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.
Is It Normal To Feel Depressed
Yes! Researchers have found that 40 to 50 percent of people with Parkinsons are depressed. Other brain and mood symptoms include anxiety, sleep disturbances, and behavior changes. Getting a difficult diagnosis can make people feel sad or worried, but this kind of depression is more prolonged and more serious.
Researchers believe that the underlying changes in the brain that cause PD might also cause depression. In fact, some people think that depression might be an early sign of Parkinsons. Medication, mental health counseling, and support groups can all effectively treat this kind of depression, so be sure to tell your doctor how you feel.
What Causes Parkinson’s Disease
In the very deep parts of the brain, there is a collection of nerve cells that help control movement, known as the basal ganglia . In a person with Parkinson’s disease, these nerve cells are damaged and do not work as well as they should.
These nerve cells make and use a brain chemical called dopamine to send messages to other parts of the brain to coordinate body movements. When someone has Parkinson’s disease, dopamine levels are low. So, the body doesn’t get the right messages it needs to move normally.
Experts agree that low dopamine levels in the brain cause the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, but no one really knows why the nerve cells that produce dopamine get damaged and die.
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Related Conditions And Causes Of Parkinsons Disease
Many conditions can cause symptoms that are similar to those of Parkinsons disease, including the following:
- Essential tremor
This foundation was founded in 2000 by the actor Michael J. Fox, who received a diagnosis of young-onset Parkinsons disease in 1991. Take a look at Parkinsons 360, the foundations guide for living with Parkinsons. Or if youd like to join a Parkinsons research study, visit the Fox Trial Finder.
With a mission to empower people with Parkinsons, this foundation funds research geared toward improving care and treatment for the disease. Sign up for their newsletter to receive news updates and information about Parkinsons resources. Or if you need help connecting with a health professional, call the foundations helpline at 800-4PD-INFO .
What Doctors Look For When Diagnosing Parkinsons
Certain physical signs and symptoms noticed by the patient or his or her loved ones are usually what prompt a person to see the doctor. These are the symptoms most often noticed by patients or their families:
Shaking or tremor: Called resting tremor, a trembling of a hand or foot that happens when the patient is at rest and typically stops when he or she is active or moving
Bradykinesia: Slowness of movement in the limbs, face, walking or overall body
Rigidity: Stiffness in the arms, legs or trunk
Posture instability: Trouble with balance and possible falls
Once the patient is at the doctors office, the physician:
Takes a medical history and does a physical examination.
Asks about current and past medications. Some medications may cause symptoms that mimic Parkinsons disease.
Performs a neurological examination, testing agility, muscle tone, gait and balance.
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I Think I Have Parkinsons
HelloI think I have Parkinsons. My mum has been diagnosed since 2003 so 16 years. I have enough of the early/ pre cursor symptoms- nothing that impacts my life yet. I havent mentioned it to the doctor or been diagnosed.
I have two children aged 2 and 3. Obviously, I want to carry on as normal and there are several reasons why I do not want to be diagnosed yet. Firstly, my children. I guess I dont want to hear it being formally diagnosed. Secondly, my job. It was difficult enough to get a job again after returning to work after childrenwithout the impact of them knowing I have Parkinsons. I work in freelance/ interim roles currently.
My questions are:-
What diet/ lifestyle/ exercise changes should I be making to my life? I know this doesnt change the inevitable as I have lived through Parkinsons with my mum but you never knowthere are new ways of thinking and new advances with science all the time.
Basically, I am just looking for your best advice. Anything that, knowing what you know now, you would tell yourself as advice if you were to go back to the early symptoms.
Walking Or Gait Difficulties
Bradykinesia and postural instability both contribute to walkingor gaitdifficulties in Parkinsons, particularly as the disease progresses. A common, early symptom of Parkinsons disease is a decrease in the natural swing of one or both arms when walking. Later, steps may become slow and small, and a shuffling gait may appear. Gait problems in Parkinsons disease can also include a tendency to propel forward with rapid, short steps . People with advanced Parkinsons disease may experience episodes of freezing, in which the feet appear to be glued to the floor.
How Do I Take Care Of Myself
If you have Parkinsons disease, the best thing you can do is follow the guidance of your healthcare provider on how to take care of yourself.
- Take your medication as prescribed. Taking your medications can make a huge difference in the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. You should take your medications as prescribed and talk to your provider if you notice side effects or start to feel like your medications aren’t as effective.
- See your provider as recommended. Your healthcare provider will set up a schedule for you to see them. These visits are especially important to help with managing your conditions and finding the right medications and dosages.
