Treatment Options For Parkinsons Disease
You have different options to treat the condition. But, you need to understand that the condition has no permanent cure. So, you can only control the symptoms and delay the progression of the disease with the treatment options. Your doctor can prescribe medications or surgery based on the severity of the condition. Therefore, the various treatment option available are:
Balance And Posture Difficulties
As PD progresses to a later stage, your posture may become stooped, and you may lean forward as you walk. This happens when the part of your brain that controls automatic movements, such as those that adjust your posture to keep you standing up straight, begin to falter as a result of PD. This affects your balance and can cause you to tumble forward or fall backward.
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 Parkinson’s. 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.
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Causes Of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain called the substantia nigra. This leads to a reduction in a chemical called dopamine in the brain.
Dopamine plays a vital role in regulating the movement of the body. A reduction in dopamine is responsible for many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Exactly what causes the loss of nerve cells is unclear. Most experts think that a combination of genetic and environmental factors is responsible.
Parkinson Disease With Dementia
Parkinsons disease can cause a condition called Parkinsons disease dementia. Parkinsons disease dementia is a decline in thinking, problem-solving, and reasoning capabilities that develop in many people living with Parkinsons mostly after a year of diagnosis.
About 50 to 80 percent of people with Parkinsons experience Parkinsons disease dementia.
As the changes in the brain due to Parkinson spread, they often start to affect mental functions, including memory and the ability to pay attention, make better judgments, and plan the steps that are needed to complete a task.
The complications with Parkinsons disease can be very fatal. The research has shown, on average the survival rate is 9 years after getting diagnosed. Parkinsons disease dementia has an average lifespan shortened by about 1 to 2 years.
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How Is A Diagnosis Made
Because other conditions and medications mimic the symptoms of PD, getting an accurate diagnosis from a physician is important. No single test can confirm a diagnosis of PD, because the symptoms vary from person to person. A thorough history and physical exam should be enough for a diagnosis to be made. Other conditions that have Parkinsons-like symptoms include Parkinsons plus, essential tremor, progressive supranuclear palsy, multi-system atrophy, dystonia, and normal pressure hydrocephalus.
Causes Of Parkinsons Disease
The main cause of the problem is the degeneration of the nerve cells known as neurons. The neurons may gradually break down and ultimately die. The loss of the neurons in the brain can trigger the symptoms explained above. It occurs due to the loss of a chemical messenger called dopamine. Therefore the decrease in dopamine results in abnormal brain activity. It results in the signs of Parkinsons disease. You can never pinpoint one single factor that reduces the dopamine levels. Several factors can play a role. So, the main factor influencing the disease are:
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Causes And Risk Factors Of Parkinsons Disease
Most cases of Parkinsons disease are idiopathic, meaning the cause is unclear.
Its widely believed that a person with Parkinsons may have been genetically vulnerable to the disease, and that one or more unknown factors in the environment eventually triggered the disease.
Normally, the neurons in this part of the brain make the chemical messenger dopamine, which allows communication with another area of the brain, the corpus striatum.
This communication helps produce smooth, purposeful movement. When the neurons in the substantia nigra die, the resulting loss of communication leads to the motor symptoms of Parkinsons.
Although the cause of this cell death is unknown, many researchers believe that the cells are killed by clumped proteins called Lewy bodies.
Who Gets Parkinson’s Disease
As stated previously, men are about 1.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than women however, although the majority of all patients that get the disease are over 60, the total chance of getting the disease is about 2% to 4% in this age group. Consequently, the disease is not rare but the chances of someone age 60 or over developing the disease is not high.
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Is Surgery An Option
If medicine doesnât work well enough, your doctor may suggest deep brain stimulation . In DBS, your doctor implants electrodes deep in the brain. A device connected to them delivers electrical pulses. Those pulses can help control the tremors caused by Parkinson’s.
In the past, doctors sometimes used other operations to damage the brain in ways to help with movement symptoms. But they rarely use those surgeries now.
What Is The Outlook For Persons With Parkinsons Disease
Although there is no cure or absolute evidence of ways to prevent Parkinsons disease, scientists are working hard to learn more about the disease and find innovative ways to better manage it, prevent it from progressing and ultimately curing it.
Currently, you and your healthcare teams efforts are focused on medical management of your symptoms along with general health and lifestyle improvement recommendations . By identifying individual symptoms and adjusting the course of action based on changes in symptoms, most people with Parkinsons disease can live fulfilling lives.
The future is hopeful. Some of the research underway includes:
- Using stem cells to produce new neurons, which would produce dopamine.
- Producing a dopamine-producing enzyme that is delivered to a gene in the brain that controls movement.
- Using a naturally occurring human protein glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor, GDNF to protect dopamine-releasing nerve cells.
