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.
Why Do Parkinsons Patients Lose Weight
Several causes may induce weight loss. Weight loss is a non-specific symptom and could be a sign of a wide variety of medical problems, including cancer. Therefore, acute weight loss is an entity that a physician should examine to identify its cause.
Suppose the patient suffers from Parkinsons disease, and the physician does not find any other possible cause. In that case, the weight loss shall be attributed to Parkinsons.
Among PD patients, many possible causes may lead to weight loss. The reasons vary from people to people, but each one can contribute to developing weight loss. People with Parkinsons disease have a decrease in appetite, and it has various possible causes.
- The alteration, in the sense of smell, disables them from tasting food and reducing the amount of food.
- Apathy and depression
- Nausea due to medications
Asides from the appetite loss, other possible causes go along with the motor symptoms of the disease. These motor symptoms may induce an increase in energy expenditure.
- Dyskinesias are pointless and involuntary movements that can be a side effect of the treatment with levodopa.
- Essential tremor, resting tremor, and as well as muscle stiffness can be causes of excessive energy consumption and subsequent weight loss.
What Is Lewy Body Dementia
Lewy body dementia , is a brain disorder in which proteins, called alpha-synucleins, build up inside certain neurons . These clumps of proteins, called Lewy bodies, cause damage to neurons in areas of the brain that affect mental capabilities, behavior, movement and sleep.
In elderly patients, LBD is one of the most common causes of dementia. The symptoms of LBD may closely resemble those of other neurological disorders, including Alzheimers disease and Parkinsons disease.
Doctors do not know why you or your loved one develop LBD while others do not. There is no cure for LBD, but your symptoms can be managed with certain medications, like cholinesterase inhibitors and levodopa. You or your loved one may also benefit from non-medical treatments like physical therapy and speech therapy.
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Who Gets Parkinson’s Disease
About 1 million people in the United States have Parkinson’s disease, and both men and women can get it. Symptoms usually appear when someone is older than 50 and it becomes more common as people get older.
Many people wonder if you’re more likely to get Parkinson’s disease if you have a relative who has it. Although the role that heredity plays isn’t completely understood, we do know that if a close relative like a parent, brother, or sister has Parkinson’s, there is a greater chance of developing the disease. But Parkinson’s disease is not contagious. You can’t get it by simply being around someone who has it.
What Causes Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease occurs when nerve cells in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra become impaired or die. These cells normally produce dopamine, a chemical that helps the cells of the brain communicate . When these nerve cells become impaired or die, they produce less dopamine. Dopamine is especially important for the operation of another area of the brain called the basal ganglia. This area of the brain is responsible for organizing the brains commands for body movement. The loss of dopamine causes the movement symptoms seen in people with Parkinsons disease.
People with Parkinsons disease also lose another neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. This chemical is needed for proper functioning of the sympathetic nervous system. This system controls some of the bodys autonomic functions such as digestion, heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. Loss of norepinephrine causes some of the non-movement-related symptoms of Parkinsons disease.
Scientists arent sure what causes the neurons that produce these neurotransmitter chemicals to die.
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I Have My Life Back Says Dr Jack
Here’s one of the many reports from people whose symptoms are being reversed by adding a Neuro-Protective supplement to their daily diet:
Dr. Jack’s story is one of many:
Dr. Jack of Colorado, by age 55, had “rampant” Parkinsons disease. While he experienced some relief by taking a Parkinsons treatment medication regimen, overall, for the most part, the major disease symptoms remained:
He experienced these symptoms of Parkinsons:
“I had pretty well all of the Parkinson’s disease symptoms,” he said.
Then he discovered the potential of glutathione among alternative treatments for Parkinsons.
Here is what happened when a friend suggested he try a glutathione-boosting protein.
He kept a diary, and here is what he reported after 3 months:
ability to sleep longer stretches and have deeper sleep
almost total removal of all neck, shoulder, and arm pain
regaining of majority of sense of balance and fluidity of movement on my right side
ability to concentrate easier and in longer duration
regained lost creative ability
greatly reduced anxiety and depression
restored positive mental health outlook
restored sense of physical vitality
greatly reduced voice faltering and unevenness in voice tones
restored 75% of finger dexterity in right hand and fingers
Taking this protective supplement daily, gave Dr. Jack back his quality of life!
Changes In Sleeping Patterns
As Parkinsons progresses, you can also develop problems with sleep patterns. These may not happen in the early stages, but can be noticeable later. You might wake up often in the middle of the night or sleep more during the day than you do at night.
