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.;;
Eat Fresh Raw Vegetables
If you needed more reasons to eat your vegetables, this should be the clincher. Studies show that increased amounts of the B vitamin folic acid, found primarily in vegetables, can significantly reduce the risk of Parkinsons.
The best sources of folic acid are simultaneously some of the healthiest foods on the planet, namely dark green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, collard greens, brussels sprouts, asparagus and okra all of which can be grown in your backyard! This B vitamin can also be found in avocado, legumes and lentils.
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.
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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.
Can I Continue To Drink Alcohol
You will need to check with your doctor if alcohol can be consumed with the medication you are taking. In many cases, a moderate consumption;may be fine.;
Medication should not be taken with alcohol, and when building up the dose of a new medication, alcohol should generally be avoided.
Keep in mind that alcohol can make any;incontinence;problems worse and long drinks, such as beers and lagers, tend to have a worse effect than short drinks, such as spirits.;
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What Is Parkinsonism Is It Different From Parkinsons
Parkinsons disease is the most common cause of parkinsonism, a category of neurological diseases that cause slowed movement.
No quick or easy diagnostic tests exist for Parkinsons disease, so a patient may receive an initial diagnosis of parkinsonism without a more specific condition being confirmed.
Classic Parkinsons disease referred to as idiopathic because it has no known cause is the most common and most treatable parkinsonism.
About 15 percent of people with parkinsonism have atypical variants, which are also known as Parkinsons plus syndromes.
Things That Can Help You Cope With Your New Diagnosis Of Parkinson’s Disease
Many bloggers write about what you can do to cope with a new diagnosis of;Parkinsons disease. We all have a different take on the issue, so if you have just been diagnosed, look for other blogs with similar titles. As they say in the Parkie world, we are like snowflakes, no two of us are alike. Each one of us has different symptoms and responds differently to medications and therapy. By reading several different blogs, you will get a broader perspective about your new companion, PD, which will be at your side for many years to come. So here are some of my suggestions for living well with Parkinsons.
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You have just been diagnosed. You walk out of the doctors office in a state of shock and the reality of it doesnt sink in until after you get home. So many unanswered questions and your next appointment is six months or more away. What can you do?
Here are my 10 recommendations for the newly diagnosed:
2. Continue to do what you did before your diagnosis. PD may eventually slow you down, but for now, dont let it stop you.
3. A good diet. Check Dr. Laurie Mischleys research for recommendations for a Parkie diet.
4. Get out of the house.;Some research has suggested that loneliness is an important predictor of a rapid decline with PD.
This story originally appeared on Twitchy Woman.
Getty photo by;DGLimages
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Treating The Symptoms Of Parkinsons Diseasehow Palliative Care Can Help
While there is no cure for Parkinsons disease, there are a growing number of treatments that can provide you with relief from its symptoms. People with Parkinsons disease are often prescribed a combination of levodopa and carbidopa, which helps replenish the brains shrinking supply of dopamine.
A new therapy uses electrodes surgically implanted inside the brain, and a small electrical device called a pulse generator to provide electrical deep brain stimulation . Parkinsons patients also benefit from the expertise of physical, occupational and speech therapists to help them manage practical issues in their daily lives.
Other symptoms of Parkinsons disease include a variety of motion-related issues, as well as sleep disturbances, fatigue , constipation and other gastrointestinal problems, and low blood pressure.
Another whole area of Parkinsons symptoms is called cognitive decline, whereby ravages of the disease affect thinking and other uses of the brain. These include troubling mood disorders like depression and anxiety, unclear thinking, difficulty concentrating on a task and the potential emergence of dementia.
Some people become more disabled and dependent over time despite the best treatments. They may come to need so much help with the routine tasks of living that they require 24-hour care. This care may be provided at home or in a setting like assisted living, where they get the personal care they need.
Tips For Caring For Someone With Parkinsons Disease
Caring for a loved one with early onset Parkinsons can be difficult. If youre a caregiver for someone with this condition, its important that you remember your own emotional and physical health.
Not only are you dealing with a difficult diagnosis, youre also managing an increased number of responsibilities. Burnout is common in caregivers, so make sure youre checking in with your own needs.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation Center for Parkinsons Research recommends these tips for caregivers:
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What Can You Do About Weight Loss Associated With Pd
If you do find yourself unable to maintain a healthy weight, discuss this with your doctor. The good news is that after a medical workup, he or she may suggest one or more of the following steps that can help you:
Tips and takeaways
- Despite a diagnosis of PD, weight loss should prompt a full medical workup.
- Weight loss that is attributed to PD can be caused by a variety of reasons including decreased appetite, increased energy expenditure, swallowing difficulties, and poor gut motility.
- Weight loss has been linked to a poorer quality of life in PD and may contribute to increasing frailty.
- There are steps you can take that may help. Depending on the causes contributing to weight loss, efforts to counteract weight loss could include consultation with a dietician, swallow evaluation and PD medication adjustment.
- As with all symptoms, discuss your concerns about weight loss with your doctor.
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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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What Can You Do If You Have Pd
- Work with your doctor to create a plan to stay healthy.;This might include the following:
- A referral to a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in the brain
- Care from an occupational therapist, physical therapist or speech therapist
- Meeting with a medical social worker to talk about how Parkinson’s will affect your life
For more information, visit our;Treatment page.
Page reviewed by Dr. Chauncey Spears, Movement Disorders Fellow at the University of Florida, a Parkinsons Foundation Center of Excellence.
