Serious Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease a common neurological movement disorder that causes an individual to experience multiple neurological and motor symptoms due to a deficiency in dopamine. Dopamine, an important chemical in the brain, is considered a neurotransmitter and helps the nerves communicate with each other. This deficiency can be the result of genetic factors, exposure to certain chemicals in the environment, or idiopathic. Parkinson’s disease develops more often in men than it does in women, and adults past their sixth decade of life are more likely to be affected. Parkinson’s is diagnosed with a physical examination, a thorough neurologic examination, MRI scans, fMRI scans, PET scans, DaTscan, and trial medication.
Parkinson’s disease does not currently have a cure, but treatment can help alleviate symptoms. Parkinson’s disease treatment may involve the use of medication, deep brain stimulation, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.
Discuss With Your Physician
Non-motor symptoms can sometimes be difficult to recognize. Therefore, it is important to make your doctor aware of them.
One useful resource is the PD NMS Questionnaire. You can use this to record your symptoms and discuss them with your doctor.
Dr. Ron Postuma, whose research was funded by donations to the Parkinson Canada Research Program, has also developed tools to help people with Parkinsons and their physicians identify and manage non-motor symptoms.
Four Cardinal Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Following are considered to be the cardinal symptoms of Parkinsons Disease:
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What Causes Parkinson’s Disease
No one knows for sure what makes these nerve cells break down. But scientists are doing a lot of research to look for the answer. They are studying many possible causes, including aging and poisons in the environment.
Abnormal genes seem to lead to Parkinson’s disease in some people. But so far, there is not enough proof to show that it is always inherited.
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Contact Our Information And Referral Helpline
The Parkinson Canada Information and Referral Helpline is a toll-free Canada-wide number for people living with Parkinsons, their caregivers and health care professionals. We provide free and confidential non-medical information and referral services. When you have questions or need assistance, our information and referral staff help connect you with resources and community programs and services that can help you. We provide help by phone or email, Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m. ET.
Environmental Factors And Exposures
Exposure to pesticides and a history of head injury have each been linked with PD, but the risks are modest. Never having smoked cigarettes, and never drinking caffeinated beverages, are also associated with small increases in risk of developing PD.
Low concentrations of urate in the blood is associated with an increased risk of PD.
Different medical drugs have been implicated in cases of parkinsonism. Drug-induced parkinsonism is normally reversible by stopping the offending agent. Drugs include:
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What Is Parkinson’s Disease
Dr. Wilson explains, “Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that predominantly affects dopamine-producing neurons in a specific area of the brain. Although there is no cure, treatment options vary and include medications and surgery often to control tremors that can be debilitating. Parkinson’s itself is not fatal, but disease complications can be serious. About one million are living with Parkinson’s in the U.S. and about 60,000 are diagnosed each year. Additionally, diagnoses of the disease are on the increase, including in those under 50 years of age.”
Most People With Parkinsons Disease Will Experience Constipation At Some Point
Whether or not you experience constipation early, if you have Parkinsons, youll likely experience this symptom at some point. According to the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research, constipation is one of the most frequently reported gastrointestinal symptoms of the disease, with about 60 to 80 percent of patients with Parkinsons experiencing this as a result of their health condition.
In Parkinsons, constipation can be part of the disease process. PD can affect the autonomic nervous system, a network of nerves that directs bodily functions we dont consciously control, such as blood pressure and digestion, the Michael J. Fox Parkinsons Foundation states on its website. When digestive tract movement slows in PD, constipation can happen. Recent research also has linked changes in gut bacteria with Parkinsons disease these disruptions may contribute to constipation.
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Some Parkinsons Treatment Options
Parkinsons disease has no cure, but there are treatment options to control your symptoms and improve your quality of life which include:
- Medication. Levodopa and other medications, which are trying to boost dopamine . There are number of those medications which can be used alone or in combination. Although many of those medications can help you significantly control your motor symptoms , you might also experience side effects and diminished efficacy over time.
