Disabilities Secondary To Parkinsons Disease
While most people tend to think of Parkinsons disorder as a neurological movement disorder, and it most certainly is, many people do not realize that other systems in the body can also be severely affected by Parkinsons. Often, the same chemical exposure can also cause other disorders, such as ischemic heart disease. However, often it is the Parkinsons itself, or the medication used to treat it that is the causal factor in the development of a new disorder. Whether a veterans Parkinsons was caused by exposure to the TCDD in agent orange, pesticides, trichloroethylene, or its origins are unknown, Parkinsons cause many secondary health effects and disabilities.
Parkinsons is known as a neurodegenerative disorder that is, it causes neurons to degenerate or decay. The most famous area for PD degeneration is in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra, where Parkinsons causes the death of neurons that generate dopamine, a neurotransmitter which is involved with movement. However, morerecentstudies have also shown that Parkinsons also attacks nerves in the heart which produce another neurotransmitter, noradrenaline. This typically takes place in the left ventricle and can have many complications.
Do Not Be Discouraged
Many SSDI claims for Parkinsonian Syndrome are initially denied. Yet when represented by a disability attorney, denials often go on to be approved at the ALJ hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
Our attorneys can give you superior support in pursuing your disability benefits for Parkinsons disease and can represent your claim at any level of the appeals process. We also have the resources that can help a borderline claim based on Parkinsonian syndrome be successful.
Applying For Disability Benefits For Parkinsons Syndrome
To apply for benefits, call the SSA at 772-1213. The SSA will make an appointment for you to apply over the phone or at a local SSA office. You can also apply online at www.ssa.gov if you are applying for SSDI only . Once your application is complete, your file will be reviewed by an SSA claims examiner as well as by a doctor specially trained in SSAs medical rules. They will request records from your doctors, send you questionnaires to complete, or ask you to attend an examination by a doctor that they hire. Once the evidence in your file is complete, a decision will be issued. On average this takes four to five months, but it could take much longer.
|Take our disability quiz to help you determine whether you qualify for benefits.|
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What Are The Surgical Treatments For Parkinsons Disease
Most patients with Parkinsons disease can maintain a good quality of life with medications. However, as the disease worsens, medications may no longer be effective in some patients. In these patients, the effectiveness of medications becomes unpredictable reducing symptoms during on periods and no longer controlling symptoms during off periods, which usually occur when the medication is wearing off and just before the next dose is to be taken. Sometimes these variations can be managed with changes in medications. However, sometimes they cant. Based on the type and severity of your symptoms, the failure of adjustments in your medications, the decline in your quality of life and your overall health, your doctor may discuss some of the available surgical options.
What Causes Essential Tremor
The cause of essential tremor is unknown. However, one theory suggests that your cerebellum and other parts of your brain are not communicating correctly. The cerebellum controls muscle coordination.
In most people, the condition seems to be passed down from a parent to a child. If your parent has ET, there is a 50% chance you or your children will inherit the gene responsible for the condition. Sometimes, ancillary testing such as brain imaging or genetic testing may help with the diagnosis.
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Can Parkinsons Disease Be Prevented
Unfortunately, no. Parkinsons disease is long-term disease that worsens over time. Although there is no way to prevent or cure the disease , medications may significantly relieve your symptoms. In some patients especially those with later-stage disease, surgery to improve symptoms may be an option.
Timing Of Protein And Meals With Medications
The main Parkinsons medication that we use is called levodopa, and when its started, its typically a three-times-a-day medication, which can be challenging for people to remember and plan around, says Stahl.
Scheduling the medication can be especially problematic for some people with Parkinsons disease who are sensitive to the absorption of their medicine if its timed close to protein or iron intake , she says. Its more of a minority of patients who really notice decreased efficacy of the medication if they time it with a high protein intake, but some very much do.
For people who have more advanced Parkinsons disease and may be taking the medication three, four, five, or even six times a day, that can get pretty complicated, says Stahl.
Because for many people the timing of protein or meals doesnt cause any noticeable change in the effectiveness of medication, Stahl doesn’t give special instructions about eating when she starts someone on levodopa. Sometimes having food in the stomach can even help with side effects, including nausea, she says.
If it turns out that the person is sensitive, and they arent getting the same benefit from the medicine when taking it with food, particularly protein, then we begin to make changes around the timing of protein, says Stahl.
Another method that works for some people is to take their medicine 30 to 60 minutes before a meal, so that they give the medicine a head start to get absorbed, says Stahl.
