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Who Is Most Likely To Have Parkinson’s Disease

Are There Differences In Parkinsons Care Between Men And Women

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Women with PD may face more barriers to quality healthcare and social support than men. Women are less likely than men to be cared for by a Parkinsons specialist, such as a neurologist or movement disorder specialist, and are also less likely to have a care partner. On the other hand, women with Parkinsons are more likely to do the following:

  • Go to doctors appointments alone
  • Use home healthcare
  • Live in a skilled nursing facility

All these factors mean that women may not have access to adequate Parkinsons care.

Foster A Good Relationship

Lastly, maintaining your relationship and communication with the person with Parkinsonâs can be the most challenging and rewarding aspect of caregiving. As Parkinsonâs disease progresses, the roles change and the person with Parkinsonâs may go from being an independent head of the household to a very dependent person requiring a significant level of care. However, research shows that despite high levels of strain, caregivers with good quality relationships have reduced depression and better physical health. Remember, as a caregiver your service to your loved one is beyond measure in terms of love, depth of care, and concern.

Parkinson’s Disease Risk Factors

Although a primary cause for Parkinson’s disease is yet to be identified, a number of risk factors are clearly evident.

Advancing age– Although there is the occasional case of the disease being developed as a young adult, it generally manifests itself in the middle to late years of life. The risk continues to increase the older one gets. Some researchers assume that people with Parkinson’s have neural damage from genetic or environmental factors that get worse as they age.

Sex- Males are more likely to get Parkinson’s than females. Possible reasons for this may be that males have greater exposure to other risk factors such as toxin exposure or head trauma. It has been theorised that oestrogen may have neuro-protective effects. Or, in the case of genetic predisposition, a gene predisposing someone to Parkinson’s may be linked to the X chromosome.

Family history– Having one or more close relatives with the disease increases the likelihood that you will get it, but to a minimal degree. This lends support to the idea that there is a genetic link in developing Parkinson’s.

– Post menopausal who do not use hormone replacement therapy are at greater risk, as are those who have had hysterectomies.

Low levels of B vitamin folate– Researchers discovered that mice with a deficiency of this vitamin developed severe Parkinson’s symptoms, while those with normal levels did not.

Also Check: What Effect Does R Dopa Have On Parkinson’s Disease

What Is Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and the most common movement disorder. Characteristics of Parkinsons disease are progressive loss of muscle control, which leads to trembling of the limbs and head while at rest, stiffness, slowness, and impaired balance. As symptoms worsen, it may become difficult to walk, talk, and complete simple tasks.

The progression of Parkinson’s disease and the degree of impairment vary from person to person. Many people with Parkinson’s disease live long productive lives, whereas others become disabled much more quickly. Complications of Parkinsons such as falling-related injuries or pneumonia. However, studies of patent populations with and without Parkinsons Disease suggest the life expectancy for people with the disease is about the same as the general population.

Most people who develop Parkinson’s disease are 60 years of age or older. Since overall life expectancy is rising, the number of individuals with Parkinson’s disease will increase in the future. Adult-onset Parkinson’s disease is most common, but early-onset Parkinson’s disease , and juvenile-onset Parkinson’s disease can occur.

    How Is A Diagnosis Made

    Our Parkinson

    Because other conditions and medications mimic the symptoms of PD, getting an accurate diagnosis from a physician is important. No single test can confirm a diagnosis of PD, because the symptoms vary from person to person. A thorough history and physical exam should be enough for a diagnosis to be made. Other conditions that have Parkinsons-like symptoms include Parkinsons plus, essential tremor, progressive supranuclear palsy, multi-system atrophy, dystonia, and normal pressure hydrocephalus.

    Also Check: What Is The Life Expectancy Of Someone With Parkinson’s Disease

    Does Parkinson’s Disease Cause Dementia

    The cells in the brain affected in PD are not in the ‘thinking’ parts of the brain and dementia is not a typical early feature of PD. However, if you have PD you have an increased risk of developing dementia. About half of people with PD develop dementia at some stage. If dementia occurs, it tends to develop in older people with PD . Early dementia in younger people with PD virtually never develops. It is thought that PD alone does not cause dementia however, other age-related factors in addition to PD may increase the risk of dementia developing.

    What Role Do Genes Play

    Your genes are like your body’s instruction book. So if you get a change in one of them, it can make your body work in a slightly different way. Sometimes, that means you’re more likely to get a certain disease.

    There are several genetic mutations that can raise your risk for Parkinson’s, each by a little bit. They have a part in about 1 in 10 cases.

    If you have one or more of these changes, it doesn’t mean you’ll get Parkinson’s. Some people will, but many won’t, and doctors don’t know why. It may have to do with other genes or something in your environment.

    Read Also: Can Parkinson’s Run In The Family

    How And Why Does Parkinson’s Disease Effect Women And Men Differently

    Date:
    IOS Press
    Summary:
    There is growing evidence that Parkinson’s disease affects women and men differently. In this insightful review, scientists present the most recent knowledge about these sex-related differences and highlight the significance of estrogens, which play an important role in the sex differences in PD.

