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How To Tell If You Have Parkinson’s

Do What You Can While You Can

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

I have had Parkinsons disease for nearly 20 years. My wife is a teacher, so we travel every summer when she is not working. Since my diagnosis, I have been to China, Nepal, Prague, Paris and many other places. The Parkinsons comes along, too, so our trips require more planning than they used to and we involve my care team. We factor in daily naps and take it slow. My balance isnt as good as it used to be and too much walking wears me out so we bring a collapsible wheelchair along or make sure one is available. I also use a cane. I dont know how many more places we will get to visit as my disease continues to progress, but we have made some wonderful memories that we wouldnt have if we had let my Parkinsons dictate every aspect of our lives. Nicholas, diagnosed at 52, still traveling at 72

Many people with Parkinsons disease are not allowing the condition to take over their lives. Despite the everyday setbacks they face, they are still creating fulfilling lives for themselves by redirecting their attention to people and activities that bring them joy. You can do the same. Try building a few hobbies into your routine that will give you a break from dwelling on the disease. Find some activities that help you forget about Parkinsons for a while. That may be painting, writing, gardening, or reading to your grandchildren.

Importance Of Early Diagnosis

Its important to diagnose the cause of tremor symptoms early because each requires a different treatment approach. For instance, there are particular medications for PD that offset the loss of dopamine in the brain, and while they benefit almost every PD patient in the early stages, they are useless for ET. There are many interventions that are appropriate for either ET or PD that can ease symptoms, slow progression, and improve quality of life. An early diagnosis also helps the doctor, patient and family members to develop a go forward treatment strategy, set up an appointment schedule, find support, identify potential future needs, and plan accordingly.

A great asset of early and accurate diagnosis is that it enables patients and family empowerment to offset the discouragement, worry and fear that can accompany diagnosis. There is a saying that knowledge is power, and at Sperling Neurosurgery Associates we also believe knowledge is hope.

We are proud to offer an outpatient procedure called MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound to manage essential tremors, which is FDA approved to treat ET. MRgFUS does not require medication, there is no incision or drilling into the skull, and no exposure to radiation. Not only is it proven safe and effective for ET, it is currently in clinical trial for PD-related tremors, and we know that this is good reason for optimism about improved quality of life for those with tremors.

For more information contact Sperling Neurosurgery Associates

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 .

Recommended Reading: Parkinson’s Support Group For Caregivers

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.

Accept What You Can No Longer Do

Pin on Animated Parkinson

Over time, it may seem as though you are losing your independence because you can no longer do all the things you once did. As these losses occur, you will probably go through the five stages of grief identified by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. They include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Being aware of the issue or loss to which you are reacting will help you to move from one stage to another more easily.

No matter what your symptoms are, motor or non-motor symptoms, dont let Parkinsons beat you!

Recommended Reading: Parkinson’s Disease Exercise Program

Talking To Your Spouse/partner

As noted earlier, many people receive their Parkinsons diagnosis with their partner sitting next to them however, for those whose partner isnt there, its important to tell them in a timely manner so that you can plan to move forward together. Even if you want to protect them from the truth, or youre worried about how things might change, being open with them is critical.

If youre having trouble getting the words out, think about how you would feel if they hid a diagnosis like this from you. Take the time you need to come to terms with your diagnosis, but dont wait too long. You and your spouse can grow to understand Parkinsons by asking questions and seeking information together. Your partner or significant other may also have pertinent questions that you havent thought of or offer a different perspective that can help you see your diagnosis in a new way.

Your partner can also become a resource and an advocate for you. Once you have told them, they can help facilitate further disclosures of your diagnosis. For example, it may be particularly challenging to tell your children, but telling them together can make it easier. They may also help you practice for future conversations and work out what you do and dont want to share with specific people.

