you and your doctor create can help you manage your symptoms.

Consider making the following lifestyle changes to help navigate your daily routine:

  • Arrange your home with your most-used items in easy-to-reach spots. This will require less energy and movement to complete tasks like cooking.
  • Create a financial backup plan in case you become unable to work. For example, look into your states disability programs.
  • Talk with your doctor about what assistive devices can help you with daily tasks, like getting dressed or walking.
  • Stay active with light exercise like walking or yoga.
  • Refer to the Parkinsons Foundation resources and support page or dial 1-800-437-4636 to discover local Parkinsons resources like exercise classes or support groups.

Causes Of Early Onset Parkinsons Disease

Its unclear exactly what causes Parkinsons at any age. Genetic factors, environmental factors, or some combination of the two may play a role. This condition occurs when cells are lost in the part of the brain that produces dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for sending brain signals that control movement.

Certain genes are associated with early onset Parkinsons.

According to the National Parkinson Foundation, studies show that 65 percent of people with Parkinsons who experience onset before age 20 may do so because of a genetic mutation. This organization also suggests this mutation affects 32 percent of people who experience onset between age 20 and 30.

Environmental causes of the condition may include exposure to chemical toxins such as certain insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes Parkinsons as a disease caused by exposure to Agent Orange. Agent Orange is a synthetic chemical herbicide that was used to spray vegetation and trees during the Vietnam War.

You may have a higher risk of developing Parkinsons if you:

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Make An Appointment With A Physical Therapist Or Occupational Therapist

  • One of the most common phrases we hear from people with Parkinsons is, I wish I had seen a physical therapist sooner. Doing your daily exercise program isnt enough. Physical therapists and occupational therapists create individualized exercises that meet your specific needs. The activities they recommend can improve your posture, gait, arm swing, and other movement challenges.
  • to find a Parkinsons PT in your area.
  • to learn why youll want to work with a Parkinsons OT.

How Do I Prevent Falls From Common Hazards

Ask the MD: Young-Onset Parkinson’s Disease
  • Floors: Remove all loose wires, cords, and throw rugs. Minimize clutter. Make sure rugs are anchored and smooth. Keep furniture in its usual place.
  • Bathroom: Install grab bars and non-skid tape in the tub or shower. Use non-skid bath mats on the floor or install wall-to-wall carpeting.
  • Lighting: Make sure halls, stairways, and entrances are well-lit. Install a night light in your bathroom or hallway and staircase. Turn lights on if you get up in the middle of the night. Make sure lamps or light switches are within reach of the bed if you have to get up during the night.
  • Kitchen: Install non-skid rubber mats near the sink and stove. Clean spills immediately.
  • Stairs: Make sure treads, rails, and rugs are secure. Install a rail on both sides of the stairs. If stairs are a threat, it might be helpful to arrange most of your activities on the lower level to reduce the number of times you must climb the stairs.
  • Entrances and doorways: Install metal handles on the walls adjacent to the doorknobs of all doors to make it more secure as you travel through the doorway.

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Why Is Distinguishing Young

Socially, people who are affected by PD at a younger age experience the disease differently they may be at a different stage of their career and often have less time to engage in their own care. They may also have children or are planning to have children and have questions regarding passing on PD genes.Medically, doctors tailor treatment when it is a younger person with PD. The younger you are, the more likely the disease is genetic. Your care team may offer genetic testing or counseling. Younger brains also have higher neuroplasticity potential which allows the brain to handle and respond to disease and therapy differently.

Is There A Cure For Parkinsons Disease

Although research is ongoing, to date there is no known cure or way to prevent Parkinsons disease. But, research 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.

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

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What Is Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsons disease is a nervous system disease that affects your ability to control movement. The disease usually starts out slowly and worsens over time. If you have Parkinsons disease, you may shake, have muscle stiffness, and have trouble walking and maintaining your balance and coordination. As the disease worsens, you may have trouble talking, sleeping, have mental and memory problems, experience behavioral changes and have other symptoms.

Treatment Of Young Onset Parkinsons Disease

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Young onset patients face unique circumstances regarding medical and surgical treatments of Parkinsons disease. In general, the same medications used to treat late onset Parkinsons patients are used for treatment of young onset patients. However, younger patients are at increased risk for certain side effects compared to elderly patients, most notably excess involuntary movements often of the limbs called dyskinesias with use of levodopa. Therefore, a personalized and individualized approach using other medications instead of, or in conjunction with levodopa is often used to mitigate side effects.

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Is Parkinsons Disease Fatal

Most doctors agree that Parkinsons disease is not fatal. In fact, the majority of Parkinsons patients live as long as others in their age group. According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research, people with Parkinsons die WITH the condition, not from it. This means that, as the disease progresses, your risk factor for fatal injuries increases, but Parkinsons itself does not cause death.

Signs Of Early Onset Parkinson’s Disease

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Early onset Parkinsons disease begins before the age of 50. Its a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the nervous system. It causes damage and the subsequent degeneration of the neurons located in the substantia nigra. The average age of Parkinsons onset is 60 and the incidence increases significantly with age. However, about 5 to 10 percent of those with Parkinsons disease have early onset Parkinsons beginning before the age of 50.

