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How Do You Know If You Have Parkinson’s

What Makes Pd Hard To Predict

What are the important things to know if I have Parkinson’s Disease?

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.

Is Parkinsons Disease Fatal

Parkinsons disease itself doesnt cause death. However, symptoms related to Parkinsons can be fatal. For example, injuries that occur because of a fall or problems associated with dementia can be fatal.

Some people with Parkinsons experience difficulty swallowing. This can lead to aspiration pneumonia. This condition is caused when foods, or other foreign objects, are inhaled into the lungs.

Parkinson’s Disease Diet And Nutrition

Maintaining Your Weight With Parkinson’s Disease

Malnutrition and weight maintenance is often an issue for people with Parkinson’s disease. Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy weight.

  • Weigh yourself once or twice a week, unless your doctor recommends weighing yourself often. If you are taking diuretics or steroids, such as prednisone, you should weigh yourself daily.
  • If you have an unexplained weight gain or loss , contact your doctor. He or she may want to modify your food or fluid intake to help manage your condition.
  • Avoid low-fat or low-calorie products. . Use whole milk, whole milk cheese, and yogurt.

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How Is Parkinson’s Treated

Although there’s currently no cure for Parkinson’s, treatments are available to help reduce symptoms and maintain quality of life for as long as possible. These include:

  • supportive therapies, such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy
  • medication
  • deep brain stimulation .

If you have mild symptoms of Parkinsons, your doctor might not recommend medication and instead focus on supportive therapy and lifestyle improvements such as exercise and relaxation. As your symptoms progress, you will be prescribed medication.

How Many People Have Parkinsons Disease

Parkinson

Worldwide, there are more than 10 million Parkinsons patients and the Parkinsons Foundation predicts nearly 1 million Americans will have PD by 2020. Each year, the U.S. sees around 60,000 new diagnoses. Age and gender are the greatest risk factors. Around 96 percent of patients are over the age of 50 and men are around 1.5 times more likely to have PD.

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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.

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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What Are The Risk Factors For Parkinsons Disease

Risk factors for Parkinsons disease include:

Genetics

People with a first-degree relative with Parkinsons are at an increased risk for the disease possibly as much as 9 percent greater.

Fifteen to 25 percent of people with Parkinsons have a known relative with the disease, but a condition called familial Parkinsons, which has a known genetic link, is relatively rare.

The average age of onset is 60 years, and the incidence rises with advancing age. About 10 percent of people have early-onset or young-onset disease, which begins before age 50.

Gender

Parkinsons affects about 50 percent more men than women, for unknown reasons.

Pesticide Exposure

Exposure to some pesticides has been shown to raise the risk of developing Parkinsons.

Problematic chemicals include organochlorine pesticides like DDT, dieldrin, and chlordane. Rotenone and permethrin have also been implicated.

Fungicide and Herbicide Exposure

Exposure to the fungicide maneb or the herbicides 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid , paraquat, or Agent Orange may raise the risk of Parkinsons.

The U.S. Veterans Health Administration considers Parkinsons to be a possible service-related illness if the person was exposed to significant amounts of Agent Orange.

Head Injuries

Head injuries may contribute to the development of Parkinsons in some people.

Coffee and Smoking

People who drink coffee or smoke tobacco have been found to have a lower risk of Parkinsons disease, for reasons that remain unclear.

How Can Parkinsons Affect My Driving

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Driving is a complex task. It requires physical strength, mobility, good reflexes and reaction time, depth perception, good eyesight and hearing and the ability to multi-task and keep track of many visual and spatial inputs at once.

Some of the symptoms of Parkinsons can make executing all of those tasks a challenge. A few symptoms that are the most troublesome when it comes to driving include:

  • Tremor in legs, arms and hands
  • Compromised balance
  • Freezing that can make it difficult to get moving again once youve been still
  • Slower reaction time and diminished reflexes
  • Side effects from taking medications such as sleepiness, blurred vision and confusion
  • Mild to severe cognitive impairment
  • Dementia

Many of the medications you may be taking can dramatically mitigate your symptoms however, its important to remain vigilant when considering how safe youre able to be on the road.

If youre still driving, here are a few actions you can take to optimize your safety and the safety of others:

  • Reduce distractions such as talking, eating, listening to the radio or anything else that requires concentration
  • Avoid night driving if your vision is worse in the dark
  • Avoid driving during off times when your medication isnt as effective
  • Use a GPS system and plan ahead of time if youll be driving in unfamiliar areas
  • Avoid driving when youre tired

If you get to a point when youre starting to wonder if you should still be driving, there are several things you can do.