Another common sleep disturbance for people with Parkinsons is rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder. This is when you start acting out your dreams in your sleep, such as verbally and physically, which can get uncomfortable if someone is sharing your bed. Dr. Rundle-Gonzalez says many times a bed partner will be the one to notice sleep problems.
REM sleep behavior disorder can also happen in people who dont have Parkinsons. However, if this isnt something youve dealt with before, its likely related to your disease. There are medications your doctor can prescribe to help you sleep comfortably through the night.
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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
What Are The Surgical Treatments For Parkinsons Disease
Most patients with Parkinsons disease can maintain a good quality of life with medications. However, as the disease worsens, medications may no longer be effective in some patients. In these patients, the effectiveness of medications becomes unpredictable reducing symptoms during on periods and no longer controlling symptoms during off periods, which usually occur when the medication is wearing off and just before the next dose is to be taken. Sometimes these variations can be managed with changes in medications. However, sometimes they cant. Based on the type and severity of your symptoms, the failure of adjustments in your medications, the decline in your quality of life and your overall health, your doctor may discuss some of the available surgical options.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinsons
When talking about Parkinsons symptoms, a word comes to mind, Parkinsonism. Parkinsonism is the hallmark of this disease. It encloses the most common motor symptoms of this disease in a clinical syndrome.
Parkinsons disease has a wide variety of symptoms. This condition affects the brain, causing not only motor symptoms but also other kinds of symptoms.
Nonmotor symptoms are very variable as not all of them may be present. Still, they can affect the life quality of the patient.
Parkinsons involves many more organs than just the brain and extremities. Symptoms often begin on one side of the body. Usually, they remain worse on that side, even after symptoms begin to affect both sides. The most common symptoms are the following.
Living With Parkinson Disease
These measures can help you live well with Parkinson disease:
- An exercise routine can help keep muscles flexible and mobile. Exercise also releases natural brain chemicals that can improve emotional well-being.
- High protein meals can benefit your brain chemistry
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapy can help your ability to care for yourself and communicate with others
- If you or your family has questions about Parkinson disease, want information about treatment, or need to find support, you can contact the American Parkinson Disease Association.
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What Organs Does Parkinson Disease Affect
Parkinsons disease is characteristical, a movement disorder responsive to dopaminergic medication. But it does not only affect the movement or body motor system. It changes as well the autonomic nervous system that controls the involuntary actions of the body.
These automatic actions of the body include some like a heart beating, sweating, swallowing, and bowel movements for digestion. The autonomic nervous system has two subdivisions, the sympathetic system, and the parasympathetic system.
The sympathetic system functions apply when the body enters in an alert state and the parasympathetic when the body relaxes. Of course, both are in balance through a typical day accomplishing physiological functions of the body.
There is mounting evidence that PD patients have affection in neurons of the autonomic pathways. Consequently, autonomic physiology may serve as a window into non-motor PD onset and progression of the disease. These are the most common systems that Parkinsons disease affects:
What Are The Symptoms Of Lewy Body Dementia
Lewy body dementia symptoms may resemble those of other neurological disorders, like Alzheimers disease and Parkinsons disease. LBD affects each person differently, and symptoms vary in severity.
Common symptoms of LBD include:
- Visual hallucinations, or seeing things that are not there.
- Reduced alertness, attention and ability to concentrate.
- Parkinsonism, a movement disorder with symptoms including slowness, tremors, stiffness, balance problems, soft voice, difficulty swallowing, reduced facial expression and shuffling walk.
- Visuospatial difficulties, including decreased depth perception, trouble recognizing familiar objects and impaired hand-eye coordination.
- Delusions, or beliefs with no basis in reality.
- Changes in behavior and mood including anxiety, agitation, aggression, apathy, depression and paranoia.
- Changes in sleep patterns.
Other symptoms include:
- Acting out while sleeping. Your loved one may act out their dreams during a phase of sleep cycle called rapid eye movement . Sometimes this happens years before their LBD diagnosis. Often called REM sleep behavior disorder , this condition is described as frequent movements, such as flailing or punching, with yelling or speaking while sleeping. People living with RBD often have difficulty separating dreams from reality when they wake up.
- Changes in normal body functions. Body temperature may waver, blood pressure may fluctuate and loss of bowel and bladder control.
What Are The Complications Of Parkinson Disease
Parkinson disease causes physical symptoms at first. Problems with cognitive function, including forgetfulness and trouble with concentration, may arise later. As the disease gets worse with time, many people develop dementia. This can cause profound memory loss and makes it hard to maintain relationships.
Parkinson disease dementia can cause problems with:
- Speaking and communicating with others
- Problem solving
- Paying attention
If you have Parkinson disease and dementia, in time, you likely won’t be able to live by yourself. Dementia affects your ability to care of yourself, even if you can still physically do daily tasks.
