Coping With A Parkinsons Diagnosis
A diagnosis of Parkinsons can be a frightening experience for both you and your loved ones. While there is currently no cure, there are treatments available for Parkinsons symptoms and lifestyle changes you can make to slow the progression of the disease and delay the onset of more debilitating symptoms, including Parkinsons disease dementia. Early diagnosis can prolong independence and help you to live life fully for much longer.
If youve been diagnosed with Parkinsons you may feel anger, deep sadness, or fear about what the future will bring. These feelings are all normal. Its also normal to grieve as you deal with this enormous adjustment.
Give yourself some time to adjust. As with any major change in life, dont expect that you will smoothly snap into this new transition. You may feel alright for a while, and then suddenly feel stressed and overwhelmed again. Take time to adjust to this new transition.
Learn all you can about Parkinsons disease and Parkinsons disease dementia. Educating yourself and making important decisions early can help you feel more in control during this difficult time.
Reach out for support. Living with Parkinsons presents many challenges, but there is help available for this journey. The more you reach out to others and get support, the more youll be able to cope with symptoms while continuing to enrich and find meaning in your life.
Working Memory Affective Symptoms And Everyday Cognition
The MIMIC model with the group as a covariate tested the effect of PD on task-based WM, self-rated affective symptoms, and self-rated everyday cognitive difficulties, as well as the connections between these variables . The model fit was good, Chi-Square , and RMSEA , CFI , as well as SRMR were all within the desired range. Only TLI was slightly below the recommended value .
Group had a significant effect on task performance in one of the WM domains, namely selective updating . Having PD predicted lower performance on tasks of selective updating. PD did not, however, predict performance on tasks tapping continuous monitoring or maintenance of information , although there was a trend towards statistical significance for maintenance. The performance on tasks of the three WM subdomains was significantly correlated . Additionally, there was a significant group effect on self-rated affective symptoms as well as on self-rated cognitive dysfunction . Hence, the PD patients reported more affective symptoms and cognitive dysfunction than the controls. The amount of self-rated affective symptoms was also correlated with the amount of self-rated cognitive dysfunction . Neither the amount of self-rated affective symptoms nor self-rated cognitive dysfunction correlated with any WM subdomain.
Thinking And Memory Problems Associated With Parkinsons Disease
People living with Parkinsons Disease may be affected by thinking and memory problems. These cognitive issues can have a significant impact on a persons quality of life and interfere with their daily function.
To some degree, cognitive impairment affects many people with PD. The same brain changes that lead to motor symptoms can also result in slowness in memory and thinking. Stress, medication and depression can also contribute to these changes. There are two levels of cognitive impairment.
Also Check: Things For Parkinson Patients To Do
Lewy Body Dementia Vs Parkinsons Disease Dementia
Diagnoses of Lewy body dementia include dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinsons disease dementia. Symptoms in both of these diagnoses can be similar.
Lewy body dementia is a progressive dementia caused by abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. Lewy bodies are also seen in Parkinsons disease.
The overlap in symptoms between Lewy body dementia and Parkinsons disease dementia include movement symptoms, rigid muscles, and problems with thinking and reasoning.
This seems to indicate that they could be linked to the same abnormalities, though more research is needed to confirm that.
The later stages of Parkinsons disease have more severe symptoms that may require help moving around, around-the-clock care, or a wheelchair. Quality of life can decline rapidly.
Risks of infection, incontinence, pneumonia, falls, insomnia, and choking increase.
Hospice care, memory care, home health aides, social workers, and support counselors can be a help in later stages.
Parkinsons disease itself isnt fatal, but complications can be.
Research has shown a median survival rate of about
Parkinsons Disease Impacts Estimated 1 Million Americans
Parkinsons disease is a neurological disorder that leads to motor symptoms such as shaking and difficulty with movement and coordination. The brain disorder affects an estimated 1 million Americans and 7 to 10 million people worldwide. Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with PD each year, according to the National Institutes of Health. This article will provide information on Parkinsons early signs and symptoms and help answer the question what is Parkinsons?