    There is growing evidence that Parkinson’s disease affects women and men differently. In this insightful review, published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, scientists present the most recent knowledge about these sex-related differences and highlight the significance of estrogens, which play an important role in the sex differences in PD.

    PD is a slowly progressive disorder that affects movement, muscle control, and balance. It is the second most common age-related, neurodegenerative disorder, affecting about 3% of the population by the age of 65 and up to 5% of individuals over 85 years of age. The risk of developing PD is twice as high in men than women, but women experience a more rapid disease progression and a lower survival rate.

    “It is becoming increasingly evident that PD differs in women and men,” explained lead author Fabio Blandini, MD, Scientific Director of the IRCCS Mondino Foundation, National Institute of Neurology, Pavia, Italy. “Recent research findings suggest that biological sex also impacts on disease risk factors and, potentially, on molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of PD.”

    Motor and non-motor symptoms

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    Parkinson’s In Adolf Hitler

    There’s speculation that Adolf Hitler may have suffered from Parkinson’s disease by the end of his life in 1945, he had a major tremor in his left hand. At least one study suggests that Hitler’s disease and his so-called “Parkinson’s personality” may have contributed to Germany’s defeat in World War II.

    In that study, a team of neurologists speculated that Hitler’s “questionable and risky decision-making and his inhumane and callous personality” both were influenced and magnified by Parkinson’s disease.

    However, Hitler may have had other medical conditions that contributed to his temperament and personality he might have suffered from bipolar disorder , and he may also have been a drug addict.

    In The Loop: Staying Ahead Of Parkinsons Disease One Ping Pong Game At A Time

    Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Steve Grinnell has worked hard to stay active, stepping up his table tennis game and, thanks to co-workers, testing his skills outside his home.

    Four years ago, Steve Grinnell’s life was forever changed when doctors at Mayo Clinic in Rochester diagnosed him with early-onset Parkinson’s disease. Since that time, the progressive nervous system disorder has begun to take a toll on Steve and his family, just as it does on the millions of other Americans living with the disease. “It has greatly diminished his quality of life, leaving him with tremors, physical exhaustion, impaired balance, troubled grasping things with his right hand, slow right-arm movement and problems sleeping,” the Rochester Post-Bulletin recently reported. “That’s to name just a few of his symptoms.”

    Reading that, one might assume the disorder is winning. And to Steve, sometimes it feels like it is. But much of the time, he tells us he also feels like he’s staying one step ahead of the disease by staying as physically active as possible. “Parkinson’s presents such a conundrum because it wears you down physically, and yet exercise is so valuable,” Steve says. “My legs, feet and right arm are always cramping, so it takes mental effort to get moving.”

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    Which Medicines Are Used To Treat Parkinson’s Disease

    Guidelines released by the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network recommend starting with a dopamine agonist, levodopa with a dopa-decarboxylase inhibitor or a monoamine-oxidase inhibitor. Other medicines are also sometimes used, usually in addition to one of these three main types of medication.

    Why The Lower Risk

    Parkinson

    Studies conducted around the world, and across race, ethnic and age groups, support the finding that women overall have a lower risk of developing PD than men, but we still dont know why. Environmental factors could explain this lower risk. It may be that women are less likely than men to be exposed to pesticides or heavy metals, or to sustain a head injuryall of which may increase a persons PD risk.

    Biological differences between women and men may also play a role. Estrogen, the female sex hormone, may protect the brain against PD, but little is known about its influence. If estrogen is preventative, it may only be helpful at certain levels or for a specific time.

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    How Is Parkinson’s Disease Treated

    If a doctor thinks a person has Parkinson’s disease, there’s reason for hope. Medicine can be used to eliminate or improve the symptoms, like the body tremors. And some experts think that a cure may be found soon.

    For now, a medicine called levodopa is often given to people who have Parkinson’s disease. Called “L-dopa,” this medicine increases the amount of dopamine in the body and has been shown to improve a person’s ability to walk and move around. Other drugs also help decrease and manage the symptoms by affecting dopamine levels. In some cases, surgery may be needed to treat it. The person would get anesthesia, a special kind of medicine to prevent pain during the operation.

    Parkinson’s Personality: Disease More Likely To Strike Cautious People

    30 April 2012

    Some personality traits appear to be linked with the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, a new study suggests.

    The results show patients with Parkinson’s disease are more likely to be cautious and avoid taking risks compared with people who don’t have Parkinson’s.

    Moreover, the tendency to avoid taking risks appears to be a stable personality trait across a patient’s lifetime as far back as 30 years before symptoms began, those with Parkinson’s disease said they did not often engage in risky or exhilarating activities, such as riding roller coasters or speeding, the study found.

    The findings add to a growing body of research suggesting Parkinson’s is more likely to afflict people with rigid, cautious personalities.

