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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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.
Decrease In Facial Expressions
The person may appear Frozen.
He/she may appear to stare because blinking is reduced.
He/she may fail to laugh when a joke is made. A person with Parkinsons understands the joke, but is unable to smile or laugh.
In the same way, he/she may find it difficult to cry or express anger on their face.
Humans sense facial emotions very quickly.
Therefore, in retrospect, this is often recognized as an early symptom of Parkinsons disease by the patient or family members.
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What Are Parkinsons Early Symptomsis There A Natural Cure For Parkinsons
Parkinsons early symptoms usually start on one side of the body and only later do you get them on both sides.
Now here’s the tricky part:
Parkinsons early symptoms are very subtle and are usually ignored. Stiffness and slowing down are seen as normal signs of aging, or to be caused by something else.
- For example, when my friend first got signs of Parkinson disease, she thought nothing of it.
- Her lower back was sore, and she began to fall occasionally, but she figured it was due to an old injury.
- She did not recognize loss of balance and coordination as one of Parkinsons early symptoms.
No one wants to face getting a diagnosis. But the chances of using a natural cure for Parkinsons that works, are better earlier, before starting Parkinson Disease medication.
Here’s the problem with Parkinson causes:
So if you even think you might have early symptoms of Parkinson, you will want to know about new discoveries for protecting your brain from further damage!
Yes, there are things you can do to slow Parkinson’s disease symptoms, and for some people they can be like a Parkinson cure.
- Many are successfully putting off using Parkinsons meds with new discoveries of new brain health supplements.
- Others are using these supplements alongside their meds and getting the use of their hands back.
Who Is Affected By Tremor
About 70% of people with Parkinsons experience a tremor at some point in the disease. Tremor appears to be slightly less common in younger people with PD, though it is still one of the most troublesome symptoms. People with resting tremor usually have a more slowly progressing course of illness than people without tremor.
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Diagnosing Early Onset Parkinsons Disease
There is no single test to detect Parkinsons. A diagnosis may be difficult and take a while. The condition is usually diagnosed by a neurologist based on a review of your symptoms and a physical exam.
A DaTscan to visualize your brains dopamine system may help confirm diagnosis. Blood tests and other imaging tests, such as an MRI scan, dont diagnose Parkinsons. However, they may be used to rule out other conditions.
Stages Of Parkinsons Disease
Neurologists usually describe the progression of Parkinsons symptoms in stages, using the system known as the Hoehn and Yahr scale. These stages are:
- Stage I Symptoms are seen on one side of the body only.
- Stage II Symptoms are seen on both sides of the body. Theres no impairment of balance.
- Stage III Balance impairment has begun. In this mild- to moderate stage of the disease, the person is still physically independent.
- Stage IV This stage is marked by severe disability, but the person is still able to walk or stand unassisted.
- Stage V The person is wheelchair-bound or bedridden unless assisted.
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What Are The Later Secondary Signs And Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease
While the main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are movement-related, progressive loss of muscle control and continued damage to the brain can lead to secondary symptoms. These secondary symptoms vary in severity, and not everyone with Parkinson’s will experience all of them, and may include:
Common Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons is mostly known for its movement-related symptoms . Everyone with Parkinsons has the first symptom, bradykinesia. The term literally means slowness of movement. Researchers believe that this is due to changes in the motor areas of the brain . These changes interfere with the brains ability to execute the commands to move.
Experiencing bradykinesia alone does not result in a diagnosis of Parkinsons disease. The patient must also exhibit at least one of the following movement symptoms:
- Postural instability
Of the three, tremor is the most common and most commonly associated with the condition. It presents as a slight shaking in the hand or chin. Rigidity is when the patient experiences stiffness in the arms or legs that is not caused by arthritis. Finally, postural instability simply means that the patient has issues with balance or is prone to falling.
Other movement symptoms include:
- Insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, restless legs syndrome, vivid dreams, and other sleep disorders
- Losing sense of taste or smell
- Mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, and apathy
Some non-movement symptoms do not become apparent until a patient has had PD for many years.