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapy are usually part of your treatment plan and can improve your balance, mobility, ability to do daily tasks, and speech.
- Deep brain stimulation is a surgery performed by a neurosurgeon, and in indicated patients can help with motor symptoms, though non-motor symptoms, such as falls, constipation, low blood pressure and incontinence do not improve.
- Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that may help sufferers regain some of their balance and strength, as well as decrease the risk of falling. Dance, such as a Zumba, may also help, as can using a stationary bicycle and rock steady boxing.
Many treatment options for Parkinsons are most effective when used in conjunction with others such as taking medication and doing physical therapy.
What Is It And How Does It Affect Those Whove Been Diagnosed
Parkinsons disease is a type of movement disorder that can affect the ability to perform common, daily activities. It is a chronic and progressive disease, meaning that the symptoms become worse over time. It is characterized by its most common of motor symptomstremors , stiffness or rigidity of the muscles, and slowness of movement but also manifests in non-motor symptoms including sleep problems, constipation, anxiety, depression, and fatigue, among others.
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How Is It Treated
At this time, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. But there are several types of medicines that can control the symptoms and make the disease easier to live with.
You may not even need treatment if your symptoms are mild. Your doctor may wait to prescribe medicines until your symptoms start to get in the way of your daily life. Your doctor will adjust your medicines as your symptoms get worse. You may need to take several medicines to get the best results.
Levodopa is the best drug for controlling symptoms of Parkinson’s. But it can cause problems if you use it for a long time or at a high dose. So doctors sometimes use other medicines to treat people in the early stages of the disease.
The decision to start taking medicine, and which medicine to take, will be different for each person. Your doctor will be able to help you make these choices.
In some cases, a treatment called deep brain stimulation may also be used. For this treatment, a surgeon places wires in your brain. The wires carry tiny electrical signals to the parts of the brain that control movement. These little signals can help those parts of the brain work better.
There are many things you can do at home that can help you stay as independent and healthy as possible. Eat healthy foods. Get the rest you need. Make wise use of your energy. Get some exercise every day. Physical therapy and occupational therapy can also help.
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.
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Genetics In Yopd And Its Implications For Management
The genetic background of PD is gradually being revealed and consists of the spectrum from common variants that have small contributions to an increased vulnerability, to true monogenic forms . Some of the genes that previously received a PARK locus symbol are in fact unconfirmed, are risk alleles, or if mutated give rise to a more complex phenotype. A new nomenclature of genetic movement disorders, including PD, was recently proposed and has tried to deal with these complexities . Here, we focus on the confirmed genes that can be considered monogenic forms of PD. These mainly include the dominant genes SNCA, LRRK2, GBA, and VPS35, and the recessive genes Parkin, PINK1, DJ1. The common picture from the literature is that PD patients with a mutation in one of these genes present at an earlier age, particularly for the recessive genes and SNCA . So, vice versa, if a PD patient presents at a young age, the option of a genetic etiology is often considered. While next generation sequencing platforms have simplified screening the relevant genes, we have to critically address the question: what is the actual benefit of genetic testing in YOPD?
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Most Common Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease is a progressive brain disorder that affects the nervous system, causing gradual loss of muscle control. According to Parkinson Canada, it occurs when cells that normally product dopamine, a chemical that carries signals between the nerves in the brain, die.
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The symptoms of Parkinsons disease present themselves slowly, and worsen as the condition progresses over time. Although they vary from person to person, the following are the six most common signs of the condition.
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First Symptoms Of Parkinsons In Women
The first symptoms of Parkinsons are progressive , that is, as the disease progresses over time, they become more common and, therefore, worsen.
Generally, it begins with a barely visible tremor in one hand : for example, the involuntary movement of one of the fingers. As mentioned at the beginning, tremors are one of the most common characteristics of the disease however, it tends to cause decreased movement or stiffness .
In the early stages of Parkinsons, you may also notice some mild or no expression on the face . Another symptom is that when you walk you do not notice that your arms swing . The manner of speaking can also change, becoming incomprehensible or soft .