Many other investigations are underway too. Much has been learned, much progress has been made and additional discoveries are likely to come.
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Parkinson’s Treatment: Dopamine Agonists
Although carbidopa-levodopa is the usual first-choice drug to treat Parkinson’s disease, other drugs that mimic the action of dopamine, termed dopamine agonists, may be used when the effects of carbidopa-levodopa wane. Such drugs as Apokyn, Mirapex, Parlodel, and Requip are used these drugs have side effects similar to carbidopa-levodopa .
What Treatments Are Available
Many Parkinson’s patients enjoy an active lifestyle and a normal life expectancy. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet and staying physically active contributes to overall health and well-being. Parkinson’s disease can be managed with self-care, medication, and surgery.
Self careExercise is as important as medication in the treatment of PD. It helps maintain flexibility and improves balance and range of motion. Patients may want to join a support group and continue enjoyable activities to improve their quality of life. Equally important is the health and well being of the family and caregivers who are also coping with PD. For additional pointers, see Coping With Parkinsons Disease.
These are some practical tips patients can use:
Medications There are several types of medications used to manage Parkinson’s. These medications may be used alone or in combination with each other, depending if your symptoms are mild or advanced.
After a time on medication, patients may notice that each dose wears off before the next dose can be taken or erratic fluctuations in dose effect . Anti-Parkinsons drugs can cause dyskinesia, which are involuntary jerking or swaying movements that typically occur at peak dosage and are caused by an overload of dopamine medication. Sometimes dyskinesia can be more troublesome than the Parkinsons symptoms.
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Parkinsons Disease Vs Als Differences In Symptoms Causes And Treatment
Written byDevon AndrePublished onJuly 25, 2016
Parkinsons disease and ALS can cause difficulties in movement and are both known to be progressive neurological diseases.
ALS is part of a cluster of disorders known as motor neuron diseases that involve gradual degeneration and death of motor neurons. In a healthy individual, messages from motor neurons in the brain are transmitted to the motor neurons in the spinal cord and sent to the particular muscles. In ALS, this communication degenerates and cells begin to die. As a result, the message that is transmitted is incomplete. Unable to function, the muscles begin to weaken and waste away over time. Eventually, communication from the brain to muscles is lost completely.
In its early stage, ALS also known as Lou Gehrigs disease may appear as Parkinsons disease, which is also a neurological disease similar to ALS. Here we will outline the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for both ALS and Parkinsons disease to help you understand the differences between the two.
Is Parkinsons Disease Inherited
Scientists have discovered gene mutations that are associated with Parkinsons disease.
There is some belief that some cases of early-onset Parkinsons disease disease starting before age 50 may be inherited. Scientists identified a gene mutation in people with Parkinsons disease whose brains contain Lewy bodies, which are clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein. Scientists are trying to understand the function of this protein and its relationship to genetic mutations that are sometimes seen in Parkinsons disease and in people with a type of dementia called Lewy body dementia.
Several other gene mutations have been found to play a role in Parkinsons disease. Mutations in these genes cause abnormal cell functioning, which affects the nerve cells ability to release dopamine and causes nerve cell death. Researchers are still trying to discover what causes these genes to mutate in order to understand how gene mutations influence the development of Parkinsons disease.
Scientists think that about 10% to 15% of persons with Parkinsons disease may have a genetic mutation that predisposes them to development of the disease. There are also environmental factors involved that are not fully understood.
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Parkinsons Disease Vs Als: Us Prevalence
One million Americans live with Parkinsons disease. The average cost of Parkinsons disease including treatment, lost work wages, and social security payments is $25 billion annually in the U.S.
It is not clear how many people are affected by ALS, but the estimates range between 12,000 and 15,000. Doctors tell roughly 5,000 patients annually that they have ALS. Records on ALS have not been well kept across the country, so estimates may fall way below the actual rates. Common age of ALS diagnosis is between 55 and 75, and life expectancy is anywhere between two and five years after the onset of symptoms. Longevity in ALS is strongly linked to a persons age. Younger individuals with ALS tend to live longer than those diagnosed at an older age.
Factors That Lower Risk
While some things put people at a higher risk for eventually developing PD, other factors may decrease the risk. However, despite these being potentially protective against PD, some can cause other health problems .
- Drinking caffeinated beverages like coffee or tea
- Smoking nicotine appears to have a protective effect
- High uric acid levels in the body, although this only applies to men
- Taking anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen
- Adequate vitamin D status
- Exercising from an early age
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How Does A Doctor Diagnose Parkinsons Disease
It is extremely difficult to make an accurate diagnosis of Parkinsons disease. Doctors consider the symptoms, family history, genetics, etc., to arrive at a definitive conclusion. The standard diagnosis of PD is currently clinical. This essentially means there is no specific Parkinsons disease test that can give a conclusive result.