You May Like: Is Double Vision A Symptom Of Parkinson’s
Advice For Carers Family And Friends
Living with or caring for someone with both Parkinsons and cognitive problems can be very challenging. There will be times when they rely heavily on your help and support, and there will be other times when it is better to take a step back and allow them to do things for themselves. This balance will be difficult to judge to begin with, and it is likely to take time and patience to establish new routines and approaches to day-to-day living.
Encouragement, stimulation and helping the person maintain their independence is very important. The suggestions in the How can I help myself? section above may be helpful, but remember that rest is also important.
If cognitive problems become more advanced, support and respite will be essential for carers/partners. There are many trained professionals who can provide expert help and advice, as well as organisations such as carer support groups. The persons doctor or social worker should be able to identify those who can help in your area, or you may find contacts in a telephone directory or online.
As both cognitive difficulties and some Parkinsons symptoms can make speech and conversation difficult, the following tips may be helpful when communicating with the person with Parkinsons:
What Are Parkinson’s Disease Dementia Medical Treatment And Medications
There is no specific therapy for dementia in Parkinson’s disease. Although cognitive symptoms initially may appear to respond to drugs that promote dopamine production, the improvement is mild and transient in contrast to the early responses to motor control improvement with medication in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease dementia medications
Various medications are used to treat the movement disorders of Parkinson’s disease, some may exacerbate symptoms related to dementia.
- These include dopamine given in the form of levodopa medications known as dopamine agonists that act on the dopamine receptor and medications that slow down the metabolism of dopamine. They are often used in conjunction with monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as rasagiline. In addition, anticholinergic drugs are sometimes used.
- Unfortunately, these drugs may affect cognitive symptoms and mood disorders.
- The anticholinergic drugs, for example, help balance levels of dopamine and acetylcholine, another neurotransmitter, in the brain. These drugs can improve movement disorders but often make memory loss worse.
The dementia of Parkinson’s disease may respond to drugs used in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. However, these drugs, called cholinesterase inhibitors , lead to only small and temporary improvements in cognition.
Mood disorders and psychoses are usually treated with other medication.
Recommended Reading: Is There Pain With Parkinson’s
Signs And Symptoms Of Pdd
Common signs and symptoms of Parkinsons disease dementia include:
- Poor memory and concentration
- Visual hallucinations
If youve noticed some of the above signs and symptoms in yourself or a loved one, its important to get them checked out. But dont jump to conclusions. People with Parkinsons often experience cognitive changes such as anxiety, lack of motivation, and slowed thinking. These symptoms do not automatically mean dementia.
What Causes Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease occurs when nerve cells, or neurons, in an area of the brain that controls movement become impaired and/or die. Normally, these neurons produce an important brain chemical known as dopamine. When the neurons die or become impaired, they produce less dopamine, which causes the movement problems of Parkinson’s. Scientists still do not know what causes cells that produce dopamine to die.
People with Parkinson’s also lose the nerve endings that produce norepinephrine, the main chemical messenger of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls many functions of the body, such as heart rate and blood pressure. The loss of norepinephrine might help explain some of the non-movement features of Parkinson’s, such as fatigue, irregular blood pressure, decreased movement of food through the digestive tract, and sudden drop in blood pressure when a person stands up from a sitting or lying-down position.
Many brain cells of people with Parkinson’s contain Lewy bodies, unusual clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein. Scientists are trying to better understand the normal and abnormal functions of alpha-synuclein and its relationship to genetic mutations that impact Parkinsons disease and Lewy body dementia.