What Makes Pd Hard To Predict
Parkinsonâs comes with two main buckets of possible symptoms. One affects your ability to move and leads to motor issues like tremors and rigid muscles. The other bucket has non-motor symptoms, like pain, loss of smell, and dementia.
You may not get all the symptoms. And you canât predict how bad theyâll be, or how fast theyâll get worse. One person may have slight tremors but severe dementia. Another might have major tremors but no issues with thinking or memory. And someone else may have severe symptoms all around.
On top of that, the drugs that treat Parkinsonâs work better for some people than others. All that adds up to a disease thatâs very hard to predict.
Diagnosis Of Parkinsons Disease
A number of disorders can cause symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease. People with Parkinson’s-like symptoms that result from other causes are sometimes said to have parkinsonism. While these disorders initially may be misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s, certain medical tests, as well as response to drug treatment, may help to distinguish them from Parkinson’s. Since many other diseases have similar features but require different treatments, it is important to make an exact diagnosis as soon as possible.
There are currently no blood or laboratory tests to diagnose nongenetic cases of Parkinson’s disease. Diagnosis is based on a person’s medical history and a neurological examination. Improvement after initiating medication is another important hallmark of Parkinson’s disease.
What Is The Treatment For Parkinson’s Disease
There is currently no treatment to cure Parkinson’s disease. Several therapies are available to delay the onset of motor symptoms and to ameliorate motor symptoms. All of these therapies are designed to increase the amount of dopamine in the brain either by replacing dopamine, mimicking dopamine, or prolonging the effect of dopamine by inhibiting its breakdown. Studies have shown that early therapy in the non-motor stage can delay the onset of motor symptoms, thereby extending quality of life.
The most effective therapy for Parkinson’s disease is levodopa , which is converted to dopamine in the brain. However, because long-term treatment with levodopa can lead to unpleasant side effects , its use is often delayed until motor impairment is more severe. Levodopa is frequently prescribed together with carbidopa , which prevents levodopa from being broken down before it reaches the brain. Co-treatment with carbidopa allows for a lower levodopa dose, thereby reducing side effects.
In earlier stages of Parkinson’s disease, substances that mimic the action of dopamine , and substances that reduce the breakdown of dopamine inhibitors) can be very efficacious in relieving motor symptoms. Unpleasant side effects of these preparations are quite common, including swelling caused by fluid accumulation in body tissues, drowsiness, constipation, dizziness, hallucinations, and nausea.
History Of Parkinsons Disease
Symptoms and possible treatments for Parkinsons were discussed in texts related to;Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medical practice thats been around since as early as 5,000 B.C. A Parkinsons-like condition was also mentioned in the first Chinese medical text,;Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen,;more than 2,500 years ago.
Parkinsons disease was formally recognized in an 1817 paper, An Essay on the Shaking Palsy, by James Parkinson, MD, a London doctor and member of the Royal College of Surgeons.
Dr. Parkinson observed what are now known as the classic;symptoms of Parkinsons disease, including tremors, rigidity, and postural instability. He theorized that the disease developed because of a problem in the brains medulla region.
Parkinsons essay received little attention until 1861, when French neurologist Jean-Martin;Charcot and his colleagues distinguished the disease from other neurological conditions and termed it Parkinsons disease.
Stooping Or Hunching Over
Are you not standing up as straight as you used to? If you or your family or friends notice that you seem to be stooping, leaning or slouching when you stand, it could be a sign of Parkinson’s disease .
What is normal?If you have pain from an injury or if you are sick, it might cause you to stand crookedly. Also, a problem with your bones can make you hunch over.
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Are There Any Changes I Could Make To Help Me Stay In Control
Yes, there are many changes you can make to help you stay in control and remain independent. Adapting your daily routine is one important way that you can help yourself. Choose a time in the day when your medication is working well to embark on any strenuous activities, and always pace yourself, taking rests if you need to.;
There are also many types of specialist equipment to help with activities such as washing, dressing and eating for example.;Occupational therapists;are trained to help people to maintain their independence and adapt to any limitations they experience. They can advise on special equipment and modifications to your environment or daily routine.;
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Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease
The symptoms and rate of progression of Parkinsons are different among individuals. Effects of normal aging are sometimes confused for Parkinsons. It is difficult to accurately diagnose this disease because there is not a test that can accurately do it.
There are physical and non-physical symptoms that could indicate someone has Parkinsons disease:
Early stage symptoms
Parkinson’s disease occurs gradually. At first, the symptoms might not even be noticeable. Early symptoms can include feeling mild tremors or having difficulty getting out of bed or a chair. The person might start to notice that they are speaking softer than usual, or that their handwriting looks different.
Usually, it is friends or family members who are the first to notice changes in someone with early Parkinson’s. For example, they may notice that the person’s face lacks expression and animation, or that the person does not move an arm or leg normally.
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Bump Up Your Fiber Intake
A high-fiber diet is a proven way to avoid constipation, a common problem for people with PD.
Parkinsons can slow down the intestines and cause constipation, Dr. Gostkowski says. Fiber helps keep things moving. There are plenty of high-fiber foods out there, so choose your favorites. Women should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day, and men should get 38 grams.
Word Of Caution: Rule Out Other Health Problems First
Weight loss is a non-specific symptom and could be a sign of many medical problems including cancer, thyroid disease and other endocrine abnormalities, as well as inflammatory bowel disease and other malabsorption syndromes. Because of this, it is imperative, that weight loss is not assumed to be due to PD without a medical workup.
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