Why This Disease Occurs
It is not exactly clear why Parkinsons disease occurs. Researchers think that several factors play a role in its development.
Increasing age is the strongest known risk factor for Parkinsons disease. The chances of developing the disease increase significantly as the person gets older. The current estimate shows that 1% of the population over the age of 60 is affected by Parkinsons disease. And it reaches to 5% with over age 80.
Genetics is another important cause of Parkinsons disease development. Approximately 15% of Parkinsons disease cases have a clear-cut genetic origin. Although the rest 85% of cases appear with no apparent cause, researchers believe that it mostly involved some genetic components.
In addition, researchers have identified several environmental factors that are linked to the onset of Parkinsons disease. These include pesticides , emotional or extreme psychological stress, diet-related factors like coenzyme Q10 and vitamin D, traumatic brain injury, and the lack of exercise.
Am I A Candidate For Deep Brain Stimulation
Deep brain stimulation is a surgical procedure in which a device is implanted in the patient to deliver electrical pulses to the brain to decrease motor symptoms of Parkinsons disease . Generally, DBS improves symptoms that had previously responded to medication, like levodopa therapy.
DBS may be considered for people who have had Parkinsons for four years or more and who have significant off periods, times when their medication isnt working well, or those who have dyskinesias . It does not work well to treat balance impairments, freezing when walking, or non-motor symptoms of PD. Because DBS can worsen cognition or memory problems, it is not recommended for people with dementia.
Both a neurologist and a neurosurgeon evaluate people with PD who may be candidates for DBS. Evaluation includes reviewing medications and symptoms. Brain scans, using MRI or CT scans, are performed, and a memory and thinking test may be used to evaluate cognitive function.
Parkinson’s Disease Quiz Questions
- What was Parkinson’s Disease originally refered to?
- A.& nbsp
- Sample QuestionThe dopamine-producing region of the brain which dies in Parkinsons disease is called theAmygdala
- Sample QuestionYou are having lunch with a friend in your office cafeteria. It is seemingly quiet, and the only other sound is the soft humming of the refrigerator. Your friend sits across from you and places her container on the table. You take a quick peek which of the following foods listed would alarm you the most?Stacy’s Pita Chips
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What Is Guided Imagery
Guided imagery is a proven form of focused relaxation that helps create harmony between the mind and body. Guided imagery coaches you in creating calm, peaceful images in your mind — a “mental escape.”
This technique, which can aid any treatment or procedure, provides a powerful psychological strategy that enhances a person’s coping skills. Many people dealing with stress feel loss of control, fear, panic, anxiety, helplessness, and uncertainty. Research has shown that guided imagery can dramatically counteract these effects. It can help people overcome stress, anger, pain, depression, insomnia, and other problems often associated with illnesses and medical/surgical procedures. It is clear that stress and depression can worsen the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. By using guided imagery, you can stay calm.
What Can We Do As A Family To Help
Providing the appropriate level of care for a loved one with Parkinsons can often slow the progression of the disease. A physician can offer insight into things that can prove beneficial for a senior with Parkinsons, such as staying active, maintaining a healthy diet, and performing mental exercises. The doctor can also provide recommendations for other professionals to speak with, such as neurologists and physical therapists.
Parkinsons disease can be particularly challenging in its final stages, and family caregivers can easily get overwhelmed. If youre the primary caregiver for a senior family member and you need respite care, Victoria, BC, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Our respite caregivers are trained to assist older adults with a wide variety of everyday tasks, including meal prep, physical activity, and personal hygiene. We also provide 24-hour care and specialized care for seniors with Alzheimers, dementia, and Parkinsons. For reliable in-home care services, contact us at 592-4881 today.
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How Is Parkinsons Diagnosed
Doctors use your medical history and physical examination to diagnose Parkinson’s disease . No blood test, brain scan or other test can be used to make a definitive diagnosis of PD.
Researchers believe that in most people, Parkinson’s is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Certain environmental exposures, such as pesticides and head injury, are associated with an increased risk of PD. Still, most people have no clear exposure that doctors can point to as a straightforward cause. The same goes for genetics. Certain genetic mutations are linked to an increased risk of PD. But in the vast majority of people, Parkinsons is not directly related to a single genetic mutation. Learning more about the genetics of Parkinsons is one of our best chances to understand more about the disease and discover how to slow or stop its progression.
Aging is the greatest risk factor for Parkinsons, and the average age at diagnosis is 60. Still, some people get PD at 40 or younger.
Men are diagnosed with Parkinsons at a higher rate than women and whites more than other races. Researchers are studying these disparities to understand more about the disease and health care access and to improve inclusivity across care and research.
Aging is the greatest risk factor for Parkinsons, and the average age at diagnosis is 60. Still, some people get PD at 40 or younger.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation has made finding a test for Parkinsons disease one of our top priorities.