    It’s possible that what we consider to be aspects of someone’s personality may in fact be very early manifestations of Parkinson’s, said study researcher Kelly Sullivan, of the University of South Florida’s department of neurology. However, much more research is needed to confirm this hypothesis, Sullivan said.

    It’s also way too soon to say that having a “look before you leap” personality puts you at risk for Parkinson’s.

    “I’m not a big risk-taker, but at the same time, I haven’t resigned myself that I’m going to have Parkinson’s,” Sullivan said.

    Parkinson’s personality

    They also asked questions to gauge participants’ current personalities.

    Too little dopamine

    Pass it on: Parkinson’s diseases patients tend to have more cautious personalities.

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    Other Medicines Used For Pd

    • Catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitors are relatively new medicines. They include tolcapone, entacapone and opicapone. These help to stop the breakdown of levodopa by the body, so more of each dose of levodopa can get into the brain to work. A COMT inhibitor is sometimes advised in addition to levodopa when symptoms are not well controlled by levodopa alone.
    • Other medicines are sometimes used to help relieve symptoms. They have various effects which try to correct the chemical imbalance in the brain. They include beta-blockers, amantadine and anticholinergic medicines. One of these may be tried when symptoms are mild. However, you are likely to need levodopa or a dopamine agonist at some point.

    Various things may influence which medicine is advised. For example, your age, severity of symptoms, how well your symptoms respond to treatment, if side-effects develop, other medicines that you may take, etc. Your specialist will advise on the best medicine for you to take. Whatever medicine or medicines you are prescribed, read the leaflet in the medicine packet for a full list of possible side-effects. Mention to your doctor if you develop a troublesome side-effect. A modification of the dose, dose schedule, or the type of medication, may be possible to help keep side-effects to a minimum.

    Levodopa Makes Symptoms Worse

    Top 3 Tips for Feeling Great and Living Well with Parkinson’s Disease

    Another misconception about levodopa is that it can make Parkinsons disease symptoms worse. This is not true.

    It is important to note that levodopa can cause other motor symptoms, such as dyskinesia, which refers to involuntary jerky movements. However, the onset of dyskinesia is to the progress of the underlying disease rather than how long an individual has been taking levodopa.

    Therefore, doctors no longer recommend holding off on taking levodopa until later in the disease.

    According to the American Parkinsons Disease Association , dyskinesia does not generally appear until the individual has been taking levodopa for 410 years. The APDA also writes:

    Dyskinesia in its milder form may not be bothersome, and the mobility afforded by taking levodopa may be preferable to the immobility associated with not taking levodopa. People with Parkinsons must weigh the benefits from using levodopa versus the impact of dyskinesia on their quality of life.

    Tremor is perhaps one of the most recognizable symptoms of Parkinsons disease. However, some people develop nonmotor symptoms before tremor appears.

    Also, some individuals do not experience tremor at any point during the diseases progression.

    Speaking with MNT, Dr. Beck explained, About 20% of people with Parkinsons disease do not develop a tremor. Although scientists do not know why this is the case, Dr. Beck believes that tremor severity, in general, might depend on which brain regions the disease affects.

    Also Check: Can Parkinson’s Run In The Family

    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.

      What Else Do We Know

      As scientists try to learn what’s at the root of Parkinson’s, they’re looking far and wide to pick up clues where they can.

      They’ve found that people with Parkinson’s tend to have something called Lewy bodies in their brain. These are unusual clumps of a protein called alpha-synuclein. The protein itself is normal, but the clumps are not. And they’re found in parts of the brain that affect sleep and sense of smell, which could explain some symptoms of Parkinson’s not related to movement.

      Your gut may also have a part in it, as some of its cells make dopamine, too. Some doctors think that this might be where the earliest signs of Parkinson’s show up, but that idea needs more research.

      Read Also: Parkinson’s And Memory

      What Are Parkinsons Delusions

      Delusions are thoughts that arent grounded in reality. Theyre not as common as hallucinations, affecting only about 8 percent of people with Parkinsons disease. But they are harder to treat.

      The most common delusions involve paranoia for example, the feeling that people are out to get you, or that your partner is cheating on you. Having these thoughts can lead to aggressive or even dangerous behavior.

      Youll start with a visit to your doctor for an evaluation. Your doctor may diagnose you with this condition if you:

      • have had symptoms like hallucinations and delusions for at least 1 month
      • dont have another condition that could be causing these symptoms, like dementia, delirium, major depression, or schizophrenia

      Not everyone with Parkinsons disease will develop psychosis. Youre more likely to have this if you:

      • are older

      There are two possible causes of Parkinsons psychosis:

      • changes in levels of brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine from the disease itself
      • changes in levels of these chemicals from medications that treat Parkinsons disease

      Dopamine is a chemical that helps your body move smoothly. People with Parkinsons disease have lower than normal levels of dopamine, which causes their body to move stiffly.

      Drugs that treat Parkinsons improve movement by increasing dopamine levels. Yet they can sometimes cause psychosis as a side effect.

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