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Depression And Anxiety Are Also Early Warning Signs Of Parkinsons How So
A: Like the other symptoms discussed here, late-onset depression and anxiety are nonmotor prodromal manifestations of the condition. Its not that everyone who is depressed will get Parkinsons, and the numbers are lower than they are for symptoms like anosmia and REM behavior disorder. But the link is important to explore, and we are doing more research on it all the time.
Your Symptoms Are Unique To You
Article written by Jackie Hunt Christensen.
Since that life-altering moment you received your diagnosis, you probably have learned about the symptoms of Parkinsons disease and your treatment options. But what you should also know is that your Parkinsons and how you deal with it are as unique as you are.
For some people embracing new activities that refocus their attention away from troubling symptoms and onto things that are intrinsically satisfying can help. The key, she says, is to find ways to bring joy and happiness into your life every day.
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How Is Parkinsons Disease Diagnosed
There is no test that can prove that you have PD. The diagnosis is based on you having the typical symptoms . In the early stage of the disease, when symptoms are mild, it may be difficult for a doctor to say if you definitely have PD. As the symptoms gradually become worse, the diagnosis often becomes more clear.
PD is sometimes confused with other conditions. Some conditions can give Parkinsonism features that is, symptoms similar to PD but caused by other conditions. For example, some medicines used to treat other conditions can cause side-effects which resemble symptoms of PD. Some rare brain disorders can also cause similar symptoms.
Therefore, it is normal practice in the UK to be referred to a specialist if PD is suspected. The specialist will be used to diagnosing PD and ruling out other causes of the symptoms. They will usually be either a neurologist or a doctor specialising in elderly care. If there is still doubt about the diagnosis, sometimes a scan of the brain is carried out. This helps to differentiate PD from some other conditions that can cause Parkinsonism features. Other tests sometimes needed include blood tests and tests of your sense of smell.
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Noticing Early Signs Of Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons early symptoms are easy to overlook, so you may want to take seriously the feedback you are getting from friends and family!
You might even ask if they have noticed anything such as:
- Do you seem more still than usual and a bit slower?
- Are you more stiff than usual?
- Your face may have less expression than it used to have, and blink less, because one of the Parkinsons symptoms is called a “masked face.”
- You might be speaking more softly
- You have more trouble with walking or even talking and lose track of a word or thought
- Even being depressed and irritable could be signs of Parkinsons disease
What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Symptoms of Parkinsons disease and the rate of decline vary widely from person to person. The most common symptoms include:
Other symptoms include:
- Speech/vocal changes: Speech may be quick, become slurred or be soft in tone. You may hesitate before speaking. The pitch of your voice may become unchanged .
- Handwriting changes: You handwriting may become smaller and more difficult to read.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Sleeping disturbances including disrupted sleep, acting out your dreams, and restless leg syndrome.
- Pain, lack of interest , fatigue, change in weight, vision changes.
- Low blood pressure.
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What Are Lewy Bodies
The affected neurons of people with Parkinsons disease have been found to contain clumped proteins called Lewy bodies, but researchers arent yet sure why Lewy bodies form or what role they play in the disease.
Lewy bodies are clumps of a protein called alpha-synuclein . Neurons cant break down these protein clumps, which may lead to the death of these cells.
Some other theories about what causes the death of brain cells in people with Parkinsons disease include free radical damage, inflammation, or toxins.
What Causes Parkinsons Symptoms
While Parkinsons diseases impact on the brain is better understood today, the cause of the condition is unknown. Research points to a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Scientists are looking for links between Parkinsons disease and genetics, aging, toxins in the environment, and free radicals, which react with certain chemicals in the body and may interfere with the ability of cells to function normally.
The process of impairment of brain cells is called neurodegeneration. When approximately 60 to 80 percent of the dopamine-producing cells are damaged, the motor symptoms of Parkinsons disease appear. This results in an aggravation of motor and non motor symptoms.
