How Parkinsons Disease Affects The Body
Life with Parkinsons is challenging, to say the least. This progressive disease starts slowly, and because theres currently no cure, it gradually worsens how you think and feel.
Giving up may seem like the only solution, but it certainly isnt. Thanks to advanced treatments, many people are able to continue living healthy, productive lives with Parkinsons.
Take a glance at this infographic to get a visual picture of how Parkinsons can affect everything from your memory to your movement.
Can Parkinsons Disease Be Prevented
Unfortunately, no. Parkinsons disease is long-term disease that worsens over time. Although there is no way to prevent or cure the disease , medications may significantly relieve your symptoms. In some patients especially those with later-stage disease, surgery to improve symptoms may be an option.
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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Summary Of The Parkinsons Protocol
The Parkinsonâs Protocol is a comprehensive program designed to slow down the disease, repair the impact it has had on your body thus far and prevent the symptoms from coming back. Itâs broken down into a four-part series that starts by providing you with an abundance of important information about this condition and the different treatment options available. Then, it teaches you simple steps to take to begin delaying Parkinsonâs and healing the brain within.
All of the steps are 100% natural and easy to do. They consist of things such as using natural ingredients to detox your brain and body, foods to boost your dopamine to reduce symptoms, putting together delicious recipes, completing simple exercises and more. The system also has several sections within the Appendix at the end, making it easy to access what you need quickly, such as recipes, exercises, evidence-based strategies, food lists, etc.
To give you an idea of what you can expect from the program as a whole, hereâs a sneak peek at the table of contents:
Related Diagnosis: Lewy Body Dementia
Current research is helping to differentiate dementia related conditions in relationship to Parkinsonâs disease. Doctorâs use a 12-month arbitrary rule to aid in diagnosis. When dementia is present before or within 1 year of Parkinsonâs motor symptoms developing, an individual is diagnosed with DLB. Those who have an existing diagnosis of Parkinsonâs for more than a year, and later develop dementia, are diagnosed with PDD.
In the simplest terms, Lewy bodies are abnormal clumps of proteins that develop in nerve cells. Cholinesterase inhibitors, medications originally developed for Alzheimerâs disease, are the standard treatment today for cognitive DLB and PDD symptoms. Early diagnosis is important, as DLB patients may respond differently than Alzheimerâs disease patients to certain drug, behavioral, and dementia care treatments.
This challenging, multi-system disorder involving movement, cognition, behavior, sleep, and autonomic function requires a comprehensive treatment approach to maximize the quality of life for both the care recipient and their caregiver. It is very important to pay attention to symptoms of dementia and to search for an expert clinician who can diagnose the condition accurately.
Managing Stress And Enhancing Spiritual And Emotional Wellbeing
Physical or emotional stress can make it hard for our body to cope with illness or disease, so it is not surprising that it can worsen Parkinsons symptoms, particularly;tremor. Living with Parkinsons can cause additional worry and frustration, so learning to manage stress and being able to relax is important for maintaining a good quality of life.
There is increasing recognition that good spiritual health enhances general wellbeing. Following a spiritual path can help give a sense of hope for the future; it may also help in adapting to life with Parkinsons. The most important thing is to try to stay positive and there are lots of things you can do to help with this. There are also many techniques and treatments available to support emotional wellbeing. Each person will respond to these in different ways so talk with your doctor if you think you need help and he or she will be able to advise.;
Caregiving For People Living With Parkinsons
Caring for a loved one with PD can be a challenging job, especially as the disease progresses. Former caregivers of a loved one with PD suggest doing the following : Get prepared, Take care of yourself, Get help , Work to maintain a good relationship with your loved one, and Encourage the person with PD for whom you care, to stay active.
Preparing for caregiving starts with education. Reading this fact sheet is a good start. More resources are available to you in theResources section of this fact sheet. Early Parkinsonâs disease usually requires more emotional support and less hands-on care. It is a good time for family members/caregivers to educate themselves about the disease.
