Other Things To Know About Parkinsons Disease
In general, there are five stages of Parkinsons disease. People with PD will go from experiencing very mild symptoms mild tremors and difficulty moving to eventually requiring round-the-clock assistance. Later stage PD causes extreme rigidness throughout the body, making it impossible to stand or walk straight.
Theres also something called Parkinsons Disease Dementia. Its a type of dementia that can occur in people whove had PD for at least one year and affects the brains cognitive functions. People can experience delusions and hallucinations and require professional care from a health provider specializing in treatment for dementia in Toronto and other metropolitan areas.
If any of the above warning signs resonate with you, be it for yourself or someone you love, talk to a doctor. They will help you plan your next steps, discuss professional care options, and give you some peace of mind.
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Parkinsons Disease Is Recognized By Muscle Symptoms
Parkinsons is a neurodegenerative disease that occurs when certain nerves in the brain deteriorate. The nerves that die produce a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which controls muscle movement.
As the disease progresses and more nerves are damaged, declining levels of dopamine gradually lead to the muscle problems that are the hallmark of Parkinsons: tremors, muscle stiffness, and slow movement.
The tremors or shaking often begin on one side of your body in your fingers or hand. The uncontrollable shaking most often appears while your arm or hand are at rest. You may also notice facial tremors in your chin.
Stiffness when you walk is another one of the earliest motor signs of Parkinsons. You may notice stiffness that doesnt get better as you move. Shuffling your feet and not swinging your arms like you normally would while walking are also two red flags of Parkinsons.
These motor symptoms define Parkinsons, but by the time they appear, 60-80% of the dopamine-producing neurons have degenerated. The earliest signs of Parkinsons occur many years before tremors appear.
Exercise And Parkinsons Disease
Research conducted by the Parkinsons Foundation reveals that exercising at least 2.5 hours per week improves symptoms and slows disease progression. The group also found that the earlier patients began exercising, the more pronounced the benefits were.
To help with balance and mobility, the Foundation recommends aerobics, strength-training, and flexibility exercises. Popular options include:
- Weight lifting
The real secret to the best exercise program, though, is doing what you enjoy. For some ideas, please see our previous articles on strength-building exercise and how to begin an exercise program. And remember, never begin a new exercise regimen without talking to your doctor.
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Diagnosis And Management Of Parkinsons Disease
There are no diagnostic tests for Parkinsons. X-rays, scans and blood tests may be used to rule out other conditions. For this reason, getting a diagnosis of Parkinsons may take some time.
No two people with Parkinsons disease will have exactly the same symptoms or treatment. Your doctor or neurologist can help you decide which treatments to use.
People can manage their Parkinsons disease symptoms through:
- seeing a Doctor who specialises in Parkinsons
- multidisciplinary therapy provided for example, by nurses, allied health professionals and counsellors
- deep brain stimulation surgery .
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.
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The Early Warning Signs Of Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease is an illness that affects the nervous system and movement. About 10 million people worldwide have the disease, and symptoms typically begin around the age of 60. Early PD warning signs and symptoms can be tough to spot because they start slowly and gradually.
However, if you or someone you love exhibits one or more of the following signs, consider making an appointment with a specialist or doctor.
Changes To Your Walking
- Smaller steps
- Not swinging your arms while walking
- Multiple steps required to turn around when walking, possibly tripping up the feet
- One foot turning inward or outward a bit, causing tripping
- One arm could also be bent inward
The turning of the arm or foot, called dystonia, is often one of the first signs we see, so were always on the lookout for it, Dr. Joseph says.
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Do What You Can While You Can
I have had Parkinsons disease for nearly 20 years. My wife is a teacher, so we travel every summer when she is not working. Since my diagnosis, I have been to China, Nepal, Prague, Paris and many other places. The Parkinsons comes along, too, so our trips require more planning than they used to and we involve my care team. We factor in daily naps and take it slow. My balance isnt as good as it used to be and too much walking wears me out so we bring a collapsible wheelchair along or make sure one is available. I also use a cane. I dont know how many more places we will get to visit as my disease continues to progress, but we have made some wonderful memories that we wouldnt have if we had let my Parkinsons dictate every aspect of our lives. Nicholas, diagnosed at 52, still traveling at 72
Many people with Parkinsons disease are not allowing the condition to take over their lives. Despite the everyday setbacks they face, they are still creating fulfilling lives for themselves by redirecting their attention to people and activities that bring them joy. You can do the same. Try building a few hobbies into your routine that will give you a break from dwelling on the disease. Find some activities that help you forget about Parkinsons for a while. That may be painting, writing, gardening, or reading to your grandchildren.
