Workshops And Exercises Help Patients With Parkinson’s Disease Combat Small Handwriting
Courtesy Let’s Combat Micrographia
Ten years ago, Marie Zacharko, a retired project manager in Warrington, PA, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. One of the earliest signs she observed was that her handwriting was becoming smaller and less legible, a symptom known as micrographia.
Keen to improve her writing, Zacharko practiced every day but saw no change. She figured she was stuck with her scrawl. Then she discovered Let’s Combat Micrographia, an organization offering workshops and workbooks for people with deteriorating handwriting. She enrolled in one of the workshops, where she learned techniques to help her write better, including practicing large handwriting, hand-stretching exercises, and correct posture and support for the hand and arm while writing. Not only did her writing improve, but Zacharko, who is now 76, found it easier to open cans, and when she plays piano, she presses the keys more lightly.
Tom Way, an 82-year-old retired salesman from Pittsburgh, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease three and a half years ago. Although he experiences tremors on his left side more than on his dominant right side, his handwriting deteriorated to the point where he couldn’t read it. After participating in just one workshop, he decided it was worth it. “Learning to slow my writing down made a real difference,” he says.
Traditional medications for Parkinson’s disease may help patients improve handwriting, but success is extremely variable, says Dr. Shulman.
What Are The Treatment Options For Tremor In Patients With Parkinson Disease
Levodopa/carbidopa, dopamine agonists, and anticholinergics each provide good benefit for tremor in approximately 50-60% of patients. If a patient is experiencing troublesome tremor and if symptoms are not controlled adequately with one medication, another should be tried. If the tremor is not controlled adequately with medication, surgical therapy may be considered at any time during the disease.
How Vibration Therapy Can Alleviate Tremors Caused By Parkinsons Disease
Here’s how vibration therapy can be used to limit pain and tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease.
living with the conditionWhat is Parkinson’s disease?root causesHow can vibration therapy help?
“There are many options when it comes to vibration therapy.”
diagnosed with Parkinson’s diseaseSimilar resultsmany optionsWhat other steps are helpful?
Gyroglove’ Helps Ease Hand Tremors In Patients With Parkinson’s Disease Steve Smith@realsteve_smith
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement; its most recognizable symptom is trembling hands. These tremors can make everyday activities like holding a glass of water or writing incredibly difficult. And while there are some potential treatment methods on the horizon, a new device might soon help Parkinson’s patients lead a more normal life.
The GyroGlove, developed by London medical student Faii Ong, has the potential to help Parkinson’s patients manage their tremors. Ong first had the idea to create the glove as a medical student when, while treating a 103-year-old Parkinson’s patient, he found it was difficult for her to eat soup. With nothing to ease her tremors, he built the GyroGlove, which uses the physics of mechanical gyroscopes to reduce trembling.
According to notes Ong provided to Medical Daily, the gyroscopes “are basically tops, or spinning discs. Like tops that try to stay upright, gyroscopes similarly seek to remain in the same position by conserving angular momentum. Thus, these gyroscopes instantaneously and proportionally resist hand movement.” When the gyroscopes are activated, Ong said, they make the trembling hand feel like it’s moving through syrup — the tremors are smoothed and damped, giving the hand full control.
Tremors In Parkinsons Disease: What They Are Types Of Tremors And More
Getting the trembling associated with Parkinson’s under control can be a challenge, but treatments can help.
Don RaufJustin Laube, MDNicole Rerk/Shutterstock
Tremors are a defining characteristic of Parkinson’s disease, affecting about 8 out of 10 people with this movement disorder. Many people think the involuntary shaking motion is the main problem for patients. While it is certainly an irritating symptom that individuals want to get under control, other characteristics of the disease can be more debilitating.
Parkinsons Foundation Centers Of Excellence And Medicinal Marijuana
The Parkinson’s Foundation, in partnership with Northwestern University researchers, studied attitudes about cannabis at 40 Centers of Excellence. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to provide data on the practices, beliefs and attitudes of expert PD physicians concerning cannabis use.
The results were interesting: most experts said they knew what cannabis did, but disagreed on the details. While there is no general agreement on what the benefits might be for people with PD, the survey confirmed that cannabis is a popular subject within Parkinson’s Foundation centers as 95 percent of neurologists reported patients have asked them to prescribe it.