But do not despair: although there is still no cure for Parkinsons disease, with the right treatment these symptoms improve favorably . And even, on certain occasions, the doctor may suggest surgery to regulate certain areas of the brain and improve symptoms.
Can Doctors Miss The Early Signs Of Parkinsons Disease
Yes, doctors are human.
There has been a tremendous increase in human knowledge over recent years. It is not possible for a single person to recognize all the symptoms of all the diseases.
Thus, when a patient only has the early symptoms of Parkinsons disease, the diagnosis of Parkinsons disease is often missed.
As noted above, the early symptoms of Parkinsons disease can be vague.
Even if you have some of these symptoms, your diagnosis needs to be confirmed by a physical examination. This examination detects the early signs of Parkinsons disease.
Sometimes when the doctor examines you, everything might be perfectly normal. This may be due to one of two things:
The last thing to make sure is that you dont have a disease that can mimic Parkinsons disease. This can lead to misdiagnosis.
If the doctor is not sure, a test called Trodat/F-Dopa scan may help with diagnosis
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Possible Risk Reduction Factors
While age, genetics, and being a man make it more likely youll develop Parkinsons disease, some factors make it less likely. It is generally believed that Asian-Americans and African-Americans seem to have a lower risk of developing Parkinsons as compared to Caucasians. Drinking coffee may lower risk, as a 30-year study of Japanese-American men found the greater amount of coffee they drank, the lower their risk of Parkinsons disease became.
Young Onset Parkinsons : An Introduction
Although the average age to develop Parkinsons is around 60, young onset Parkinsons occurs in 5-10% of people diagnosed. 20% are under the age of 50. Some challenges in Parkinsons are universal, regardless of age, but there are a number of issues specific to younger people.
Generally, Parkinsons proceeds more slowly in younger people. While no two people are the same, someone whose onset age is 40 can expect to work for another 15-20 years on average. For someone with an onset age of 60, the average figure would be half that. These figures are based on the kinds of treatment available today. Future treatment will be even more effective in prolonging the productive life of people with Parkinsons.
Larry Gifford hosts a panel discussion on Living Well with Young Onset Parkinsons in May of 2020.
The following characteristics tend to be present in young onset Parkinsons:
- Young onset Parkinsons is less likely to lead to dementia and balance problems
- It is more likely to include focal dystonia, which is cramping or abnormal posturing of one part of the body.
- Younger people are more sensitive to the benefits of Parkinson medications, but they tend to experience the dyskinetic side effects of levodopa sooner than older people.
- They also tend to experience dose-related fluctuations at an earlier stage of the disease, including wearing off* and the on-off effect. See Parkinson Canada Information Sheet, Parkinsons Medications: What you need to know!
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Exercise And Parkinsons Disease
Research conducted by the Parkinsons Foundation reveals that exercising at least 2.5 hours per week improves symptoms and slows disease progression. The group also found that the earlier patients began exercising, the more pronounced the benefits were.
To help with balance and mobility, the Foundation recommends aerobics, strength-training, and flexibility exercises. Popular options include:
- Weight lifting
The real secret to the best exercise program, though, is doing what you enjoy. For some ideas, please see our previous articles on strength-building exercise and how to begin an exercise program. And remember, never begin a new exercise regimen without talking to your doctor.
If You Have Parkinson’s Disease
If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, call your doctor if:
- You notice any significant change in your symptoms, such as severe episodes of freezingâa sudden loss of mobilityâwhich may affect walking.
- Your response to your medicine changes.
- Any other symptoms occur, such as constipation, sexual problems, or incontinence.
- You have symptoms of depression, such as feeling sad or hopeless and losing interest in daily activities.
- You or your family notice that you have problems with memory and thinking ability.
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Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons 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
Symptoms of Parkinsons and the rate of progression differ among individuals. Sometimes people dismiss early symptoms of Parkinsons 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 Parkinsons 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 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 Parkinsons 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.
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 .
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