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.
How Will The Disease Affect My Life
Most people who have Parkinsonâs live a normal to a nearly normal lifespan, but the disease can be life changing.
For some people, treatment keeps the symptoms at bay, and they’re mostly mild. For others, the disease is much more serious and really limits what you’re able to do.
As it gets worse, it makes it harder and harder to do daily activities like getting out of bed, driving, or going to work. Even writing can seem like a tough task. And in later stages, it can cause dementia.
Even though Parkinson’s can have a big impact on your life, with the right treatment and help from your health care team, you can still enjoy the things you love. It’s important to reach out to family and friends for support. Learning to live with Parkinson’s means making sure you get the backing you need.
Motor System: Levels Of Description
Our concern is to address the relationship between motor symptoms and motor control. This is a distinct endeavor from reviewing the neurophysiology of motor symptoms, although the two are closely related. The distinction is perhaps best described in the language of David Marrs levels of description of an information processing system . The motor system can be considered such a system, in the sense that it receives information and produces outputs . Therefore, like all information processing systems, the motor system can be described at three levels: computational, algorithmic, and physical.
The other two levels of description are the algorithmic and implementation levels. Whereas the computational level describes what the motor system does and why, algorithms describe how the goals are accomplished. For a reaching movement, the motor system might first represent the desired trajectory in space and then activate muscles as needed in order to keep the hand on course along the desired path. The implementation level describes the operation of the physical structures that actually perform the computation. The motor systems hardware mainly consists of neurons and muscles, which communicate via electrical impulses and chemical substances and are connected together as circuits.
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Medicines For Parkinson’s Disease
Medicines prescribed for Parkinson’s include:
- Drugs that increase the level of dopamine in the brain
- Drugs that affect other brain chemicals in the body
- Drugs that help control nonmotor symptoms
The main therapy for Parkinson’s is levodopa, also called L-dopa. Nerve cells use levodopa to make dopamine to replenish the brain’s dwindling supply. Usually, people take levodopa along with another medication called carbidopa. Carbidopa prevents or reduces some of the side effects of levodopa therapysuch as nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, and restlessnessand reduces the amount of levodopa needed to improve symptoms.
People with Parkinson’s should never stop taking levodopa without telling their doctor. Suddenly stopping the drug may have serious side effects, such as being unable to move or having difficulty breathing.
Other medicines used to treat Parkinsons symptoms include:
- Dopamine agonists to mimic the role of dopamine in the brain
- MAO-B inhibitors to slow down an enzyme that breaks down dopamine in the brain
- COMT inhibitors to help break down dopamine
- Amantadine, an old antiviral drug, to reduce involuntary movements
- Anticholinergic drugs to reduce tremors and muscle rigidity
Some Parkinson’s Treatment Options
Parkinson’s disease has no cure, but there are treatment options to control your symptoms and improve your quality of life which include:
- Medication. Levodopa and other medications, which are trying to boost dopamine . There are number of those medications which can be used alone or in combination. Although many of those medications can help you significantly control your motor symptoms , you might also experience side effects and diminished efficacy over time.
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapy are usually part of your treatment plan and can improve your balance, mobility, ability to do daily tasks, and speech.
- Deep brain stimulation is a surgery performed by a neurosurgeon, and in indicated patients can help with motor symptoms, though non-motor symptoms, such as falls, constipation, low blood pressure and incontinence do not improve.
- Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that may help sufferers regain some of their balance and strength, as well as decrease the risk of falling. Dance, such as a Zumba, may also help, as can using a stationary bicycle and rock steady boxing.
Many treatment options for Parkinson’s are most effective when used in conjunction with others such as taking medication and doing physical therapy.
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Southern Cross Medical Library
The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease
You can attribute the symptoms of Parkinson’s to a deficiency of a chemical in your brain called dopamine. The four classic motor symptoms of Parkinson’s include:
Shaking and tremors while you are resting is typically the first sign of Parkinson’s disease, but about one-third of patients won’t experience those symptoms. These symptoms tend to be worsened by emotional and physical stress. Sleep or moving can help reduce these issues.
Parkinson’s disease is both chronic and progressive with symptoms generally getting worse as time goes on. As it progresses, other disabilities can develop, including:
- Difficulty talking and swallowing
- A sudden inability to move,
Some sufferers also have symptoms that don’t affect their motor skills, including:
- Mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and memory loss
- Loss of smell
- Trouble sleeping, including thrashing and other sudden movements
- Change in blood pressure
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Living With Parkinsons Disease
Living with a chronic illness can be frustrating and discouraging. Parkinsons will gradually get worse. You will eventually have trouble with simple tasks. These include walking, talking, and eating, among many others. It is common for people with Parkinsons to develop depression. Antidepressant medicines are available and can help with your depression symptoms. If youve been feeling persistently sad or hopeless, call your doctor. There is help available.
Joining a support group can be particularly helpful for Parkinsons patients. It is helpful to have people around you who know exactly what youre going through. It is also a good idea to eat a healthy diet, exercise, and stay as active as you can.
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.
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What Medications Are Used To Treat Parkinsons Disease
Medications are the main treatment method for patients with Parkinsons 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 Parkinsons 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 Parkinsons disease.
Levodopa: Levodopa is a main treatment for the slowness of movement, tremor, and stiffness symptoms of Parkinsons disease. Nerve cells use levodopa to make dopamine, which replenishes the low amount found in the brain of persons with Parkinsons 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 .