- Dont ignore or avoid symptoms. Parkinsons disease can cause a wide range of symptoms, many of which are treatable by treating the condition or the symptoms themselves. Treatment can make a major difference in keeping symptoms from having worse effects.
Join The Parkinsons Forums: An Online Community For People With Parkinsons Disease And Their Caregivers
Does your loved one seem to be dragging one of their feet when they walk? Are they shuffling slightly? Has one of their arms lost its swing when they walk? Do they seem stiff in their movements? You have an objective perspective and may notice these things sooner.
No one who is happy or joyful likes to be asked, Whats wrong with you? That can happen with an early sign of PD known as the masked face. Why masked face? Because the facial muscles have tightened and people with PD have a harder time smiling or showing emotion.
Another symptom that I struggle with is my voice getting softer, making it hard for others to hear me. I had a soft voice to begin with, and when it got softer it made it more difficult to converse. Speech and vocal exercises can be done to strengthen the vocal cords if the problem is due to PD.
If you think someone you know might have early signs of PD, you might want to approach them as if they hadnt noticed their symptoms. For example, dont stare at them when they are shaking and ask, Do I make you nervous? Ask them if theyve noticed that their hand shakes slightly. If they bring it to your attention, encourage them to have it checked out. If they are concerned and you act like its nothing, especially when you notice it, coupled with other signs related to early PD, they will feel silly and may think they are imagining things.
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Diagnosis And Management Of Parkinsons Disease
There are no diagnostic tests for Parkinsons. X-rays, scans and blood tests may be used to rule out other conditions. For this reason, getting a diagnosis of Parkinsons may take some time.
No two people with Parkinsons disease will have exactly the same symptoms or treatment. Your doctor or neurologist can help you decide which treatments to use.
People can manage their Parkinsons disease symptoms through:
- seeing a Doctor who specialises in Parkinsons
- multidisciplinary therapy provided for example, by nurses, allied health professionals and counsellors
- deep brain stimulation surgery .
Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons has four main symptoms:
- Tremor in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
- Muscle stiffness, where muscle remains contracted for a long time
- Slowness of movement
- Impaired balance and coordination, sometimes leading to falls
Other symptoms may include:
The symptoms of Parkinsons and the rate of progression differ among individuals. Early symptoms of this disease are subtle and occur gradually. For example, 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 Parkinsons. They may see that the persons face lacks expression and animation, or that the person does not move an arm or leg normally.
People with Parkinson’s disease often develop a parkinsonian gait that includes a tendency to lean forward take small, quick steps and reduce swinging their arms. They also may have trouble initiating or continuing movement.
Symptoms often begin on one side of the body or even in one limb on one side of the body. As the disease progresses, it eventually affects both sides. However, the symptoms may still be more severe on one side than on the other.
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Changes In Cognition And Parkinsons Disease
Some people with Parkinsons may experience changes in their cognitive function, including problems with memory, attention, and the ability to plan and accomplish tasks. Stress, depression, and some medications may also contribute to these changes in cognition.
Over time, as the disease progresses, some people may develop dementia and be diagnosed with Parkinsons dementia, a type of Lewy body dementia. People with Parkinsons dementia may have severe memory and thinking problems that affect daily living.
Talk with your doctor if you or a loved one is diagnosed with Parkinsons disease and is experiencing problems with thinking or memory.
Noticing The Signs Of Parkinsons Disease In A Loved One
If you were to go to a Parkinsons disease website, youd probably find a post on signs and symptoms of PD. The problem is that it can be hard to notice the signs if you are the one with Parkinsons disease. You may have grown so used to the symptoms that you no longer take them as something serious.
Ive written this post for loved ones who might have a sense that something isnt quite right with the one they love. It is a list of early signs you may notice before they do, and how you might be able to help them.
Most people notice tremors as the first symptom. However, did you know that there are other signs that someone may have Parkinsons disease? Signs that are often overlooked even by medical doctors?
On one of my earlier visits to my neurologist, I learned that one of the very first signs of PD is depression. There was no reason for me to feel down at times like I did. However, as there are many other reasons for a person to feel down or depressed, dont jump to conclusions that your loved one has PD. For a confirmed diagnosis, several signs or symptoms must be present. A diagnosis of PD has never been made purely because a person is depressed .
There is a list of symptoms a movement disorder specialist will look for in making a correct diagnosis of PD. Shaking can be caused by other things such as a head injury, resting tremors, overextending yourself physically, prescriptions you may be taking, hypoglycemia, and more.