The First Motor Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
When people ask what are the early signs and symptoms of PD? the answer they are typically expecting is one that involves motor symptoms. Early motor symptoms of PD can be a subtle rest tremor of one of the arms or hands . A rest tremor is one that occurs when the limb is completely at rest. If the tremor occurs when the limb is suspended against gravity or actively moving, this may still be a sign of PD, but may also be a sign of essential tremor.
The initial motor symptom of PD may be a sense of stiffness in one limb, sometimes interpreted as an orthopedic problem . This sense of stiffness may be noted when a person is trying to get on his/her coat for example. A person may also experience a sense of slowness of one hand or a subtle decrease in dexterity of one hand. For example, it may be hard to manipulate a credit card out of a wallet or perform a fast, repetitive motor task such as whisking an egg. A person may notice that one arm does not swing when he/she walks or that one arm is noticeably less active than the other when performing tasks. Another motor sign may be a stoop with walking or a slowing down of walking. A family member may notice that the person blinks infrequently or has less expression in his/her face and voice.
These motor symptoms may be very subtle. Bottom line if you are concerned that you may have an early motor or non-motor symptom of Parkinsons disease, make an appointment with a neurologist for a neurologic exam to discuss your concerns.
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The Most Important Thing
The diagnosis of Parkinsons disease is often delayed.
Unfortunately, people often neglect the early symptoms. It is not unusual for 5 years to go by before the patient is finally diagnosed with Parkinsons disease.
In addition to symptoms, a doctors examination may uncover additional early signs of Parkinsons disease.
Do not neglect these symptoms. Talk to your doctor early.
|Caution: This information is not a substitute for professional care. Do not change your medications/treatment without your doctor’s permission.|
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.
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Tips For Better Sleep
- Keep a regular sleep schedule go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time.
- Choose your bedtime based on when you want to get up. Plan to spend seven to eight hours a night in bed.
- Make a bedtime routine for example, snack, bath, tooth-brushing, toileting and follow it every evening.
- Spend time outdoors and exercise every day, in the morning if possible. Avoid exercise after 8:00 p.m.
- If you cant get outdoors, consider light therapy sitting or working near a light therapy box, available at drug stores and department stores.
- If you nap, try to do so at the same time every day, for no more than an hour, and not after 3:00 p.m.
- Sleep in a cool dark place and use the bed only for sleeping and sexual activity.
- Do not read or watch television in bed.
- Use satin sheets and pajamas to make moving in bed easier.
- Minimize drinking liquids for three hours before bedtime to avoid frequent nighttime urination.
- Go to the bathroom immediately before retiring.
- Place a commode next to the bed, to minimize the effort, and light to get up during the night.
- Alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants such as nicotine
- Heavy late-night meals
- Heavy exercise within six hours of bedtime
- Thoughts or discussions before bedtime about topics that cause anxiety, anger or frustration
- Clock watching
- Screen time television, phones, tablets one or two hours before bed.
Support For People With Parkinsons Disease
Early access to a multidisciplinary support team is important. These teams may include doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, dietitians, social workers and specialist nurses. Members of the team assess the person with Parkinsons disease and identify potential difficulties and possible solutions.There are a limited number of multidisciplinary teams in Victoria that specialise in Parkinsons disease management. But generalist teams are becoming more aware of how to help people with Parkinsons disease.
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Early Signs Of Parkinsons
The nerve damage that leads to Parkinsons disease occurs as a protein called alpha-synuclein builds up around the nerves. These same protein clumps develop in other areas of your brain before they reach the area that causes the primary Parkinsons symptoms. As a result, you can develop early signs such as:
How Is Constipation An Early Warning Sign Of Parkinson’s It’s Such A Common Problem
A: It’s not as specific as other prodromal symptoms, like anosmia. The rate at which people with chronic and unexplained problems with constipation develop Parkinson’s disease is not as easy to pin down. But if someone has unexplained, persistent constipation, it should at least be noted, as it could be considered prodromal.