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What Are The Different Stages Of Parkinsons Disease
Each person with Parkinsons disease experiences symptoms in in their own unique way. Not everyone experiences all symptoms of Parkinsons disease. You may not experience symptoms in the same order as others. Some people may have mild symptoms others may have intense symptoms. How quickly symptoms worsen also varies from individual to individual and is difficult to impossible to predict at the outset.
In general, the disease progresses from early stage to mid-stage to mid-late-stage to advanced stage. This is what typically occurs during each of these stages:
Early symptoms of Parkinsons disease are usually mild and typically occur slowly and do not interfere with daily activities. Sometimes early symptoms are not easy to detect or you may think early symptoms are simply normal signs of aging. You may have fatigue or a general sense of uneasiness. You may feel a slight tremor or have difficulty standing.
Often, a family member or friend notices some of the subtle signs before you do. They may notice things like body stiffness or lack of normal movement slow or small handwriting, lack of expression in your face, or difficulty getting out of a chair.
Standing and walking are becoming more difficult and may require assistance with a walker. You may need full time help to continue to live at home.
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Are There Ways To Treat Essential Tremor Without Medications
Some patients may benefit from the Liftware device, which helps patients to eat with less spillage. This device comes with a stabilizing handle and a utensil attachment and works by stabilizing the utensil so that less food is spilled. Stress management and physical therapy are helpful for those with mild to moderate ET, but are typically used in combination with medications and/or surgery. For those with symptoms not controlled satisfactorily by medications, deep brain stimulation or thalamotomy can be helpful in improving symptoms and may even help to reduce the amount of medications needed to improve symptoms. Your neurologist will be able to help you determine options that are right for you.
Brain Injury And Parkinsons Disease
Head injuries can increase a persons risk of developingParkinsons Disease and other forms of parkinsonism.
However, even with the increased risk, it is still a rareside effect of brain injury. Only about 1% of TBI patients will experienceparkinsonism.
If you do end up diagnosed with post-traumatic parkinsonism, treatment will most likely involve a combination of physical therapy and medication.
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Many Different Conditions And Diseases Can Cause Your Cats Head To Shake
Occasional head-shaking is not a worry and is normal for cats, young and old. However, if your cat is constantly shaking her head, it may be a sign of a more serious problem. Unfortunately, many things could cause your cat to suffer from Parkinsons Disease-like head shaking.
Its important to note that there is a difference between head shaking and head tremors. When your cat shakes her head, shes in control. With tremors, however, the shaking is involuntary. Often, with Parkisons disease-like shaking, your cat is actually suffering from head tremors rather than shakes. Regardless, well cover both head tremors and shaking as we look at causes.
Narrowing down the exact condition that is causing your cats head to shake is difficult because there are many different potential causes. Unfortunately, your cat cant describe whats going on, so its up to you to observe for signs of problems. When it comes to making a final diagnosis and prescribing treatment, its often best to leave it up to a professional vet.
That said, as a cat owner, you can and should keep an eye on your feline. So lets take a look at some of the most common causes of head shaking.
Are There Surgical Options For Essential Tremor
Deep brain stimulation is a therapeutic option for those with severe disabling ET not already managed by medications. DBS is often described as a pacemaker for the brain. It works much like a pacemaker, sending electrical signals to the brain instead of the heart. It is primarily utilized for patients who have Parkinsons disease, dystonia, or essential tremor, who cant adequately control their disease with medication.
Thalamotomy, involving the destruction of tremor producing cells in the brain region called the thalamus, is another surgical option. Using a small temperature-controlled electrode, a permanent lesion is created in the thalamus that helps to stop tremor without disrupting sensory or motor control.
Talk to your doctor about surgical and non-surgical options that are right for you.
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Does Essential Tremor Get Worse Over Time
Typically, ET symptoms gradually worsen over time. While most people with ET only experience mild to moderate symptoms as they age, others may experience substantial disability. As it progresses, tremor frequency may decrease however, tremor amplitude may increase, which can cause challenges with fine, discrete motor skills such as writing or eating. With treatment, symptoms can be managed.
Does Head Injury Lead To Parkinsons Disease
According to a study published in the journal Neurology, a head injury, specifically a mild traumatic brain injury , does in fact lead to an increased risk of PD. The study was conducted using the VAs databases and identified all patients treated by the VA with TBI. The results found that:
- Patients with mild TBI and brief loss of consciousness had a 56% increased risk of developing PD compared to patients without any history of head injury.
- Patients with severe TBI were at an 80% higher risk of PD compared to healthy subjects.