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Do People Actually Lose Their Sense Of Smell With Parkinsons

A: Yes. Its a condition called anosmia, and if you have it with no other disease , you have at least a 50 percent chance of developing Parkinsons disease in the next five to 10 years. What happens is that alpha-synuclein, the protein that clumps in the part of the brain that regulates dopamine and leads to Parkinsons disease, also aggregates in the olfactory bulb, the part of the brain responsible for your sense of smell. This happens well before the protein accumulations cause motor symptoms.

Children Seven And Under

Begin by mentioning symptoms they may have already noticed. You might ask, Have you noticed that my hand is sometimes shaky, or that Ive been walking slower? We talked to the doctor, and it turns out that I have something called Parkinsons.

Give them the basic facts. Let them share what they have noticed, talk about things that might change, and stress that your medication is helping you feel better. Be clear and consistent in what you say and dont let the conversation go on too long. Remember, children pick up on a lot and will often mirror your demeanor. Maintain a positive attitude and make it okay for them to go on as before.

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Prevention Of Parkinsons Disease

Researchers dont know of any proven ways to prevent Parkinsons disease, but avoiding certain risk factors and adopting a healthy lifestyle may help reduce your risk.

Some studies have shown a diet high in antioxidants along with regular exercise may play a role in preventing Parkinsons. Other findings have suggested that compounds like caffeine, niacin, and nicotine may have a protective effect against Parkinsons disease.

Signs Of Parkinsons Disease

One Surprising Thing You Should Know About Parkinson

In 1817, Dr. James Parkinson published An Essay on the Shaking Palsy describing non-motor, as well as, motor symptoms of the illness that bears his name. Parkinsons is not just a movement disorder, explained Dr. Shprecher. Constipation, impaired sense of smell, and dream enactment can occur years before motor symptoms of Parkinsons. The latter, caused by a condition called REM sleep behavior disorder, is a very strong risk factor for both Parkinsons and dementia . This has prompted us to join a consortium of centers studying REM sleep behavior disorder.

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Disease Or Functional Problem

For a person with ET, its not much comfort to call tremors a functional problem. When tremors are severe and incapacitating, it feels like a disease condition. However, in medical terms, a disease is an organic or pathological state with cellular changes that can usually be identified or diagnosed by physical tests. Such tests include blood and tissue analysis that may reveal distinct cellular changes or biomarkers, and various types of imaging for abnormalities . Also, many diseases lead to death if left untreated, or if there is no known cure. Thus, ET does not qualify as a diseasebut this is of little comfort if tremors become so severe that life is no longer normal.

However, ET is sometimes incorrectly diagnosed as Parkinsons disease . One of the main symptoms of PD is tremors, usually starting in the fingers or hands, but which can also affect other parts of the body as the disease progresses. In addition, PD brings stiffness and rigidity, slowness of voluntary movements, facial and postural drooping, balance and gait problems, skin abnormalities, cognitive and emotional difficulties, and eventually near-total disability. Thus, a diagnosis of PD is devastating.

Is There A Cure For Parkinsons

Theres currently no cure for Parkinsons, a disease that is chronic and worsens over time. More than 50,000 new cases are reported in the United States each year. But there may be even more, since Parkinsons is often misdiagnosed.

Its reported that Parkinsons complications was the

Complications from Parkinsons can greatly reduce quality of life and prognosis. For example, individuals with Parkinsons can experience dangerous falls, as well as blood clots in the lungs and legs. These complications can be fatal.

Proper treatment improves your prognosis, and it increases life expectancy.

It may not be possible to slow the progression of Parkinsons, but you can work to overcome the obstacles and complications to have a better quality of life for as long as possible.

Parkinsons disease is not fatal. However, Parkinsons-related complications can shorten the lifespan of people diagnosed with the disease.

Having Parkinsons increases a persons risk for potentially life threatening complications, like experiencing:

  • falls

Parkinsons often causes problems with daily activities. But very simple exercises and stretches may help you move around and walk more safely.

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Can Parkinsons Disease Be Prevented

Unfortunately, no. Parkinsons disease is long-term disease that worsens over time. Although there is no way to prevent or cure the disease , medications may significantly relieve your symptoms. In some patients especially those with later-stage disease, surgery to improve symptoms may be an option.