Cannabis study results also included:
- Only 23 percent of physicians had any formal education on the subject of cannabis , thus 93 percent of physicians want cannabis taught in medical school.
- Physicians reported that 80 percent of their patients with PD have used cannabis.
- Only 10 percent of physicians have recommended the use of cannabis to patients with PD.
- In terms of memory: 75 percent of physicians felt that cannabis would have negative effects on short-term memory and 55 percent felt that cannabis could have negative effects on long-term memory
- Only 11 percent of physicians have recommended use of cannabis in the last year
This graph shows how physicians expect cannabis would improve, worsen, or show no effect to PD-related symptoms given their expertise and observations of patients with PD.
What Dietary Restrictions Can Help In Reducing Parkinsons Tremors
Sometimes, the doctor may ask the patient to avoid certain food because such may interfere with the medications so prescribed thereby increasing the tremors and other symptoms in Parkinson’s disease. Such may include-
- Increased consumption of air dried or fermented fish and meat.
- Kimchi or any other kind of fermented vegetables.
- Soya sauce or other products from soya bean.
- Legumes like kidney beans, edamame or lentils.
- Aged cheese.
- Beverages like red wine and beer.
Discuss The Latest Research In The Parkinsons News Today Forums
2. Carbidopa-levodopa infusion: In 2015, the FDA approved Duopa, which is a combination of carbidopa and levodopa in a gel form which is administered via a feeding tube into the small intestine.
Duopa is generally given to patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease whose response to carbidopa-levodopa is varied. The drug is infused continuously so the level of the drugs remains constant.
The risks associated with Duopa are infections at the site of the feeding tube and the tube falling out.
3. Dopamine agonists: Dopamine agonist mimic the effects of dopamine in the brain. They are generally not as effective as levodopa but the effects last longer and they can be used in conjunction with levodopa to counter any fluctuation in efficiency.
These medications can be administered through a patch, oral medications or as an injection. The side effects are also nausea and lightheadedness, but may also cause drowsiness, hallucinations and compulsive behaviors such as gambling, overeating, and hypersexuality — which will need to be addressed by a doctor.
MORE: Find out about the four possible causes of Parkinson’s disease here.
4. MAO-B inhinitors: Medications such as selegiline and rasagiline help to prevent dopamine breaking down in the brain by releasing monoamine oxidase B enzymes.
5. Catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitors: These types of medications help to prolong the effects of levodopa by blocking brain enzymes that deplete dopamine.
What Lifestyle Changes May Help Reduce The Parkinsons Tremors
Doctors may advice certain lifestyle changes in order to manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and also the tremors associated with it. They may include-
Green Tea: Research shows that green tea may be beneficial in reducing tremors in Parkinson’s disease. The patient may substitute his daily consumption of tea with green tea for increased benefits.
Reduce Meat: Patient with Parkinson’s disease should limit his consumption of animal and plant protein of his daily diet.
Regular Activity: Exercising everyday may help with reduction of tremors and other symptoms like muscle stiffness in Parkinson’s disease.
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 Parkinson’s 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 didn’t exercise or didn’t 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 Parkinson’s, 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.
Improve the quality of your sleep.
What Is A Tremor And What Makes It Different With Parkinsons
Tremor is an uncontrollable, rhythmic muscle contraction that triggers quivering in one or more parts of the body. It often occurs in hands, arms, or legs but can also affect the head, neck, or torso. This shaking may appear in sporadic spells or continue constantly.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says that age is a risk factor — middle-aged and older adults are more likely to experience tremors.
Next Steps: Getting Care For Parkinsons And Essential Tremor
If you believe you have Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor, don’t hesitate to seek professional care. Your doctor can help you diagnose your condition, find the right treatment plan for you, and manage your symptoms so you can enjoy the best quality of life possible. While suffering from a condition like essential tremor or Parkinson’s can be frightening, you don’t have to face it on your own.
Parkinsons Disease Natural Treatment & Remedies In 5 Steps
April 17, 2018
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative illness of the nervous system that results in loss of intentional movement and impaired motor functioning. Parkinson’s disease symptoms affects smooth, natural movements of the body, and can make it hard to perform everyday tasks like speaking properly, walking, swallowing and sleeping.