What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Symptoms of Parkinsons disease and the rate of decline vary widely from person to person. The most common symptoms include:
Other symptoms include:
- Speech/vocal changes: Speech may be quick, become slurred or be soft in tone. You may hesitate before speaking. The pitch of your voice may become unchanged .
- Handwriting changes: You handwriting may become smaller and more difficult to read.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Sleeping disturbances including disrupted sleep, acting out your dreams, and restless leg syndrome.
- Pain, lack of interest , fatigue, change in weight, vision changes.
- Low blood pressure.
Relationships With Family And Friends
Living with Parkinsons will also affect your family and friends and it will take time for you all to adjust to the illness being part of your lives. How much you want to involve those close to you in the early stages is a very personal decision, however, it is important to remember that you would have had Parkinsons for some time – things wont have suddenly changed overnight.
For ideas on how to talk to family and friends and maintain strong relationships, as well as other tips on communication, see;Relationships & communication.
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Do All Parkinsons Patients Develop Dementia
Dementia describes a set of symptoms that cause is a significant loss in brain function. It produces a greater impact on patients on patients with Parkinsons than in Alzheimers patients as they have to deal with motor and cognitive impairment.
Alzheimers affect memory and language in general terms. Still, in Parkinsons, it affects problem-solving capacity, speed of thinking, memory, and they run with mild cognitive impairment.
Notably, Parkinsons disease dementia is a common thing among patients with this condition. The vast majority of them may experience some form of cognitive impairment over time.
Though it is a unique process for each person, several risk factors may lead to dementia symptoms and dementia itself.
- Increasing age.
- Exposure to psychological stress
- Low education level and low socioeconomic status
Disease duration has as well a direct correlation with the development of dementia on these patients. The more time the patient has this disease, the risk of developing dementia increases.
Also, Parkinsons dementia has a direct correlation with Lewy bodies. Most people develop dementia as a progression of the disease rather than having Parkinsons and Alzheimers. Nonetheless, a doctor with a neurology specialist should examine the patient to give an assertive diagnosis to the condition.
Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Parkinson’s disease has four main symptoms:
- Tremor in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
- Stiffness of the limbs and trunk
- Slowness of movement
- Impaired balance and coordination, sometimes leading to falls
Symptoms of Parkinsons and the rate of progression differ among individuals. Sometimes people dismiss early symptoms of Parkinson’s as the effects of normal aging. In most cases, there are no medical tests to definitively detect the disease, so it can be difficult to diagnose accurately.
Early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are subtle and occur gradually. For example, affected people may feel mild tremors or have difficulty getting out of a chair. They may notice that they speak too softly, or that their handwriting is slow and looks cramped or small. Friends or family members may be the first to notice changes in someone with early Parkinson’s. They may see that the person’s face lacks expression and animation, or that the person does not move an arm or leg normally.
People with Parkinson’s often develop a parkinsonian gait that includes a tendency to lean forward, small quick steps as if hurrying forward, and reduced swinging of the arms. They also may have trouble initiating or continuing movement.
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What Happens As Parkinsons Progresses
As the disease progresses, the physical symptoms of Parkinsons become more severe and make everyday tasks more difficult.
In the third and fourth stages, movement and coordination are slowed and impaired, limiting mobility. Secondary symptoms such as voice changes, an altered sense of smell, or digestive system issues can often appear in these mid-stages . You may also suffer from anxiety, depression, confusion, or dementia.
In the fifth and final stage, the symptoms of Parkinsons result in a loss of mobility to the extent that individuals are unable to walk or live without full-time assistance. Non-motor skills also deteriorate at this stage, and a patients symptoms may include hallucinations, delusions, and even dementia.
While this is a life-changing disease, its important to remember that all is not lost; with new developments in treatment, prevention methods, and medication, life after the onset of Parkinsons has never looked brighter.
How Parkinsons Disease Affects The Human Body
More than one million people live with Parkinsons disease in the U.S., but no two experiences are the same. Parkinsons affects individuals in vastly different ways: for some, Parkinsons may first show up as slight hand tremors, and in others, it might appear as an unusual level of stiffness. For one person it may progress slowly, and in someone else, it may spread frighteningly fast.