Exercise Is Vital For Managing Parkinsons Disease

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Research shows that people with Parkinsons disease who exercised a minimum of two and a half hours a week experienced a slower decline in quality of life. Regular exercise helps significantly with maintaining balance, mobility and the ability to accomplish daily tasks. Workouts that focus on flexibility, stretching, aerobic activity and resistance training such as tai chi, Pilates and dance are often the most appropriate.

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Research And Statistics: Who Has Parkinsons Disease

According to the Parkinsons Foundation, nearly 1 million people in the United States are living with the disease. More than 10 million people worldwide have Parkinsons.

About 4 percent of people with Parkinsons are diagnosed before age 50.

Men are 1.5 times more likely to develop the disease than women.

The 5 Stages Of Parkinsons Disease

Getting older is underrated by most. Its a joyful experience to sit back, relax and watch the people in your life grow up, have kids of their own and flourish. Age can be a beautiful thing, even as our bodies begin to slow down. We spoke with David Shprecher, DO, movement disorders director at Banner Sun Health Research Institute about a well-known illness which afflicts as many as 2% of people older than 65, Parkinsons Disease.

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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.

Incidence Of Parkinsons Disease

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Its estimated that approximately four people per 1,000 in Australia have Parkinsons disease, with the incidence increasing to one in 100 over the age of 60. In Australia, there are approximately 80,000 people living with Parkinsons disease, with one in five of these people being diagnosed before the age of 50. In Victoria, more than 2,225 people are newly diagnosed with Parkinsons every year.

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Other Challenges Of Diagnosing Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsons disease progresses slowly, often with non-motor symptoms appearing months or years before motor symptoms. This can make it challenging for doctors to diagnose you in the early stages, especially since the diagnostic criteria is based mostly on motor symptoms. You may have to wait until your symptoms progress for you and your doctor to confirm your diagnosis.14

Age and gender can be another issue. Since Parkinsons is associated more with older men, doctors may not think their younger or female patients have Parkinsons.5 On the other hand, since the disease is associated with aging, your symptoms may be blamed on getting older.

Remember that movement disorder specialists are extremely knowledgeable about Parkinsons disease and can help put the pieces together where other more generalized doctors may not. Never hesitate to fight for the care you deserve.

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What Tests Might I Have

Your doctor may want to start by testing your blood or doing a brain scan to rule out other conditions.

People who have Parkinsonâs disease donât make enough of a brain chemical called dopamine, which helps you move. If those first tests donât show a reason for your symptoms, your doctor may ask you to try a medication called carbidopa-levodopa, which your brain can turn into dopamine. If your symptoms get much better after you start the drug, your doctor probably will tell you that you have Parkinsonâs disease.

If the medication doesnât work for you and thereâs no other explanation for your issues, your doctor might suggest an imaging test called a DaTscan. This uses a small amount of a radioactive drug and a special scanner, called a single photon emission computed tomography scanner, to see how much dopamine is in your brain. This test can’t tell you for sure that you have Parkinson’s disease, but it can give your doctor more information to work with.

It can take a long time for some people to get a diagnosis. You may need to see your neurologist regularly so they can keep an eye on your symptoms and eventually figure out whatâs behind them.

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What Is Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinsons disease occurs when brain cells that make dopamine, a chemical that coordinates movement, stop working or die. Because PD can cause tremor, slowness, stiffness, and walking and balance problems, it is called a movement disorder. But constipation, depression, memory problems and other non-movement symptoms also can be part of Parkinsons. PD is a lifelong and progressive disease, which means that symptoms slowly worsen over time.

The experience of living with Parkinson’s over the course of a lifetime is unique to each person. As symptoms and progression vary from person to person, neither you nor your doctor can predict which symptoms you will get, when you will get them or how severe they will be. Even though broad paths of similarity are observed among individuals with PD as the disease progresses, there is no guarantee you will experience what you see in others.

Parkinsons affects nearly 1 million people in the United States and more than 6 million people worldwide.

For an in-depth guide to navigating Parkinsons disease and living well as the disease progresses, check out our Parkinsons 360 toolkit.

What Is Parkinson’s Disease?

Dr. Rachel Dolhun, a movement disorder specialist and vice president of medical communications at The Michael J. Fox Foundation, breaks down the basics of Parkinson’s.

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