Parkinson’s Disease Can Be Prevented
There does not seem to be a way to predict or prevent Parkinson’s disease. Current research is investigating a biomarker â some kind of biological abnormality that would be present in patients with PD â that would be able to be detected from testing. This could help doctors identify people who are at-risk for developing Parkinson’s and thus find treatments to stop the disease process in the early stages or slow the progression. There are rare cases of genetically inherited PD where researchers can test for these genetic biomarkers to determine a person’s risk for developing the disease.
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Myth : Parkinsons Is Only A Motor Condition
Fact: While its true that Parkinsons disease symptoms include shaking and tremor, rigid muscles, slowness of movement, and a frozen or flat expression, its a lot more than that.
Nonmotor symptoms deserve and are getting more attention from doctors and researchers. These symptoms include cognitive impairment or dementia , anxiety and depression, fatigue, sleep problems and more.
For some patients, nonmotor symptoms are more disabling than motor symptoms, which are the focus of treatment. Be sure to talk to your doctor about other issues so you can get all of your symptoms addressed.
What Are Possible Medication Or Treatment Side Effects
Treatments can often have unpleasant side effects that go along with the positive benefits. Before starting a medication or having a procedure, its good to be aware of these. Not everyone experiences side effects and not all side effects are dangerous, although some may be uncomfortable.
Ask your doctor what the common side effects are, and which ones require immediate medical attention.
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When I Am In The Hospital Why Don’t I Always Get My Medications On Time
Hospitals and hospital pharmacies have their own dosing schedules. A medication written for “TID ” may be given at 7 AM – 3 PM – 11 PM or some other standard schedule. Many hospitals may have a policy that permits nurses to give medications at times different from the scheduled time. This policy is a practical compromise because nursing staffs are busy and each nurse cares for multiple patients. Such a policy provides nurses time to complete their scheduled duties and allows flexibility in case of emergencies on the ward. As a result, it may seem that patients with Parkinson’s disease receive their medications at random times.
How can such a situation be remedied? First, make sure that the drug schedule, with specific times, is written into the doctor’s orders. Check that the physician knows when it should be given. Bring with you the complete list of your medications with the correct dosage. Talk with your nurse about the importance of receiving your medications on time. Explain that, without the medications, you can be immobile or uncomfortable and that the medications allow you to move around independently. You may know more about Parkinson disease than the doctor and the staff, so it is your responsibility to help them understand your situation. While you will still need to be somewhat flexible, sharing your knowledge can alleviate many problems. The staff wants patients to be well cared for during their stay.
Parkinson’s Disease Is Only Seen In People Of Advanced Age
Parkinson’s disease isn’t just seen in people of advanced age. While it does tend to affect people over age 60 more often, in about 5% to 10% of cases, “early onset” PD can begin in people as young as age 40. The progression of PD is different for everyone, however, those who develop it at earlier ages seem to have a more severe progression. Life expectancy for people with Parkinson’s disease is about the same as the average population, but complications from the disease in the later stages can lead to fatal outcomes from choking, pneumonia, and falling.
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Questions To Ask My Specialist Or Parkinson’s Nurse
If you’ve just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, you may find it helpful to think about questions to ask your doctor or nurse at your next appointment.
Making a list of the questions you want to ask will help you feel more prepared.
Try to make your questions as concise as possible. You may want to give your GP, specialist or Parkinsons nurse the list to read at the beginning of the appointment.
If a healthcare professional says things you dont understand, ask them to explain.
It is much better to admit you dont understand than to pretend you do, and then find you dont know what you need to do when you get home.
Some questions you may want to ask include:
- Im concerned about a particular symptom. What can help?
- How soon should I start medication?
- What type of side effects might I get from my medication?
- I have another medical condition as well as Parkinsons. What should I do?
- Which other health professionals can help me?
- I’m feeling stressed and down about my diagnosis. What help can I get?
- How often will I see you?
- When will I have my next appointment?
- Can I have more time with you?
Remember that many healthcare appointments can be quite short.
If you have several things you want to talk about, tell the receptionist when you call to make an appointment.
They may be able to offer a double appointment it’s always worth asking.
Myth : Parkinsons Medications Cause Symptoms
Fact: Even though the myth that Parkinsons disease medicines are toxic and make the condition progress faster was completely debunked, it persists. Levodopa is the main drug therapy for Parkinsons disease. Its a potent drug that helps patients with motor symptoms. But many people got the idea that over time, it makes the disease progress faster. The myth was that levodopa is somehow toxic and is somehow making the Parkinsons progression faster, hurting patients.
This misconception was debunked decades ago with a large clinical trial, where it was found that people exposed to levodopa versus a placebo werent worse. In fact, they were better at the end of the study.
