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 Parkinsons. 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.
What Causes Anger And Irritability In Parkinsons
The emotional toll of a Parkinsons diagnosis and the limitations caused by the condition can lead to feelings of frustration, shame, or fear resulting in mood changes like anger and irritability.
However, Parkinsons is also considered a neuropsychiatric condition because the disease itself can cause mood disorders. Parkinsons causes a decrease in dopamine, a neurotransmitter that affects both movement and mood. Low dopamine neuron levels are associated with an increase in depression and anxiety among people with Parkinsons. The disease also causes abnormalities with a protein in the brain called alpha-synuclein. This protein is associated with behavioral disturbances and cognitive impairment in people with Parkinsons.
Dementia and psychoses are also caused by changes in brain chemistry due to Parkisons. These conditions can lead to delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, passage , and agitated behavior. Some Parkinsons medications used to treat depleted dopamine may cause psychosis-like behavior as a side effect.
Behavioral and mood disorders may be treated with antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or antipsychotic medications like clozapine, along with mental health counseling.
Young Onset Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease normally impacts people staring in their mid-to-late 60s. Young onset Parkinsons disease refers to people diagnosed with the condition before 50.
is incredibly rare, Beck said. The numbers are hard to come by but thought to be certainly less than 5% of all diagnoses each year are people under the age of 50.
There are some differences in people with young onset Parkinsons disease.
There seems to be a higher preponderance of those who may have a genetic mutation that can lead to Parkinsons disease, Beck explained.
Sometimes younger people face a delayed diagnosis. Take Days early symptom shoulder pain. Often achy muscles in a 40-something is a sign of aging.
The symptoms by themselves can make it difficult for the diagnosis. Its a constellation of symptoms, Beck said. There are four key symptoms that are called cardinal symptoms that people will develop.
The symptoms include:
- Bradykinesia, a slowness of movement.
- Balance or gait problems.
There are also a bunch of other symptoms that are associated with Parkinsons that are internal to the person, whats called non-motor symptoms. So that if you look at somebody who has Parkinsons they may look like theyre doing great, Beck said. But inside theyre having lots of problems.
- Low blood pressure, also known as orthostatic hypotension.
- Excessive sweating.
These non-motor symptoms can be really debilitating, he said. The autonomic nervous system kind of goes haywire.
Also Check: Parkinson Research Foundation Sarasota Fl
Type 2 Diabetes Linked To Increased Risk Of Parkinsons
Other previously identified early symptoms of Parkinsons, including constipation, fatigue, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction, were not considered risk factors in this study. The researchers noted that these symptoms may still have been present, but minorities and lower-income groups may be more resilient or less likely to consult primary care physicians about them, making them thus underreported.
Some evidence suggests that ethnic minority groups may show atypical disease symptoms, which could lead to a misdiagnosis. This study is limited by the fact that Parkinsons could have been underdiagnosed in this diverse study population, according to the team.
Nonetheless, the findings overall highlight early signs of Parkinsons that could be used to accelerate a diagnosis.
Its important that primary care practitioners are aware of these links and understand how early the symptoms of Parkinsons can appear, so that patients can get a timely diagnosis and doctors can act early to help manage the condition, said Simonet.
The researchers emphasized that the greatest strength of the study was its large, diverse patient population.
Parkinsons affects everyone, regardless of race or social background, but research has often failed to represent the diversity of the community, said Shafaq Hussain-Ali, a Parkinsons patient and a member of the Parkinsons UK Race Equality Steering Group.
How Does This Condition Affect My Body
Parkinsons disease causes a specific area of your brain, the basal ganglia, to deteriorate. As this area deteriorates, you lose the abilities those areas once controlled. Researchers have uncovered that Parkinsons disease causes a major shift in your brain chemistry.
Under normal circumstances, your brain uses chemicals known as neurotransmitters to control how your brain cells communicate with each other. When you have Parkinsons disease, you dont have enough dopamine, one of the most important neurotransmitters.
When your brain sends activation signals that tell your muscles to move, it fine-tunes your movements using cells that require dopamine. Thats why lack of dopamine causes the slowed movements and tremors symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
As Parkinson’s disease progresses, the symptoms expand and intensify. Later stages of the disease often affect how your brain functions, causing dementia-like symptoms and depression.