With Parkinson’s, the area of the brain that controls muscular movements receives less dopamine than usual. Dopamine is an important chemical necessary for not only coordinating proper body movements, but also things like learning, increasing motivation and regulating moods. This is one reason why depression and other mood changes often affect those with Parkinson’s.
What causes Parkinson’s, and is it curable? There is no specific known cause, but some aggravating factors include exposure to certain chemicals and toxic water, plus inflammation of the brain. While there is no cure for Parkinson’s , there are medications available to boost dopamine in the brain and help manage symptoms.
A 2016 study by researchers at the University of Saskatchewan also found a possible way to stop the progression of Parkinson’s. Researchers created caffeine-based chemical compounds — which also contained nicotine, metformin and aminoindan — that prevented the misfolding of alpha-synuclein, a protein necessary for dopamine regulation.
Getting Treatment: Essential Tremor Vs Parkinsons Disease
There is currently no cure for essential tremor or Parkinson’s. However, that does not mean you have no control over your condition. As doctors learn more about these conditions, developments in treatment and disease management continue to help patients preserve their quality of life as much as possible.
What Are The Surgical Treatments For Parkinsons Disease
Most patients with Parkinson’s 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 can’t. 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.
What Is The Outlook For Persons With Parkinsons Disease
Although there is no cure or absolute evidence of ways to prevent Parkinson’s disease, scientists are working hard to learn more about the disease and find innovative ways to better manage it, prevent it from progressing and ultimately curing it.
Currently, you and your healthcare team’s efforts are focused on medical management of your symptoms along with general health and lifestyle improvement recommendations . By identifying individual symptoms and adjusting the course of action based on changes in symptoms, most people with Parkinson’s disease can live fulfilling lives.
The future is hopeful. Some of the research underway includes:
- Using stem cells to produce new neurons, which would produce dopamine.
- Producing a dopamine-producing enzyme that is delivered to a gene in the brain that controls movement.
- Using a naturally occurring human protein – glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor, GDNF – to protect dopamine-releasing nerve cells.
Many other investigations are underway too. Much has been learned, much progress has been made and additional discoveries are likely to come.
Defining The Condition: Parkinsons Vs Essential Tremor
Parkinson’s Disease: According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, Parkinson’s disease is a “neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominantly dopamine-producing neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra”. Parkinson’s itself is not a fatal disease, however, it can have serious complications that can be.
- At what age does Parkinson’s usually manifest? Typically Parkinson’s typically manifests in individuals 50 years or older. However, Young Onset Parkinson’s , affects 2% to 10% of individuals in the U.S. with Parkinson’s.
- What is the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease? According to Nih.gov, approximately 1.8% of adults 65 and older suffer from Parkinson’s disease.
Essential Tremor: As defined by John Hopkins Medicine, essential tremor disorder is a neurological condition that causes your hands, head, trunk, voice, or legs to shake rhythmically. Generally, these tremors are worse when moving than when at rest. However, tremors can be severe enough to interfere with regular daily activities such as eating, speaking, and even using the restroom independently. Essential tremor is considered benign, or non-life-threatening.
- At what age does essential tremor usually manifest? Essential tremor typically affects individuals over the age of 65, however, it can develop at any age.
- What is the prevalence of essential tremor? According to Nih.gov, approximately 4.67% of adults 65 and older suffer from essential tremor.
Signs & Symptoms: Is It Essential Tremor Or Parkinsons
In order to start managing your condition and receive the treatment you need, you should be aware of the most common signs and symptoms as well as the key differences between essential tremor and Parkinson’s. After all, the first step in getting care as early on as possible is self-awareness that you might be suffering from one of these conditions.
What Medications Are Used To Treat Parkinsons Disease
Medications are the main treatment method for patients with Parkinson’s disease. Your doctor will work closely with you to develop a treatment plan best suited for you based on the severity of your disease at the time of diagnosis, side effects of the drug class and success or failure of symptom control of the medications you try.
Medications combat Parkinson’s disease by:
- Helping nerve cells in the brain make dopamine.