Its true that levodopa isnt a cure as yet, there is no cure for Parkinsons disease but its not toxic.
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What To Ask If A Loved One Is Diagnosed With Parkinsons
By Lutgarda Mariano 9 am on October 8, 2021
If your aging loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinsons disease, you undoubtedly have many questions. From general information about the disease to how it will affect your parents physical and mental capabilities, it can be challenging to know which questions to ask or where to even start. Here are a few questions to ask your loved ones doctor that will help you get a better understanding of the disease, treatment options, and how to best provide high-quality care.
How Is Parkinsons Disease Diagnosed
Unfortunately, there is no single test that can diagnose Parkinson’s disease . If PD is suspected, the person should be referred to a neurologist specially trained in movement disorders who can assess for signs and symptoms of the disease. The exam usually involves questions about the persons history followed by a neurologic exam.
Diagnosis of PD is generally made using a medical history and a physical exam, or a neurological exam. Imaging tests, such as MRI , PET scans, or DaTscans are expensive and are not routinely used.
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What Treatments Are Available To Me
There is no cure for Parkinsons disease, but there are many treatments that can help improve your symptoms and delay the progress of the disease. The combination of medication and other treatments that work best for you depend on your specific symptoms as well as your total health history.
Available treatments include:
- Prescription medications: Prescription medications often include levodopa, MAO inhibitors, and/or anticholinergics. Levodopa is often the first-line treatment for people with PD. It increases the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. MAO inhibitors affect how fast dopamine is cleared from the brain. Anticholinergics affect a different neurotransmitter in the brain and can sometimes help reduce PD tremors.
- Surgical treatment, including deep brain stimulation: Surgery is generally reserved for people who are in the later stages of the disease or who dont improve with medication, therapy, and other lifestyle changes.
- Over-the-counter medications and supplements: There is a lot of ongoing research about how effective alternative medicines and supplements can be in reducing PD symptoms. Some supplements might be able to help, but some can actually cause harm, including vitamin E supplements, although dietary vitamin E is good for your body. Be sure to inform your doctors about any supplements you are taking, since they can often interfere with prescription medications.
Is It Normal To Feel Depressed
Yes! Researchers have found that 40 to 50 percent of people with Parkinsons are depressed. Other brain and mood symptoms include anxiety, sleep disturbances, and behavior changes. Getting a difficult diagnosis can make people feel sad or worried, but this kind of depression is more prolonged and more serious.
Researchers believe that the underlying changes in the brain that cause PD might also cause depression. In fact, some people think that depression might be an early sign of Parkinsons. Medication, mental health counseling, and support groups can all effectively treat this kind of depression, so be sure to tell your doctor how you feel.
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What Other Specialists Can Help Manage My Care
The physical, psychological, and quality-of-life effects of PD are often best managed using a team approach. Your medical team will likely include a neurologist, primary care provider, and an internal medicine specialist. To help you handle specific symptoms and better manage your day-to-day life, it can also be useful to work with occupational and physical therapists, mental health counselors, and a registered dietician.
Im A Caregiver Or Care Partnerand Its Hard How Do I Cope
There are a variety of challenges caregivers/care partners face, including financial, health, and emotional. The caregiver is often the health care advocate for their loved one, manages medications and scheduling, and assists with daily care, like hygiene and getting dressed. In addition, the caregiver provides emotional support for their loved one, as they deal with living with a chronic, progressive disease.
Thats a ton of work and a ton of added stress! It is vital that caregivers take time to care for themselves and set up support systems. Asking for help is a sign of strengthbe open to accepting help from others! Also, finding ways to manage your stress is important. Some ways to reduce stress and recharge your batteries include:
- Abdominal breathing
I Dont Have Tremorsdoes That Mean I Dont Have Parkinsons What Are The Symptoms
A tremor in one or both hands, arms, or legs is one of the most common symptom of Parkinsons disease , although not all people with PD experience tremor.
It is also important to note that PD affects each person differently. Different people with PD have different combinations of symptoms, and those symptoms can be at varying severity levels.
Symptoms of PD include:
- Cognitive changes, including memory difficulties, slowed thinking, confusion, impaired visual-spatial skills, and dementia
- Hallucinations, paranoia, and agitation
What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease
The main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are:
- tremor or shaking, often when resting or tired. It usually begins in one arm or hand
- muscle rigidity or stiffness, which can limit movement and may be painful
- slowing of movement, which may lead to periods of freezing and small shuffling steps
- stooped posture and balance problems
The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease vary from person to person as well as over time. Some people also experience:
- loss of unconscious movements, such as blinking and smiling
- difficulties with handwriting
- drop in blood pressure leading to dizziness
- difficulty swallowing
Many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease could be caused by other conditions. For example, stooped posture could be caused by osteoporosis. But if you are worried by your symptoms, it is a good idea to see your doctor.
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