Mutations of specific genes such as the parkin gene may contribute to its onset. People with one or more close relatives with Parkinsons are at a higher risk of developing the disease.

Overall, the chances of developing the disease are only 2 to 5 percent unless theres a family history of the disease. Its estimated that between 15 and 25 percent of people with Parkinsons know they have a relative with the disease.

In very rare cases, the symptoms of Parkinsons may appear in people younger than 20. This is known as juvenile parkinsonism. It usually begins with the symptoms of dystonia and bradykinesia. The drug levodopa can often improve these symptoms.

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Once The Initial Shock Of My Diagnosis Wore Off I Took A Good Look At My Life And The Way I Wanted To Live It

In early 2018, I realized that my sons needed a strong mother, and I was not going to let them come home to a mom who had given up on herself. I had to start focusing on the one thing I could control: slowing the progression of my symptoms.

Along with medication, exercise is a huge part of that, so I started taking boxing classes designed for people living with Parkinsons disease to help improve my balance, agility, and hand-eye coordination. I usually attend class at least three times a week and jog on the beach. I also paint with my youngest son. We cherish this time together, even though much of the paint ends up on our clothes and not the canvas!

Finally, Ive let go of mom guilt. Living with Parkinsons disease, I cant take the kids to school, take a boxing class, pick up groceries for dinner, see the doctor, go back and pick up the kids, and then take my son to jiu jitsu classesId simply be too wiped out. So, I plan accordingly.

I realized that my sons needed a strong mother, and I was not going to let them come home to a mom who had given up on herself.

It also helps that I have a large support system: Ive found others living with Parkinsons disease, I attend support groups and see a therapist, and I work with the Parkinsons Foundation as a social media ambassador and blogger to help others like me. Few people know about young onset Parkinsons disease, which is why Im passionate about telling my story so that others know they arent alone in this battle.

Eat Healthy Meals Throughout The Day

Parkinsons Disease at 25 , Young onset Parkinsons Disease Symptoms. Episode 1,
  • Consuming a variety of foods from all five food groups provides consistent energy and keeps your immune system healthy. Focus on eating a minimum of five fruits and vegetables each day, eating a variety of high fiber foods, and staying hydrated, all of which help prevent constipation, which is often an issue for people diagnosed with YOPD.
  • Watch this to learn how to use nutrition to help you live well with Parkinsons.

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What Are The Five Stages Of Parkinsons Disease

Researchers may disagree on the number of stages of Parkinsons disease . However, they all agree the disease is a progressive disease with symptoms that usually occur in one stage and may overlap or occur in another stage. The stage increase in number value for all stage naming systems reflects the increasing severity of the disease. The five stages used by the Parkinsons Foundation are:

  • Stage 1: mild symptoms do not interfere with daily activities and occur on one side of the body.
  • Stage 2: Symptoms worsen with walking problems and both sides of the body are affected.
  • Stage 3: Main symptoms worsen with loss of balance and slowness of movement.
  • Stage 4: Severity of symptoms require help usually a person cannot live alone.
  • Stage 5:Caregiver needed for all activities a patient may not be able to stand or walk and maybe bedridden and may also experience hallucinations and delusions.

A neurologist who specializes in movement disorders will be able to make the most accurate diagnosis. An initial assessment is made based on medical history, a neurological exam, and the symptoms present. For the medical history, it is important to know whether other family members have Parkinsons disease, what types of medication have been or are being taken, and whether there was exposure to toxins or repeated head trauma previously. A neurological exam may include an evaluation of coordination, walking, and fine motor tasks involving the hands.

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Genetics In Yopd And Its Implications For Management

The genetic background of PD is gradually being revealed and consists of the spectrum from common variants that have small contributions to an increased vulnerability, to true monogenic forms . Some of the genes that previously received a PARK locus symbol are in fact unconfirmed, are risk alleles, or if mutated give rise to a more complex phenotype. A new nomenclature of genetic movement disorders, including PD, was recently proposed and has tried to deal with these complexities . Here, we focus on the confirmed genes that can be considered monogenic forms of PD. These mainly include the dominant genes SNCA, LRRK2, GBA, and VPS35, and the recessive genes Parkin, PINK1, DJ1. The common picture from the literature is that PD patients with a mutation in one of these genes present at an earlier age, particularly for the recessive genes and SNCA . So, vice versa, if a PD patient presents at a young age, the option of a genetic etiology is often considered. While next generation sequencing platforms have simplified screening the relevant genes, we have to critically address the question: what is the actual benefit of genetic testing in YOPD?

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Find A Movement Disorder Specialist

  • A movement disorder specialist is a neurologist who has pursued specialized training in movement disorders. Outcomes are much better in people who see a movement disorder specialist because their doctors can customize treatment and fine-tune multiple medications.
  • Click here to find a movement disorder specialist in your area.

Walking Or Gait Difficulties

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Bradykinesia and postural instability both contribute to walkingor gaitdifficulties in Parkinsons, particularly as the disease progresses. A common, early symptom of Parkinsons disease is a decrease in the natural swing of one or both arms when walking. Later, steps may become slow and small, and a shuffling gait may appear. Gait problems in Parkinsons disease can also include a tendency to propel forward with rapid, short steps . People with advanced Parkinsons disease may experience episodes of freezing, in which the feet appear to be glued to the floor.

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