There are some consistencies in how the disease works, however, and understanding these similarities can help prepare for what to expect if you or a loved one is diagnosed with Parkinsons disease. From how it starts to how it progresses through its five stages, here are some of the ways Parkinsons affects the human body.
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One Of The Most Difficult Neurological Disorder Symptoms Of Parkinsons
Why might this be important to families challenged by PD? Because the biggest source of conflict in families occurs when loved ones fail to recognize that a person with brain changes is not the same person who existed at an earlier time in life. Human beings greatly value continuity in personality but by expecting the person to be the same as they once were, loved ones are unfair to the person with brain insult. This person could no more return to an earlier personality state than he or she can will away tremors or rigidity. Energy expended in any way other than coming to terms with this new person is fruitless. There is actually some fascinating research in this area and it is likely to be a topic for a great deal more discussion in future blogs.
Because of the greater likelihood for executive dysfunction and dementia, personality change is easier to see among individuals with more advanced PD. Motivation is frequently affected, resulting in apathy that diminishes how actively an individual interacts with other people and with the world . Thinking or cognition changes can cause the person to process information more slowly and with less focus and concentration . A previously methodical, consistent individual often becomes increasingly chaotic in their response to their environment . One easily becomes less interested and hopeful about the future .
Using The Internet To Your Advantage
The Internet is an invaluable tool and is brilliant for finding information on Parkinsons. Search engines such as Google make it possible to target particular topics of interest within seconds, 24 hours every day of the year. However, it needs to be used with some discretion, as not everything posted on the Internet can be trusted and you need to be vigilant. By following a few simple rules you can certainly benefit from the wealth of information available to you. If you have difficulty using a computer, then there are various aids which can help so dont be put off. The Internet can also be a useful tool for doing things that might otherwise take more time, for example booking holidays, or making purchases online.
See also;Using computers and the Internet.
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Can You Die From Parkinson’s
Advanced symptoms of a long-term condition like Parkinsons can make people more vulnerable to poor health and increased disability. These complications can sometimes result in someone dying. When this happens, Parkinsons can be recorded as a cause of death.
Complications can include:
- aspiration pneumonia
- chest infections and pneumonia;
This is one of the reasons why its important to manage your condition as well as you can, with the support of specialist healthcare professionals.; ;
How Do Symptoms Progress
The most common symptoms of;Parkinson’s are tremor, rigidity and slowness of movement.
Not everyone with Parkinson’s experiences the same combination of symptoms they vary from person to person.
Also, how Parkinson’s affects someone can change from day to day, and even from hour to hour. Symptoms that may be noticeable one day may not be a problem the next.
Many of the symptoms can be treated or managed with medication and therapies.
Many people with Parkinson’s lead active and fulfilling lives. An important part of coping with Parkinson’s is understanding how it affects you and how to work around it.
It may not always be easy to maintain a positive outlook, especially immediately after diagnosis. But we can give you help and support.
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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.
Impulsivity And Parkinsons: The Itch That Must Be Scratched
Impulsivity is a symptom commonly associated with both Parkinsons disease and some of the medications used to treat it.
Impulsivity involves acting on urges with little thought to the consequences that seven-year itch that feels like it must be scratched regardless of the problems that may arise. Impulsivity takes many forms. My previous columns about terror and irritability both speak to issues centered around impulsivity.
The cognitive pathways that involve impulsivity are simplified in the graphic below with the important checkpoints labeled as CP.1, CP.2,;and CP.3. These checkpoints are where the impulse signals are heightened. The more heightened they become, the more difficult it is to alter their eventual destination of impulsive action.
PD creates problems at these three checkpoints and thus creates the false perception of heightened signal input and the false impression that it is the itch that must be scratched. Recognizing this is the first step in a rehab plan.
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What Doctors Look For When Diagnosing Parkinsons
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.