How To Recognize The Signs Of Parkinson’s Disease

This article was medically reviewed by . Dr. Litza is a board certified Family Medicine Physician in Wisconsin. She is a practicing Physician and taught as a Clinical Professor for 13 years, after receiving her MD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health in 1998.There are 17 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 139,702 times.

Experts say that symptoms of Parkinson’s disease usually start slowly with a tremor in one hand, along with stiffness and slowing movement. Over time, you may develop more symptoms on both sides of your body.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source Parkinson’s disease is a condition where your brain’s nerve cells don’t produce enough dopamine, which effects your motor skills. Research suggests that Parkinson’s disease can be difficult to diagnose because there’s no test for it, so your doctor will likely review your medical records and do a neurological exam.XTrustworthy SourceMedlinePlusCollection of medical information sourced from the US National Library of MedicineGo to source Getting an early diagnosis can help you get the best treatment to help manage your symptoms, so talk to your doctor if you think you might have symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Read Also: Lifespan Of Someone With Parkinson’s Disease

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.

How To Know If You Have Parkinson’s Disease

Should I tell people I have Parkinson’s Disease?

By | Submitted On May 15, 2009

Parkinson’s Disease use to be a disease that most of us associated with old people. We would think of our grandparents tucked away in old age homes suffering from the disease. But all that changed when Michael J. Fox revealed that he was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. Parkinson’s disease results when brain cells deteriorate. It is a chronic condition because it has no cure and does not go away by itself.

It is also a degenerative disease because it breaks down the body of the person it attacks. Muscle control is lost due to a lack of dopamine in the brain. In this article we will give you some of the symptoms so you can tell if you or a love one may be suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

First, the first noticeable symptoms for a person suffering from Parkinson’s will be tremors and trembling.

Secondly, muscle stiffness is another common symptom. this stiffness and rigidity may be one of the first symptoms noticed when no other symptoms are apparent.

Third, “Freezing” which is a sudden inability to move when you want to. You may start dragging a foot, or have difficulty waking through doorways or hallways or narrow restricting spaces. All of this can also play havoc with your balance.

Fourth, a person may have trouble controlling facial muscles. There may be reduced facial expression, infrequent blinking, and slow swallowing causing increased saliva secretions, in the form of drooling.

Get Free: Parkinson’s Disease Remedies

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Referral To A Specialist

If your GP suspects Parkinson’s disease, you’ll be referred to a specialist.

This will usually be:

  • a neurologist, a specialist in conditions affecting the brain and nervous system
  • a geriatrician, a specialist in problems affecting elderly people

The specialist will most likely ask you to perform a number of physical exercises so they can assess whether you have any problems with movement.

A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is likely if you have at least 2 of the 3 following symptoms:

  • shaking or tremor in a part of your body that usually only occurs at rest
  • slowness of movement
  • muscle stiffness

If your symptoms improve after taking a medication called levodopa, it’s more likely you have Parkinson’s disease.

Special brain scans, such as a single photon emission computed tomography scan, may also be carried out in some cases to try to rule out other causes of your symptoms.

Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease

Parkinson’s disease has four main symptoms:

  • Tremor in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
  • Stiffness of the limbs and trunk
  • Slowness of movement
  • Impaired balance and coordination, sometimes leading to falls

Other symptoms may include depression and other emotional changes difficulty swallowing, chewing, and speaking urinary problems or constipation skin problems and sleep disruptions.

Symptoms of Parkinsons and the rate of progression differ among individuals. Sometimes people dismiss early symptoms of Parkinson’s as the effects of normal aging. In most cases, there are no medical tests to definitively detect the disease, so it can be difficult to diagnose accurately.

Early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are subtle and occur gradually. For example, affected people may feel mild tremors or have difficulty getting out of a chair. They may notice that they speak too softly, or that their handwriting is slow and looks cramped or small. Friends or family members may be the first to notice changes in someone with early Parkinson’s. They may see that the person’s face lacks expression and animation, or that the person does not move an arm or leg normally.