- Mimicking the effects of dopamine in the brain.
- Blocking an enzyme that breaks down dopamine in the brain.
- Reducing some specific symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Levodopa: Levodopa is a main treatment for the slowness of movement, tremor, and stiffness symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Nerve cells use levodopa to make dopamine, which replenishes the low amount found in the brain of persons with Parkinson’s disease. Levodopa is usually taken with carbidopa to allow more levodopa to reach the brain and to prevent or reduce the nausea and vomiting, low blood pressure and other side effects of levodopa. Sinemet® is available in an immediate release formula and a long-acting, controlled release formula. Rytary® is a newer version of levodopa/carbidopa that is a longer-acting capsule. The newest addition is Inbrija®, which is inhaled levodopa. It is used by people already taking regular carbidopa/levodopa for when they have off episodes .
The Relationship Between Parkinsons Disease And Sleep
It’s unclear whether poor sleep causes parkinsonian symptoms to worsen or whether worsening parkinsonian symptoms cause poor sleep. In many cases it’s likely a case of bidirectionality, with each one exacerbating the other.
Fragmented sleep and sleep deprivation appear to leave the brain more vulnerable to oxidative stress, which has been tied to the development of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is not usually diagnosed until individuals have developed sufficient motor symptoms, by which time a significant portion of brain cells have already been damaged. If poor sleep quality or having sleep disorders foreshadows the development of parkinsonian symptoms, these could be useful in early diagnosis of the disease.
More research is needed to clarify the multifaceted relationship between Parkinson’s disease and sleep. A better understanding of this connection may offer medical experts the unique opportunity to screen at-risk individuals and perhaps delay the onset of the disease.
What Are The Different Stages Of Parkinsons Disease
Each person with Parkinson’s disease experiences symptoms in in their own unique way. Not everyone experiences all symptoms of Parkinson’s 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 Parkinson’s 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.
Parkinsons Sleep Problems: Diagnosis And Treatment
Parkinson’s disease is chronic and progressive, meaning it tends to get worse over time. However, there are treatment options that can help manage symptoms and allow patients to get more restful sleep.
The simplest way to start sleeping better with Parkinson’s disease is by adopting healthy sleep habits. Sleep hygiene tips for Parkinson’s disease sufferers include:
- Sticking to regular bedtimes
- Following a consistent bedtime routine with soothing activities such as listening to music or reading a calming book
- Getting regular exercise, preferably early in the day
- Getting adequate exposure to light, whether outdoors or through light therapy
- Avoiding long naps and naps late in the day
- Creating a cool, dark, and comfortable sleeping environment
- Restricting bedtime activities to sex and sleep only
- Turning off screens an hour before bedtime
- Reducing liquid intake before bedtime
- Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco
- Eating a healthy diet and avoiding large meals at night
Light therapy, exercise, and deep brain stimulation have been successfully used to improve overall sleep quality and to treat specific conditions, such as REM sleep behavior disorder, in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia has proven effective at reducing insomnia in healthy adults, although further research is needed on the effects of CBT in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
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Stretching To Loosen Stiff Muscles Of Parkinson’s
The following stretching and flexibility exercises can help to relieve stiff muscles, improve flexibility, and make everyday tasks easier:
Why Do Parkinsons Patients Have Trouble Sleeping
Despite having daytime tremors, Parkinson’s patients do not shake in their sleep. However, both Parkinson’s disease itself and the medications used to treat it can give rise to a number of sleep problems that lead to insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Patients with motor symptoms may have trouble adjusting sleeping positions to get comfortable. Others may experience distressing nocturnal hallucinations when trying to fall asleep. These may be a result of medications or cognitive impairment.
In turn, excessive daytime sleepiness may occur as a consequence of sleeping poorly at night. It may also be triggered by medications. Parkinson’s patients who suffer from EDS may be at a higher risk of accidents and unable to safely carry out activities such as operating a motor vehicle.
Since insomnia frequently goes hand-in-hand with anxiety and depression, it may be a contributing factor to sleep problems in people with Parkinson’s disease. For that reason, doctors often look for mental health disorders in people with Parkinson’s disease who have sleep problems.