- A single mild TBI with no loss of consciousness did not lead to a significant risk increase for PD.
Although head injury does increase a persons risk of PD, it should be noted that the likelihood of developing the full disease is still relatively low. In fact, in the study, only about 1% of patients were diagnosed with PD.
What is more likely, however, is that a person might develop a form of parkinsonism.
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How Is Tremor Treated
Although there is no cure for most forms of tremor, treatment options are available to help manage symptoms. In some cases, a persons symptoms may be mild enough that they do not require treatment.
Finding an appropriate treatment depends on an accurate diagnosis of the cause. Tremor caused by underlying health problems can sometimes be improved or eliminated entirely with treatment. For example, tremor due to thyroid hyperactivity will improve or even resolve with treatment of thyroid malfunction. Also, if tremor is caused by medication, discontinuing the tremor-causing drug may reduce or eliminate this tremor.
If there is no underlying cause for tremor that can be modified, available treatment options include:
A new treatment for essential tremor uses magnetic resonance images to deliver focused ultrasound to create a lesion in tiny areas of the brains thalamus thought to be responsible for causing the tremors. The treatment is approved only for those individuals with essential tremor who do not respond well to anticonvulsant or beta-blocking drugs.
When people do not respond to drug therapies or have a severe tremor that significantly impacts their daily life, a doctor may recommend surgical interventions such as deep brain stimulation or very rarely, thalamotomy. While DBS is usually well tolerated, the most common side effects of tremor surgery include dysarthria and balance problems.
Social Security Disability Approval For Parkinsons Disease
Until a determination that Parkinsons qualifies for the compassionate allowance, people suffering from Parkinsons have to show that their condition keeps them from performing whatever type of work they have performed over the past 15 years, or any type of work for which they could be trained.
Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Income Benefits for Parkinsons Disease
Depending on circumstances, an individual with Parkinsons may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance , Supplemental Security Income or both.
SSDI eligibility is based on work history, your average lifetime earnings before becoming disabled, and financial need. It is not based on how severe your disability is or how much income you have. SSI provides cash assistance and health care coverage to people with low income and limited assets who have reached the age of 65 or are disabled. To qualify for either program, a determination of complete disability under the SSAs guidelines must be made.
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Essential Tremor Vs Parkinsons Disease
Essential tremor and Parkinsons disease are both adult-onset tremor disorders that can be characterized by shaking that affects daily life. If you have one of these conditions, you may find it difficult to hold onto items, struggle to write normally, and notice your hands shaking uncontrollably. However, beyond that, there are many key differences.
If you believe you may suffer from one of these conditions, this guide can help you better understand the signs that you may have Parkinsons disease or essential tremor, how each is diagnosed, and what the treatment process entails. If you have questions about a certain aspect of these conditions, use the links below to navigate to its specific section:
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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Can Head Injury Cause Parkinsons Disease Understanding The Link
Can head injury cause Parkinsons Disease? And does a traumatic brain injury increase a persons chances of developing Parkinsons?
Although it is rare for a head injury to cause Parkinsons, it is a possible secondary effect you should be aware of. Head injuries can also trigger certain movement disorders that look similar to Parkinsons Disease but are in fact different.
Today you will learn more about the link between brain injury and Parkinsons Disease. Then, at the end, well show you how to treat Parkinsons and other motor problems after head injury.
What Treatments Are Available
Treatment depends on the symptoms and extent of disability caused by the tremor. If the tremor is mild, lifestyle adjustments may be all that are needed. As the condition progresses, medications or surgery can be used to relieve the symptoms.
Caffeine and stress should be avoided, and good sleep is recommended. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy, which can improve your muscle strength. Adaptive devices, including wide-grip pens and eating utensils, may help you compensate for your tremor. Alcohol, used in moderation, can reduce tremor for short periods of time.
Your doctor may prescribe certain drugs or injections to help reduce the tremors. These include, but are not limited to:
- Propranolol, a beta-blocker that is primarily used to treat high blood pressure
- Anti-seizure medications, including primidone, gabapentin, and topiramate
- Anti-anxiety medications, including clonazepam, diazepam, lorazepam, and alprazolam
- Botulinum toxin injections for head and voice tremors
The goal of surgery is to reduce symptoms by modifying the abnormal signals that cause the tremor. This can be done with deep brain stimulation or with radiosurgery.
DBS surgery involves implanting electrodes within the brain and connecting them to a stimulator device that resembles a pacemaker. The stimulator delivers electrical pulses to regulate brain activity. Radiosurgery creates a small, permanent lesion in the brain without a permanent implant.
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