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Can Parkinson’s Disease Be Cured
No, Parkinson’s disease is not curable. However, it is treatable, and many treatments are highly effective. It might also be possible to delay the progress and more severe symptoms of the disease.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Parkinson’s disease is a very common condition, and it is more likely to happen to people as they get older. While Parkinson’s isn’t curable, there are many different ways to treat this condition. They include several different classes of medications, surgery to implant brain-stimulation devices and more. Thanks to advances in treatment and care, many can live for years or even decades with this condition and can adapt to or receive treatment for the effects and symptoms.
Response To Parkinsons Drugs
After examining you, and depending on the severity of your symptoms, your specialist may suggest you take medication for Parkinsons. If your symptoms improve after taking Parkinsons medication for a few weeks or months, your specialist may confirm a Parkinsons diagnosis. However, some people with other forms of parkinsonism will also respond well to these drugs.
Your specialist may suggest you have a scan to help make a diagnosis. However, scans alone cant make a definite diagnosis of Parkinsons, so they are not commonly used.
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Where Can I Find Reliable Information On Parkinsons Disease
There are multiple national patient advocacy and research organizations that focus on Parkinsons disease. Some of these include ParkinsonsDisease.net, the Parkinsons Foundation, the American Parkinson Disease Association, and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research. The National Institutes of Health and its associated resources are also a reliable source for disease information.
What Medications And Treatments Are Used
Medication treatments for Parkinsons disease fall into two categories: Direct treatments and symptom treatments. Direct treatments target Parkinsons itself. Symptom treatments only treat certain effects of the disease.
Medications that treat Parkinsons disease do so in multiple ways. Because of that, drugs that do one or more of the following are most likely:
Several medications treat specific symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Symptoms treated often include the following:
- Erectile and sexual dysfunction.
- Hallucinations and other psychosis symptoms.
Deep brain stimulation
In years past, surgery was an option to intentionally damage and scar a part of your brain that was malfunctioning because of Parkinsons disease. Today, that same effect is possible using deep-brain stimulation, which uses an implanted device to deliver a mild electrical current to those same areas.
The major advantage is that deep-brain stimulation is reversible, while intentional scarring damage is not. This treatment approach is almost always an option in later stages of Parkinson’s disease when levodopa therapy becomes less effective, and in people who have tremor that doesnt seem to respond to the usual medications.
Researchers are exploring other possible treatments that could help with Parkinsons disease. While these arent widely available, they do offer hope to people with this condition. Some of the experimental treatment approaches include:
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 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.
Researchers have studied various formulations of nicotine including intranasal, transdermal, and chewing gum to see whether they could help with Parkinsons symptoms, but so far none has been found effective at slowing the progression of Parkinsons.
Parkinsons Disease: Causes Symptoms And Treatments
Parkinsons disease is a brain disorder that causes unintended or uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination.
Symptoms usually begin gradually and worsen over time. As the disease progresses, people may have difficulty walking and talking. They may also have mental and behavioral changes, sleep problems, depression, memory difficulties, and fatigue.
While virtually anyone could be at risk for developing Parkinsons, some research studies suggest this disease affects more men than women. Its unclear why, but studies are underway to understand factors that may increase a persons risk. One clear risk is age: Although most people with Parkinsons first develop the disease after age 60, about 5% to 10% experience onset before the age of 50. Early-onset forms of Parkinsons are often, but not always, inherited, and some forms have been linked to specific gene mutations.
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Remember You Are Not Alone
Parkinsons is a relatively common disease, with 60,000 Americans diagnosed every year. According to research conducted by the Parkinsons Foundation, approximately 930,000 people will be living with Parkinsons in American by 2020. That number is expected to increase to 1.2 million by 2030. Approximately 15% of people who get Parkinsons have a family history of the disease.
How Is Parkinson’s Diagnosed
This information looks at what parkinsonism is, how Parkinsons and other similar conditions may be diagnosed, and explains some of the tests that may be involved in the process.
Most people with a form of parkinsonism have idiopathic Parkinsons disease, also known as Parkinsons. Idiopathic means the cause is unknown.
Other less common forms of parkinsonism include multiple system atrophy , progressive supranuclear palsy , drug-induced parkinsonism and vascular Parkinsons.
If youre concerned about symptoms youve been experiencing, you should visit your GP. If your GP suspects you have Parkinsons, clinical guidelines recommend they should refer you quickly to a specialist with experience in diagnosing the condition .
Its not always easy to diagnose the condition. So its important that you see a Parkinsons specialist to get an accurate diagnosis and to consider the best treatment options.
Diagnosing Parkinsons can take some time as there are other conditions, such as essential tremor , with similar symptoms. There is also currently no definitive test for diagnosing Parkinsons.
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