However, people diagnosed with Parkinsons usually undergo an X-ray or other tests to rule out other diseases with the same symptoms.
Parkinsons disease is usually diagnosed based on the results of the following exams:
Examination of Medical History: Doctors will take the details regarding your medications, enquiring about your family history and if anybody in your family developed Parkinsons.
Physical Examination: Medical personnel will then take an extensive physical exam. This will include walking, the ability to coordinate your limbs, and completing usual tasks. They diagnose a patient with PD if:
- One exhibits two or more symptoms of Parkinsons, like trembling, shaking, slow movement, rigidity, etc.
- A patient experiences the issues only on one side of the body.
- Tremors and trembles are more noticeable and pronounced when at rest. For example, your hands are shaking more while sitting on a chair or lying on the bed.
- There is an improvement when the patient uses a medication called Levodopa.
Parkinson’s Or Benign Essential Tremor
Essential tremors may be confused with the tremors in Parkinson’s disease. However, essential tremors usually affect both extremities equally and get worse when the hands are used, in contrast to Parkinson’s tremors. Also, Parkinson’s tremors are reduced or temporally stopped with carbidopa-levodopa medication while essential tremors respond to other medications. Parkinson’s disease does not usually occur in multiple family members but essential tremors do and are more common than Parkinson’s tremors.
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Research And Statistics: Who Has Parkinsons Disease
According to the Parkinsons Foundation, nearly 1 million people in the United States are living with the disease. More than 10 million people worldwide have Parkinsons.
About 4 percent of people with Parkinsons are diagnosed before age 50.
Men are 1.5 times more likely to develop the disease than women.
Treatment: Drugs That Make Dopamine
Parkinson’s affects nerve cells in your brain that make a chemical called dopamine. As a result, levels of the chemical fall. Doctors usually start treatment with levodopa . Your brain turns it into dopamine. But it can make you sick to your stomach, so youâll probably take it with another medicine called carbidopa to control these side effects. The combination drug is called carbidopa-levodopa .
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How Do I Prevent Falls From Common Hazards
- Floors: Remove all loose wires, cords, and throw rugs. Minimize clutter. Make sure rugs are anchored and smooth. Keep furniture in its usual place.
- Bathroom: Install grab bars and non-skid tape in the tub or shower. Use non-skid bath mats on the floor or install wall-to-wall carpeting.
- Lighting: Make sure halls, stairways, and entrances are well-lit. Install a night light in your bathroom or hallway and staircase. Turn lights on if you get up in the middle of the night. Make sure lamps or light switches are within reach of the bed if you have to get up during the night.
- Kitchen: Install non-skid rubber mats near the sink and stove. Clean spills immediately.
- Stairs: Make sure treads, rails, and rugs are secure. Install a rail on both sides of the stairs. If stairs are a threat, it might be helpful to arrange most of your activities on the lower level to reduce the number of times you must climb the stairs.
- Entrances and doorways: Install metal handles on the walls adjacent to the doorknobs of all doors to make it more secure as you travel through the doorway.
Is There A Cure For Parkinsons
Theres currently no cure for Parkinsons, a disease that is chronic and worsens over time. More than 50,000 new cases are reported in the United States each year. But there may be even more, since Parkinsons is often misdiagnosed.
Its reported that Parkinsons complications was the
Complications from Parkinsons can greatly reduce quality of life and prognosis. For example, individuals with Parkinsons can experience dangerous falls, as well as blood clots in the lungs and legs. These complications can be fatal.
Proper treatment improves your prognosis, and it increases life expectancy.
It may not be possible to slow the progression of Parkinsons, but you can work to overcome the obstacles and complications to have a better quality of life for as long as possible.
Parkinsons disease is not fatal. However, Parkinsons-related complications can shorten the lifespan of people diagnosed with the disease.
Having Parkinsons increases a persons risk for potentially life threatening complications, like experiencing:
Parkinsons often causes problems with daily activities. But very simple exercises and stretches may help you move around and walk more safely.
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What Is The Difference Between Parkinsons Disease And Parkinsonism
Parkinsons disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that leads to movement symptoms and non-movement symptoms. It is sometimes called idiopathic , but the cause is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Parkinsonism is a more general term that encompasses the symptoms of Parkinsons disease. A variety of disorders or syndromes can lead to Parkinsonism, and these syndromes can lead to faster progression of symptoms, increased falling, presence of hallucinations, and can be non-responsive to levodopa .
The majority of people with the symptoms of Parkinsons disease will be diagnosed with idiopathic Parkinsons disease. Between 10% to 15% of these people will be diagnosed with Parkinsonism that is caused by something else.