Which Body Parts Do Parkinsons Tremors Affect
There are five main places you’ll have Parkinson’s tremors:
1. Hands. Parkinson’s disease tremors often start in the fingers or hands with what’s called a pill-rolling motion. Imagine holding a pill between your thumb and index finger and rolling it back and forth.
2. Foot. A Parkinson’s foot tremor is more likely to happen while you’re sitting or lying down with your feet at rest. If the tremor moves into your thigh muscles. It could look like your whole leg is shaking.
Foot tremors disappear when you stand or walk because those are active movements. A foot or leg tremor while you’re standing may be another condition.
3. Jaw. This is common in people with Parkinson’s. It may look like you’re shivering. It can become bothersome if the tremor makes your teeth chatter. If you wear dentures, it could make them shift or fall out.
Chewing eases the tremor, so gum might help.
4. Tongue. It’s rare, but a tongue tremor can cause your entire head to shake.
5. Internal. Some people with Parkinson’s say they can feel a shaking sensation in their chest or abdomen. But can’t be seen from the outside.
A Lower Protein Diet To Help Meds Work Better
Your diet can impact how well your medication helps to manage common Parkinson’s symptoms, including tremors and constipation.
Diets heavy in protein, for instance, can limit your body’s absorption of levodopa in Sinemet, a common medication used in the management of Parkinson’s disease. As a result, some doctors recommend that people with Parkinson’s limit protein intake to 12 percent of their total daily calories. And taking your medication on an empty stomach before your meals can help your body absorb the drug, notes the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation recommends avoiding certain foods because of possible medication interactions, including:
In addition, fruits and vegetables in your diet may protect nerve cell function and possibly help keep Parkinson’s symptoms under control. Fruits and veggies also provide fiber, which can stimulate bowel movement and prevent constipation. Ask your doctor for a referral to a nutritionist to help make it easier to follow a healthy diet.
Limit Stress & Practice Relaxation Techniques
Parkinson’s tremors are sometimes exacerbated by emotional stress. Aging adults living with Parkinson’s disease may be able to relieve or lessen the severity of tremors by addressing sources of stress and reducing anxiety levels as much as possible. There are a variety of methods for managing stress, so it may be necessary for older adults with Parkinson’s to try out several different options and techniques to discover which ones are most effective for them. Strategies such as spending time with loved ones, practicing meditation, and participating in favorite activities can often eliminate stress-induced tremors.
Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Edmonton seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and the rate of decline vary widely from person to person. The most common symptoms include:
Other symptoms include:
- Decreased facial expressions: You may not smile or blink as often as the disease worsens; your face lacks expression.
- 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.
How Do I Prevent Falls From Common Hazards
- 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.
Medical Marijuana And Legislation By State
Thirty-five states and Washington, DC have passed legislation allowing the use of marijuana-based products.
In some states where medical marijuana is legalized, consumers must register to possess and use cannabis. Other states require consumers to acquire a document from a physician stating that the patient has an approved condition. Under federal law doctors cannot prescribe cannabis, but many states authorize them to issue certifications that allow patients to obtain medical marijuana.
PD is listed as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana in Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Medical marijuana is legal in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Washington, DC.
Consider Tremor Along With Other Symptoms
“Parkinson’s reputation is that it is a tremor disease, and that’s how you can identify it across a crowded room,” says Rebecca Gilbert, MD, PhD, chief scientific officer for the American Parkinson Disease Association in New York City.
Although tremors bring people to diagnosis in many cases, defining the condition as a tremor disease may have done patients a disservice over the years because there are more severe symptoms that people struggle with. Tremor is just the one that people can see, according to Dr. Gilbert.
“Many think if you don’t have a tremor everything is fine,” she says. “That isn’t true.”
Over time, other disease features, such as cognitive problems, psychosis, blood pressure irregularities, depression, and lack of desire to do things, can be more devastating.
James Beck, PhD, chief scientific officer with the Parkinson’s Foundation, also cautions that tremor may not be the first distinguishing feature.
“A person may notice a slowness of movement called bradykinesia,” he says. “Or someone may be walking down the street and one arm doesn’t swing. These symptoms may appear before tremor.”
While focusing only on tremor may not be advisable, understanding this abnormal movement and treatment options may help patients improve their quality of life.