Don’t Miss: Parkinson’s Disease How Long To Live
Executive Dysfunction In Parkinsons
Executive functions in cognition are higher-order mental processes, including the ability to plan, organize, initiate and regulate behavior to meet goals. Executive functioning is present in activities such as multitasking, switching tasks, and solving problems. The prefrontal cortex of the brain and the dopamine system are responsible for executive function. As PD damages these areas, executive dysfunction occurs, and executive dysfunction is one of the most common cognitive impairments found in people with PD.3,4
Associations Between Cognitive Deficits And Psychiatric Symptoms
Neither everyday cognition nor psychiatric symptoms were correlated with WM performance in the PD group. These findings support the existence of subjective cognitive decline in PD , suggesting that objectively measured cognitive performance, subjectively experienced cognitive problems, and affective symptoms arise from distinct underlying factors. This is the case in WM as well. Lack of correlation between subjective cognitive complaints and task performance has also been observed in some previous studies with other cognitive measures . Our study further indicates that both everyday cognitive difficulties and affective symptoms are linked to PD symptoms, indicating that the various types of difficulties in daily living could have a common origin that perhaps relates to psychiatric well-being. Cognitive difficulties directly related to PD and those associated with a decline in global cognitive abilities could, in turn, have different underlying mechanisms. As noted above, our findings suggest a direct link between PD and WM updating, while more widespread WM deficits may occur in parallel with global cognitive decline.
Don’t Miss: Medicinal Plants For Parkinson’s Disease
Home Remedies For Short
You might have heard that certain vitamin supplements can help improve your short-term memory. However, even though these supplements are safe, theres conflicting research on whether they help memory loss.
In some cases, they can be helpful. For example, a B-12 supplement may help if your short-term memory loss is caused by a B-12 deficiency.
Otherwise, theres mixed evidence for how well other supplements work for memory loss. For example, ginkgo biloba is a popular supplement for memory and concentration issues. But a review of 36 studies found that while the supplement is safe, its effects on dementia or other cognitive impairments is inconsistent and unreliable.
Fish oil is another supplement you may have heard helps memory. A Cochrane review found that fish oil doesnt have any significant cognitive benefits for healthy older adults. However, they suggested that more research should be done on this topic.
Curcumin, which is extracted from turmeric, has been said to help improve cognitive function, including memory.
A review of curcumins effect on people with Alzheimers disease found that theres some evidence that curcumin positively affects some of the pathways affected by Alzheimers disease. However, the researchers found that more research is needed to say definitively if curcumin can help memory problems.
Even if supplements arent effective in treating short-term memory loss, there are some lifestyle modifications you can try, including:
Condition Involving Inability To Understand Or Express Words
Any new speech difficulty should be seen by a doctor immediately because it could be the sign of brain or nerve damage.
Top Symptoms: difficulty speaking or understand words or finding the right word, loss of vision, difficulty coming up with the names of common objects or people, arm weakness
Urgency: Emergency medical service
Read Also: Is Parkinson’s Disease Hereditary
Cognitive Changes In Pd
Cognitive symptoms in Parkinsons disease are common, though not every person experiences them. In some people with PD, the cognitive changes are mild. In others, however, cognitive deficits may become more severe and impact daily functioning. Similar to slowness of movement , people with Parkinsons disease often report slower thinking and information processing . Attention and working memory, executive function, and visuospatial function are the most frequently affected cognitive domains in PD.
Cognitive deficits that are mild and do not impair ones ability to carry out activities of daily living have been termed mild cognitive impairment. Studies estimate that mild cognitive impairment occurs in about 20-50% of patients with PD. We now recognize that mild cognitive changes may be present at the time of Parkinsons disease diagnosis or even early in the course of PD. They may or may not be noticeable to the person. They may or may not affect work or activities, depending on the demands of specific tasks and work situations.
Other Reasons For Cognitive Symptoms
Besides PD, there are other important causes of cognitive dysfunction to keep in mind. Medical illnesses such as thyroid disease or vitamin B12 deficiency can cause cognitive symptoms. Urinary tract infections or pneumonia can acutely cause confusion or hallucinations. In these settings, the cognitive symptoms are generally reversible after the infection or medical condition is treated. One should be aware that some medications for pain or bladder problems may cause sedation/sleepiness or confusion, and, thereby, impair cognitive function.