Experts don’t understand how or why dementia often occurs with Parkinson disease. Its clear, though, that dementia and problems with cognitive function are linked to changes in the brain that cause problems with movement. As with Parkinson disease, dementia occurs when nerve cells degenerate, leading to chemical changes in the brain. Parkinson disease dementia may be treated with medicines also used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, another type of dementia.
Medication Not Working The Way It Used To
In the early stages, taking medicine works well to get rid of symptoms. But as Parkinsons progresses, your medication works for shorter periods of time, and symptoms return more easily. Your doctor will need to change your prescription.
Dr. Valerie Rundle-Gonzalez, a Texas-based neurologist, says to pay attention to how long your medicine takes to kick in and when it stops working. She says you should feel like symptoms significantly improve or are almost gone while on medication.
Increased Feelings Of Anxiety Or Depression
Anxiety and depression have been linked to Parkinsons. In addition to movement problems, the disease can also have an impact on your mental health. Its possible that changes in your emotional well-being can be a sign of changing physical health as well.
If you are more anxious than usual, have lost interest in things, or feel a sense of hopelessness, talk to your doctor.
Are You Having Symptoms Of Parkinson Disease
This tool is a Parkinson disease symptoms checker. It gathers the most important signs, symptoms, and risk factors for this condition. Therefore, anybody who uses the tool. It will help in determining the likelihood of having Parkinson disease. The most important feature of this tool is that it is free and would only take you a few minutes.
How Is Lewy Body Dementia Diagnosed
There are no medical tests that can diagnose Lewy body dementia with 100% accuracy. Specialists, including neurologists, geriatric psychiatrists, neuropsychologists and geriatricians, make the diagnosis of probable LBD based on the combined results of tests and patient symptoms.
Your healthcare provider will perform a thorough neurological and physical examination. You or your loved one will also complete mental status and neuropsychological tests. These tests check thinking abilities, including memory, word-finding, attention and visual-spatial skills. Your doctor will ask you and your family about your mental status and the history of your symptoms. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider of any physical, cognitive, memory, emotional, behavioral, movement, sleep or physical changes you or your loved one is having. Also, tell your healthcare provider about any of your current medications, supplements, vitamins, herbal products and frequently used over-the-counter products. These will be reviewed to see if they might be a cause of your or your loved ones symptoms.
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may also test your blood. If your doctor needs more information, brain imaging studies may be performed.
If you have cognitive deficiency severe enough to impair daily life in the presence of any following clinical features, your doctor may suspect diagnosis of LBD:
What Causes Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease occurs when nerve cells, or neurons, in an area of the brain that controls movement become impaired and/or die. Normally, these neurons produce an important brain chemical known as dopamine. When the neurons die or become impaired, they produce less dopamine, which causes the movement problems of Parkinson’s. Scientists still do not know what causes cells that produce dopamine to die.
People with Parkinson’s also lose the nerve endings that produce norepinephrine, the main chemical messenger of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls many functions of the body, such as heart rate and blood pressure. The loss of norepinephrine might help explain some of the non-movement features of Parkinson’s, such as fatigue, irregular blood pressure, decreased movement of food through the digestive tract, and sudden drop in blood pressure when a person stands up from a sitting or lying-down position.
Many brain cells of people with Parkinson’s contain Lewy bodies, unusual clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein. Scientists are trying to better understand the normal and abnormal functions of alpha-synuclein and its relationship to genetic mutations that impact Parkinsons disease and Lewy body dementia.
How Quickly Does Parkinsons Progress
Parkinsons disease is slowly progressive, and each case may be different. People may have symptoms for a year or two before a doctor makes a diagnosis.
The longer the symptoms are present, the easier it is to predict how a person with Parkinsons disease will do. In those with tremors and symptoms on one side of the body, the disease typically advances more slowly than in those without tremors who have symptoms that affect both sides of the body.
While the life expectancy of these patients reduces, people with Parkinsons disease usually function quite well for many years. However, these patients are at risk of suffering dementia, or from developing instability that could lead to falls.
This condition is by far the most treatable of all neurodegenerative disorders. A doctor may indicate treatment to help control symptoms.
For example, there are cases where people can function better in their daily lives five years later after they start medication.
The treatment includes exercise and changes in lifestyle. As well as medication with carbidopa-levodopa or dopamine agonists to improve body functionality.
There are surgical options as well, like deep brain stimulation, surgeons implant electrodes in the brain, and they receive electrical pulses, which reduces symptoms.
However, symptoms and responses to treatment vary from person to person, so it is not possible to accurately predict how Parkinsons disease will progress.