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How Is Parkinsons Treated
While there currently is no cure for Parkinsons, there are medications that can help slow the progression of the disease. A combination of the prescription drugs Levopoda and Carbidopa are often prescribed to those living with Parkinsons. These can help reduce tremors and rigidity.
Hammel said any combinations of medications prescribed should be accompanied by an exercise program.
There are two things that 110% dictate the progression of the disease: the medications your neurologist recommends and physical activity, he said. Its like they say, if you dont use it you lose it. Thats true with movement.
Research indicates that regular exercise can slow the decline in those with Parkinsons. Exercise can also save dopamine, Hammel added. Loss of dopamine is what causes the disease in the first place, so, exercise is huge, he said.
There are several Parkinsons exercise programs out there. Check with your doctor to see which one is right for you.
What Is Parkinsons Disease Its A Movement Disorder
Parkinsons disease is a progressive brain illness that affects the way you move. In more clinical terms, Parkinsons disease is a neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system.
Normally, there are cells in the brain that produce a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine sends signals to the parts of your brain that control movement. When approximately 60-80% of the dopamine-producing brain cells are damaged, symptoms of Parkinsons disease appear, and you may have trouble moving the way you want.
Parkinsons disease is a chronic illness and it slowly progresses over time. While there is no therapy or medicine that cures Parkinsons disease, there are good treatment options available that can help you live a full life.
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Do People Actually Lose Their Sense Of Smell With Parkinson’s
A: Yes. It’s a condition called anosmia, and if you have it with no other disease , you have at least a 50 percent chance of developing Parkinson’s disease in the next five to 10 years. What happens is that alpha-synuclein, the protein that clumps in the part of the brain that regulates dopamine and leads to Parkinson’s disease, also aggregates in the olfactory bulb, the part of the brain responsible for your sense of smell. This happens well before the protein accumulations cause motor symptoms.
Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Parkinson’s 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 Parkinson’s 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 Parkinson’s 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 Parkinson’s. They may see that the person’s face lacks expression and animation, or that the person does not move an arm or leg normally.
People with Parkinson’s 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.
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Earliest Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Most people know that Parkinsons disease causes problems with movement. But did you know it can produce non-movement symptoms as well?
In fact, non-motor symptoms can occur many years before movement problems.
The 4 most common non-motor symptoms are remembered using the short-form: CARD. These letters stand for:
Depression May Be An Early Symptom Of Parkinsons
Depression is one of the most common, and most disabling, non-motor symptoms of Parkinsons disease. As many as 50 per cent of people with Parkinsons experience the symptoms of clinical depression at some stage of the disease. Some people experience depression up to a decade or more before experiencing any motor symptoms of Parkinsons.
Clinical depression and anxiety are underdiagnosed symptoms of Parkinsons. Researchers believe that depression and anxiety in Parkinsons disease may be due to chemical and physical changes in the area of the brain that affect mood as well as movement. These changes are caused by the disease itself.
Here are some suggestions to help identify depression in Parkinsons:
- Mention changes in mood to your physician if they do not ask you about these conditions.
- Complete our Geriatric Depression Scale-15 to record your feelings so you can discuss symptoms with your doctor. Download the answer key and compare your responses.
- delusions and impulse control disorders
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What Causes Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease occurs when nerve cells in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra become impaired or die. These cells normally produce dopamine, a chemical that helps the cells of the brain communicate . When these nerve cells become impaired or die, they produce less dopamine. Dopamine is especially important for the operation of another area of the brain called the basal ganglia. This area of the brain is responsible for organizing the brains commands for body movement. The loss of dopamine causes the movement symptoms seen in people with Parkinsons disease.
People with Parkinsons disease also lose another neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. This chemical is needed for proper functioning of the sympathetic nervous system. This system controls some of the bodys autonomic functions such as digestion, heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. Loss of norepinephrine causes some of the non-movement-related symptoms of Parkinsons disease.
Scientists arent sure what causes the neurons that produce these neurotransmitter chemicals to die.