You May Like: Idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease Life Expectancy
Is The Dementia Caused By Parkinsons Or Something Else
Indications that dementia may be caused by something other than Parkinsons disease include agitation, delusions , and language difficulties. If the onset of cognitive symptoms is sudden, theyre more likely due to something other than Parkinsons diseaseeven reversible causes such as infection, a vitamin B12 deficiency, or an underactive thyroid gland.
Depression can mimic dementia by causing similar symptoms such as apathy, memory problems, and concentration difficulties. Since depression is very common in Parkinsons patients, its important to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression in older adults.
Parkinsons disease dementia vs. other dementias
Other types of dementia that can be commonly mistaken for Parkinsons disease dementia include:
Lewy Body Dementia is characterized by fluctuations in alertness and attention, recurrent visual hallucinations, and Parkinsonian motor symptoms like rigidity and the loss of spontaneous movement. In this disorder, cognitive problems such as hallucinations tend to occur much earlier in the course of the disease and often precede difficulties with walking and motor control.
Alzheimers disease and Parkinsons disease are both common in the elderly, especially in those over 85. Patients with Parkinsons who develop dementia may even develop Alzheimers dementia as well. Therefore, its important to be aware of the signs of Alzheimers Disease and how its treated.
Also Check: First Stage Of Parkinsonâs Disease
Managing Cognitive Impairments In Parkinsons
After a thorough evaluation to rule out other causes of cognitive impairment, patients with PD may be treated with medication, occupational therapy, and/or speech therapy. The medications used to treat cognitive impairments in people with PD are based on treatments used for Alzheimers disease. Occupational therapy can help a person with PD by providing adaptive strategies for daily activities. Speech therapy can help with language functions, as well as information processing. 3,4
Don’t Miss: Do I Have Parkinson’s Disease Test
How Is Parkinsons Diagnosed
No one test or scan can diagnose Parkinsons disease. Doctors look for four classic symptoms before reaching a PD diagnosis: tremors, rigidity in the wrist and elbow joints, lack or slowness of movement, and unstable posture.
Disease state and progression of PD is measured through a motor exam using the Unified Parkinsons Disease Rating Scale , a tool that evaluates factors such as reflexes, tremor, coordination, balance, posture, rigidity, gait, eye movement, mental functioning, mood and social interaction. Brain scans also may be used to assess activity and function of brain regions involved in movement and can help rule out other conditions such as stroke or brain tumor. Scientists continue to gain greater understanding of PD through continued research to develop better treatments and a potential cure for the disease.
Mild Memory And Thinking Problems
Mild memory and thinking problems can be a normal part of getting older. But sometimes, these symptoms are caused by Parkinsons.
This is when you have symptoms such as forgetfulness, problems concentrating and difficulty making decisions, but you can still manage your day-to-day life.
Mild memory and thinking problems are common in Parkinsons and can happen at any stage of the condition, but not everyone with Parkinson’s has these symptoms.
If you do experience these symptoms, your doctor may describe it as mild cognitive impairment .
Its normal to worry if youre experiencing memory and thinking problems, but it doesnt necessarily mean you have dementia, or that you will develop it in the future.
Dementia in Parkinsons is diagnosed when thinking and memory problems are steadily getting worse over time and affect everyday life and daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning and dressing.
Also Check: Parkinson’s Disease Stage 1 Symptoms
Living With Parkinson Disease
These measures can help you live well with Parkinson disease:
- An exercise routine can help keep muscles flexible and mobile. Exercise also releases natural brain chemicals that can improve emotional well-being.
- High protein meals can benefit your brain chemistry
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapy can help your ability to care for yourself and communicate with others
- If you or your family has questions about Parkinson disease, want information about treatment, or need to find support, you can contact the American Parkinson Disease Association.