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Early Symptoms Of Parkinsons
By Gleria Anderson 9 am on April 5, 2018
Parkinsons disease is difficult to diagnose because symptoms may also be present in other medical conditions. However, the symptoms produced by Parkinsons disease are easier to control when it is diagnosed in the early stages. Certain signs appear when the disease process initially develops. Recognizing the changes can help seniors get the medical attention they need. Here are a few early warning signs of Parkinsons disease.
What Are The Different Stages Of Parkinsons Disease
Each person with Parkinsons disease experiences symptoms in in their own unique way. Not everyone experiences all symptoms of Parkinsons disease. You may not experience symptoms in the same order as others. Some people may have mild symptoms others may have intense symptoms. How quickly symptoms worsen also varies from individual to individual and is difficult to impossible to predict at the outset.
In general, the disease progresses from early stage to mid-stage to mid-late-stage to advanced stage. This is what typically occurs during each of these stages:
Early symptoms of Parkinsons disease are usually mild and typically occur slowly and do not interfere with daily activities. Sometimes early symptoms are not easy to detect or you may think early symptoms are simply normal signs of aging. You may have fatigue or a general sense of uneasiness. You may feel a slight tremor or have difficulty standing.
Often, a family member or friend notices some of the subtle signs before you do. They may notice things like body stiffness or lack of normal movement slow or small handwriting, lack of expression in your face, or difficulty getting out of a chair.
Standing and walking are becoming more difficult and may require assistance with a walker. You may need full time help to continue to live at home.
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Trouble With Automatic Movements
There are certain movements that your body performs automatically, with you needing to provide any conscious input, including blinking, swallowing, or swinging your arms when you walk. Parkinsons disease can contribute to a loss of these automatic movements which is why it is important to perform coordination exercises for Parkinsons patients.
These symptoms play an intrinsic role in diagnosing the disease. While there is no singular test for Parkinsons disease, you generally need to exhibit tremors, bradykinesia, and rigid muscles to be considered for a diagnosis.
Who Is Affected By Tremor
About 70% of people with Parkinsons experience a tremor at some point in the disease. Tremor appears to be slightly less common in younger people with PD, though it is still one of the most troublesome symptoms. People with resting tremor usually have a more slowly progressing course of illness than people without tremor.
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Early Detection Is Important
Some people never share with their doctor a subtle symptom, such as a periodic involuntary jerk of a finger, because it doesnt cross their minds as something worrisome.But Dr. Joseph advises not to wait until symptoms progress to get checked out. That finger jerk could progress into a full-blown tremor.Dr. Joseph, who was inspired to treat patients with Parkinsons when she saw a deep brain stimulation procedure stop a patients tremor in medical school, wants you to know that its normal to feel scared about having symptoms evaluated for a possible Parkinsons diagnosis.But she encourages you to be brave and get an exam for this important reason: People who start Parkinsons treatment earlier have less disability and longer lifespans!
Know The Early Signs Which Occur Long Before Tremors
Parkinsons disease is well-known for causing tremors and other muscle-related problems. Whats not commonly known, however, is that muscle symptoms arent always the first signs of Parkinsons disease.
It takes an experienced neurologist like William Shankle, MD at Shankle Clinic to determine if your early signs may signal the onset of Parkinsons. The only way to know if you should come to see us for a neurological assessment is by learning the signs that occur long before tremors.
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Rem Sleep Behavioral Disorder
Rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep is a normal part of the sleep cycle when people dream. Usually the only part of the body that moves during REM is the eyes, thus the name.
- People with rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder do not have the normal relaxation of the muscles during their dreams. Therefore, they act out their dreams during REM sleep.
- People with RBD may shout, kick their bed partner or grind their teeth. Sometimes, in moderate to severe RBD, people may have aggressive, violent behaviors, like getting out of bed and attacking their bed partner.
- About half of people with PD suffer from RBD. It may develop after or along with the disease, but in most cases, it precedes the PD diagnosis by five to 10 years.
- Consider making environmental adjustments to protect the person with RBD and bed partner from injury. This may include padding the floor, using bed rails or sleeping in separate rooms.
- Clonazepam has been shown in large case series to improve RBD in 80 to 90 percent of cases. The dose of clonazepam required is low, usually from 0.5 mg to 1.0 mg. The adverse effects of clonazepam include nocturnal confusion, daytime sedation, and exacerbation of obstructive sleep apnea, if present. It is in generic form and not expensive.
- Talk to your doctor about the over-the-counter sleep aid Melatonin. Doses up to 12 mg at night one hour before can improve RBD.