People with Parkinson’s often develop a parkinsonian gait that includes a tendency to lean forward, small quick steps as if hurrying forward, and reduced swinging of the arms. They also may have trouble initiating or continuing movement.

Also Check: Can You Cure Parkinson’s Disease

Common Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsons is mostly known for its movement-related symptoms . Everyone with Parkinsons has the first symptom, bradykinesia. The term literally means slowness of movement. Researchers believe that this is due to changes in the motor areas of the brain . These changes interfere with the brains ability to execute the commands to move.

Experiencing bradykinesia alone does not result in a diagnosis of Parkinsons disease. The patient must also exhibit at least one of the following movement symptoms:

  • Postural instability
  • Rigidity
  • Tremor

Of the three, tremor is the most common and most commonly associated with the condition. It presents as a slight shaking in the hand or chin. Rigidity is when the patient experiences stiffness in the arms or legs that is not caused by arthritis. Finally, postural instability simply means that the patient has issues with balance or is prone to falling.

Other movement symptoms include:

  • Insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, restless legs syndrome, vivid dreams, and other sleep disorders
  • Losing sense of taste or smell
  • Mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, and apathy

Some non-movement symptoms do not become apparent until a patient has had PD for many years.

Is There A Way To Slow The Progress Of Parkinson’s

Parkinson

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.

Also Check: Parkinson’s Disease Vs Ms

Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms Everyone Should Know

Parkinsons disease symptoms can include tremor and trouble with movement, along with emotional and cognitive changes.

Parkinson’s disease symptoms can vary significantly from person to person. Some people may have range of motor symptoms, like tremor, stiffness, and slow movements. Others may also experience the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as anxiety, cognitive changes, and loss of smell.

It has to do with a chemical messenger known as dopamine, which plays a role in the brain’s ability to control movement, coordination, and emotional responses. In Parkinson’s disease, the brain cells that produce dopamine either stop doing their job or they die out, resulting in both motor and non-motor symptoms. It’s not always easy to tell if someone you care about has Parkinson’s disease. Let’s take a closer look at the symptoms of the disease and signs that someone should make an appointment with their doctor.

Surgical Options For Parkinsons Disease

As of 2019, there are two surgeries prescribed to treat Parkinsons. These are only ordered if medications previously helped control movement symptoms but are no longer effective.

The first is called deep brain stimulation. The surgeon inserts a wire, or lead, into the subthalamic nucleus, which is the part of the brain that controls movement. The wire extends to an external device called a neurostimulator. This sends electrical pulses through the lead to stimulate the subthalamic nucleus.

The second surgery is prescribed in cases where the patient suffers too many side effects from the levodopa or requires too strong a dose. A surgeon inserts a tube in the small intestine, through which the patient receives doses of carbidopa. This enhances the effect of levodopa, allowing the patient to receive a smaller dose.

Recommended Reading: Cognitive Impairment In Parkinson’s Disease

Early Signs Of Parkinsons

Early physical signs include the common motor symptoms: tremor, muscle rigidity and slowness. They may also include the following:

  • Symptoms starting on one side of the body
  • Change in facial expression
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Depression or anxiety

Some of these symptoms are quite common and by no means exclusive to Parkinsons, so if you have some of them, it does not mean you have Parkinsons.

Caregiving For People Living With Parkinsons

Do This To Work Your Voice And Memory If You Have Parkinson’s

Caring for a loved one with PD can be a challenging job, especially as the disease progresses. Former caregivers of a loved one with PD suggest doing the following : Get prepared, Take care of yourself, Get help , Work to maintain a good relationship with your loved one, and Encourage the person with PD for whom you care, to stay active.

Preparing for caregiving starts with education. Reading this fact sheet is a good start. More resources are available to you in theResources section of this fact sheet. Early Parkinsonâs disease usually requires more emotional support and less hands-on care. It is a good time for family members/caregivers to educate themselves about the disease.

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