Recommended Reading: Type Of Tremor In Parkinson’s Disease
Doctors Told Me I Had Mom Fatigue In Reality I Had Young Onset Parkinsons Disease
After struggling for four years, I was finally given a diagnosis at 44.
In December 2017, I was a busy mom of three boys and an art teacher hoping to recharge over winter break, when I became overwhelmed with extreme fatigue one morning. I remember having to crawl out of the shower, too weak to stand or reach up to turn off the water from the shower head pelting my back. All I could do was call out for help.
Id been experiencing a slew of strange symptoms including blinding headaches, intense fatigue, and roller-coaster blood pressure for several years. But this was a new low for me. Kneeling in the shower, unable to lift myself up, I felt helpless. For three weeks, I was too weak to get out of bed.
In the past four years, Id visited numerous doctors in the hopes of figuring out what was wrong with me. I figured since I was in my early 40s, it was normal for me to feel tired and need a nap from time to time, but my exhaustion had become progressively worse. Then, I started to develop ulcers in my mouth which made it so difficult to eat I could only drink broth, and my hair started thinning out dramatically. I knew none of this was normal.
Parkinsons Early Signs And Symptoms
The early signs of Parkinsons can be difficult to spot at first, and not all Parkinsons early signs are directly related to movement, Hammel added.
You might have small tremors, but you also might notice you have smaller handwriting, he said. Some also have a softer or lower voice, and you might have trouble hearing them.
The Parkinsons Foundation lists the following as the 10 most common early signs of Parkinsons disease:
- Dry, flaking skin on the face and scalp
Read Also: Weighted Silverware For Parkinson’s
What Is The Treatment For Parkinsons Disease
There is currently no treatment to cure Parkinsons 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 Parkinsons 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 Parkinsons 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.
How Soon After Treatment Will I Feel Better And How Long Will It Take To Recover
The time it takes to recover and see the effects of Parkinson’s disease treatments depends strongly on the type of treatments, the severity of the condition and other factors. Your healthcare provider is the best person to offer more information about what you can expect from treatment. The information they give you can consider any unique factors that might affect what you experience.
You May Like: We Have Parkinson’s Review
Is There A Way To Slow The Progress Of Parkinson’s
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder, which means its symptoms worsen slowly over time. There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease yet and no known way to slow its progress.
But there are treatments and medications that can control or reduce the symptoms and help people live productive lives. Some research suggests that regular exercise may slow the progress of Parkinson’s. Physical activity can also alleviate stiffness and other symptoms.
There are other things a person can do to feel better after a diagnosis of Parkinson’s, such as joining social support groups and learning as much as possible about the disease. It’s also important to make the home safer and less cluttered, since a person with Parkinson’s is more likely to fall.
While it’s not always easy, neurologists say a positive mindset can also help.
What Causes The Condition
Although there are several recognized risk factors for Parkinsons disease, such as exposure to pesticides, for now, the only confirmed causes of Parkinsons disease are genetic. When Parkinsons disease isnt genetic, experts classify it as idiopathic . That means they dont know exactly why it happens.
Many conditions look like Parkinson’s disease but are instead parkinsonism from a specific cause like some psychiatric medications.
Familial Parkinsons disease
Parkinsons disease can have a familial cause, which means you can inherit it from one or both of your parents. However, this only makes up about 10% of all cases.
Experts have linked at least seven different genes to Parkinson’s disease. They’ve linked three of those to early-onset of the condition . Some genetic mutations also cause unique, distinguishing features.
Idiopathic Parkinsons disease
Experts believe idiopathic Parkinsons disease happens because of problems with how your body uses a protein called -synuclein . Proteins are chemical molecules that have a very specific shape. When some proteins dont have the correct shape a problem known as protein misfolding your body cant use them and can’t break them down.
With nowhere to go, the proteins build up in various places or in certain cells . The buildup of these Lewy bodies causes toxic effects and cell damage.
The possible causes are:
Also Check: Does Parkinson’s Disease Cause Death
Where To Get More Information
- If you’re experiencing any symptoms and are concerned, see your GP.
- To learn more about Parkinson’s disease and to find support, visit Parkinson’s Australia or call the Info Line on 1800 644 189.
- The Shake It Up Australia Foundation partners with The Michael J. Fox Foundation to help raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s disease research.