How Do You Contract Mononucleosis
The Epstein-Barr virus is one of the eight known viruses of the herpes family. This disease is very contagious, and it can also result from other diseases. This disease affects young adults and teenagers. Those who contract this disease develop the signs and symptoms after being infected for a month. The symptoms take time before appearing in a person. The signs include:
- Body rash
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The mono virus is usually spread from a person to another through saliva. This leads to infection of the B lymphocytes in the mouth and the throat. This leads to its nickname of the kissing disease, since it spread widely through kissing. This person with this disease can then spread it to another person through sneezing and coughing, where the spurts of saliva and mucus carry the virus which then spreads to the other person through air. Also, the sharing of drinks and food could spread the disease by using the same utensils that could transfer the saliva particles while feeding. In some cases, this disease can be transmitted to the other person through a blood transfusion from someone who has the virus. Tears can also carry the virus and can spread to another person. Sometimes people contract this disease but dont realise it, since it doesn’t cause any signs and symptoms until it starts spreading to other people. This disease reactivates later.
Other infections that can lead to mononucleosis include the following:
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What Is The Outlook For Persons With Parkinsons Disease
Although there is no cure or absolute evidence of ways to prevent Parkinsons 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 teams 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 Parkinsons 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.
Toilet Habits And Constipation In Parkinsons Disease
Suggestions for good toilet habits include:
- Go to the toilet as soon as you feel the urge to pass a bowel motion. Hanging on can contribute to constipation.
- Use the correct posture on the toilet to help you pass a bowel motion place your elbows on your knees, bulge out your stomach, straighten your spine and put your feet on a footstool.
- Avoid holding your breath and dont strain when you are on the toilet. Allow yourself plenty of time.
- Use a warm washcloth pressed against your back passage or gently massage with one or two fingers to help to relax the muscles.
- Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about medicines to help soften your bowel motions.
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Causes Of Constipation In Parkinsons Disease
The ways in which Parkinsons disease can increase the risk of constipation include:
- lack of dopamine in the brain impairs control of muscle movement throughout the body. Bowel muscles can become slow and rigid
- uncoordinated bowel motions the bowel muscles may be weak and unable to contract, or they may clench instead of relaxing when trying to pass a motion
- eating problems dietary fibre containing insoluble fibre adds bulk to your bowel motions and can help prevent constipation. However, if a person with Parkinsons disease finds it difficult to chew or swallow, they may avoid eating fibrous foods
- drinking problems you need water to plump up the dietary fibre in your bowel motions. Swallowing difficulties may discourage a person with Parkinsons disease from drinking enough fluids
- sedentary lifestyle lack of exercise slows the passage of food through your intestines. Parkinsons disease reduces muscle control, so lack of exercise is common
- medications many different medications can cause constipation. Medications used in the treatment of Parkinsons disease may slow bowel movements or cause a decrease in appetite.
Fluids For Constipation In Parkinsons Disease
Be guided by your doctor, but general suggestions include:
- Try to drink six to eight glasses of fluid every day. Water is best, but you can also include fluid in the form of soup, juice, tea and coffee.
- Limit drinks that cause dehydration such as alcohol, tea and coffee.
- Spread your drinks throughout the day.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Could Parkinsons disease be a sign of another condition?
- Does Parkinsons disease run in families? Am I at risk?
- What kinds of tests will I need?
- What is being done to find a cure for Parkinsons disease?
- What types of medicines treat Parkinsons disease, and are there side effects?
- What are my chances of developing Parkinsons-related dementia?
- Will I eventually need long-term care?
- Can I die from Parkinsons disease?
Potential Causes Of Parkinsons Disease
The causes of Parkinsons disease are still unknown, although there is some evidence for the role of genetics, environmental factors, or a combination of both. It is also possible that there may be more than one cause of the disease. Scientists generally believe that both genetics and environment interact to cause Parkinsons disease in most people who have it.
Currently, there is an enormous amount of research directed at producing more answers about what causes Parkinsons disease and how it might be prevented or cured. When physicians diagnose Parkinsons, they often describe it as idiopathic . This simply means that the cause of the disease is not known.
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Complications Related To Parkinson’s Can Affect Survival
Claudia Chaves, MD, is board-certified in cerebrovascular disease and neurology with a subspecialty certification in vascular neurology.
Parkinson’s is a common neurodegenerative disease, and although it is not fatal, research suggests it may influence life expectancy.
A 2012 study in Archives of Neurology examined the six-year survival of nearly 140,000 Medicare beneficiaries with Parkinson’s disease in the United States. During the six-year period, 64% of the participants with Parkinson’s disease passed away.
The risk of death of those with Parkinson’s was then compared to Medicare beneficiaries who did not have Parkinson’s or any other common diseases, including:
When controlling for variables like age, race, and gender, the six-year risk of death among people with Parkinson’s was found to be nearly four times greater than those Medicare beneficiaries without the disease or other common diseases.
At the same time, the rate of death among those with Parkinson’s disease was similar to those with hip fracture, Alzheimer’s dementia, or a recent heart attackalthough it was higher than those who had been newly diagnosed with either colorectal cancer, stroke, ischemic heart disease, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
What Is Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease is a progressive brain disorder that affects mobility and mental ability. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinsons, you may be wondering about life expectancy.
According to some research, on average, people with Parkinsons can expect to live almost as long as those who dont have the condition.
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Does Parkinsons Run In Families
Genetics cause about 10% to 15% of all Parkinsons cases. Studies reveal that the appearance of Parkinsons disease is a mix of genetics and environmental factors that induce the development of the disease.
In some families, changes in specific genes are passed down from generation to generation. Yes, Parkinsons disease can run in families, but it is rare. Despite that, if someone is positive for gene mutations directly correlated to Parkinsons disease, that does not mean that the patient will surely develop Parkinsons.
It is possible for people who inherit these genes not to develop the disease if there is no environmental factor that triggers it and a healthy lifestyle.
There are ongoing clinical trials testing therapies to treat people with Parkinsons that carry specific gene mutations. For doctors, it is essential to know which gene mutation does the patient carries.