- The Garvan Institute of Medical Research is working hard to find ways to diagnose Parkinson’s earlier and repurpose existing drugs to slow its progress. Find out more here.
- The Young Onset Parkinsons Exchange is an app and online resource for people living with young onset Parkinsons.
Causes Of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the part of the brain called the substantia nigra.
Nerve cells in this part of the brain are responsible for producing a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine acts as a messenger between the parts of the brain and nervous system that help control and co-ordinate body movements.
If these nerve cells die or become damaged, the amount of dopamine in the brain is reduced. This means the part of the brain controlling movement can’t work as well as normal, causing movements to become slow and abnormal.
The loss of nerve cells is a slow process. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease usually only start to develop when around 80% of the nerve cells in the substantia nigra have been lost.
Recommended Reading: How To Stop Parkinson’s Disease
This Was One Of A Few Times I Felt Like I Was Losing My Mind
Members of my own family had begun to question the validity of my symptoms, too. When you dont have the support of the people closest to you, of course you begin to question yourself. I fell into a depression.
After I collapsed in the shower, I pushed through one more semester at school. At the end of the school year, my contract was not renewed. I couldnt help but wonder if this was because Id lost my sparkle. I struggled to fight the hopelessness that so much uncertainty can breed.
Early Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease of the nervous system that affects movement. Approximately 1 million people in the U.S. are living with the disease. This year, about 60,000 more will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Many people associate Parkinson’s disease with tremors or shaking of their hands. While this is a common symptom, other important symptoms include stiffness of muscles and slowing of movement.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease usually start on one side of the body. They usually remain worse on that side even after symptoms begin to affect both sides.
The early signs and symptoms are different for each person. The symptoms may be mild enough to go unnoticed for months or years.
Here are early symptoms that can raise concern for Parkinson’s disease:
- Smaller handwriting
- Family members may observe that one arm swings less on one side when walking.
- Soft or low voice Again, it is family members or friends who may ask one to speak louder. The speech may be more of a monotone without the usual inflections.
It is the combination of several symptoms that would raise suspicion for Parkinson’s disease. A single symptom is not enough to make a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
It is important to talk with your health care provider if you have any of the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease. This is to properly diagnose the condition and rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.
Read Also: Michael J Fox Parkinsons Diagnosis
Studies Of Patients With Non
The Parkinsons Associated Risk Study is an ongoing large study whose goal is to evaluate specific tests for their ability to predict an increased risk of PD. The ultimate goal is to find a set of tests that can predict the future development of PD. The study has evaluated smell tests, questionnaires that probe mood, bowel habits and sleep disorders, as well as the dopamine transporter imaging test, commonly referred to as DaTscan.
A DaTscan involves injecting a small amount of a radioactive tracer into the bloodstream. The tracer makes its way into the brain and binds to the dopamine transporters, which are molecules on the surface of the dopamine neurons. In PD, there are fewer of these neurons and therefore there is less uptake of the tracer in the brain. A brain scan then determines if the amount of uptake of the tracer is normal or decreased. Currently, this test is approved to distinguish between PD and a neurologic condition known as essential tremor, a tremor disorder which is not caused by an abnormality of the dopamine system.
DaTscan is not yet approved to determine if patients who are experiencing only the non-motor symptoms of PD, in fact have PD. However, it is known that a DaTscan can be abnormal even before motor symptoms are present. The PARS study is investigating whether in the future, a DaTscan can be part of an algorithm to determine who is at risk of developing PD.
Tips and takeaways
How Is Parkinsons Treated
While there currently is no cure for Parkinsons, there are medications that can help slow the progression of the disease. A combination of the prescription drugs Levopoda and Carbidopa are often prescribed to those living with Parkinsons. These can help reduce tremors and rigidity.
Hammel said any combinations of medications prescribed should be accompanied by an exercise program.
There are two things that 110% dictate the progression of the disease: the medications your neurologist recommends and physical activity, he said. Its like they say, if you dont use it you lose it. Thats true with movement.
Research indicates that regular exercise can slow the decline in those with Parkinsons. Exercise can also save dopamine, Hammel added. Loss of dopamine is what causes the disease in the first place, so, exercise is huge, he said.
There are several Parkinsons exercise programs out there. Check with your doctor to see which one is right for you.
Don’t Miss: Medical Weed For Parkinson’s Disease