Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Questions To Ask About Parkinson’s Disease

What Can We Do As A Family To Help

Commonly Asked Questions in the Parkinsons Disease Clinic

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.

Is There Anything I Can Do With My Diet To Manage The Side Effects I Experience From All Of The Medications I Take

Depending on the side effects you experience, there may be ways to help minimize them with your diet. For example, if you experience nausea, eating bland foods like saltines and cold liquids may help, as can eating slowly and in smaller portions. Again, if your side effects are unbearable, talk to your doctor as soon as possible to see if they can adjust your medications or suggest other alternatives. Unfortunately, theres been no evidence to suggest that the food you eat can eliminate side effects altogether however, experimenting with various nutrition plans may certainly help you manage them better.

No Matter What I Do I Keep Gaining Weight Whats Happening And What Can I Do About It

Weight gain is another common side effect that can occur from a decreased ability to exercise or as a result of gastric emptying, in which you may feel like youre uncontrollably gaining weight despite not eating much. The discrepancy may have to do with your body going into starvation mode as it tries to recalibrate your energy input and output. Again, the best course of action is to speak with your doctor about a weight loss plan that aligns with your specific issues and goals. Also, you might consider an anti-inflammatory diet if youre suffering from weight gain associated with gastric emptying.

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Where Can I Get More Information And Resources

There are many patient advocacy and research organizations that maintain current, accurate information and patient-education resource libraries. These include:

Work On Daily Wellness

NIHSeniorHealth: Parkinson

Wellness and overall health is important. Subramanian recommends finding proactive things you can do for yourself every day that make you feel better. Think about incorporating exercise and mind-body strategies such as yoga or mindfulness.

What do you like to do? What brings you joy and meaning? she says. Find ways to increase these in your life. Realize that sleep, hydration, and a healthy diet can make you feel better.

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Parkinsons Is A Progressive Disease Whats Meant By That

Parkinsons is not like a flu or fever that you take antibiotics and recover in 2-3 days. It is a progressive disease that means it develops and becomes worse over time.

At first, some abnormal changes appear in the brain that begins to damage parts of the brain responsible for movements. These changes are gradual and the effect is limited to the brain only.

After 15-20 years, the damage reaches the level where it begins to affect body normal movements. This is the early stage where typical symptoms of the disease start to develop. These early symptoms are mild and appear either on one or both sides of the body. At this stage, the disease can easily be diagnosed clinically.

After 10 years of diagnosis, the brains ability of performing movement functions is severely affected. The symptoms become severe and begins to affect the patients daily life activities. This is called the mid-stage of the disease.

When the disease has passed 20 years, it reaches its advanced stage. At this stage, the symptoms become very severe and most often the patient needs assistance for mobility.

Q How Do You Know That I Have Parkinsons Disease Do I Need To Get Any More Testing

A. Many people who receive a diagnosis of PD are surprised that the doctor made the diagnosis with seemingly very little objective testing. Some of the motor features of PD are unique to PD and easily observed by a neurologist who are trained in these assessments. Neurologists are therefore able diagnose many people in a very straightforward manner and further testing is not necessary.

However, not everyones diagnosis is as simple as that, and for those people, there are more objective tests that are available. DaTSCAN, as well as a test of cerebrospinal fluid and a skin biopsy test can give doctors more information about diagnosis.

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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.

What Treatments Are Available To Me

Ask the MD: What are the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?

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.

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Q Is Diet Important If So What Should I Eat Or Avoid Eating

A. Yes! In addition to exercise, diet is a major influence on your health that is under your control. The MIND and Mediterranean diets have been shown to be brain-healthy and are great options for people with PD. Vegetables, whole grains, legumes, olive oil, and low-fat proteins like fish and poultry are among the recommended foods.

What Are The Treatments

Currently there is no cure for Parkinsons disease.

Symptoms can be mild in the early stages of the condition and people might not need immediate treatment. Your doctor and specialist will monitor your situation.

There are several different types of drugs used to treat Parkinsons disease. Drug treatments are tailored to each individuals needs and are likely to involve a combination of different drugs. Your medication should be reviewed regularly. It is likely that, over time, changes will be made to the types of drugs you take and the doses you take each day.

The main types of drug treatment for Parkinsons disease are:

  • drugs which replace dopamine
  • drugs which mimic the role of dopamine
  • drugs which inhibit the activity of acetylcholine
  • drugs which prevent the body breaking down dopamine
  • other drugs such as anti-sickness medication

Everybody is affected differently by medication. The possible side effects of Parkinsons disease drugs include nausea , vomiting , tiredness and dizziness. Some people might experience confusion, nightmares and hallucinations. For some people, dopamine agonists have been linked to compulsive behaviour such as addictive gambling or hypersexuality .

The effectiveness of the main drug treatment levodopa can wear off over time and its long-term use can cause some people to develop involuntary twisting or writhing movements of the arms, legs or face . To reduce the risk, doctors might delay the use of levodopa for younger people.

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Common Questions Caregivers Ask

  • Are there special aids I need to consider for the home?
  • Will a special diet be required?
  • What side effects should I expect from medications?
  • Is surgery necessary?
  • What therapy options are beneficial?

These are all important queries, but there are additional issues that should be brought up immediately following a diagnosis.

Where Can I Find Reliable Information On Parkinsons Disease


There are multiple national patient advocacy and research organizations that focus on Parkinsons disease. Some of these include, the Parkinsons Foundation, the American Parkinson Disease Association, and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research. The National Institutes of Health and its associated resources are also a reliable source for disease information.

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What Should I Know About Nutrition As It Relates To The Use Of Medical Marijuana

Currently, theres no legally prescribed medical marijuana for Parkinsons treatment, but for some people with Parkinsons, certain strains of medical marijuana and CBD oil have been found to be anecdotally helpful in alleviating tremors. And many people use it as part of their comprehensive nutritional plan. Unfortunately, there havent been enough clinical trials completed that provide indisputable evidence for the benefits of medical marijuana. If you live in a state where medical marijuana is available, be sure to talk to your doctor before you give it a try.

Questions For The Doctor

To start that conversation, below are 10 questions to ask your doctor. These questions are just a starting point because each person experiences PD differently however, adapting to caring for someone with late stage PD can be challenging. Knowing you are not alone, and having resources for additional information and support, can make the task more manageable.2,3,4,5

  • What does cognitive change really mean? What parts of our life will change?
  • Is cognitive change reversible? Are there medical reasons other than PD?
  • Do more physical changes occur at the same time as the mental changes?
  • Are there any tests to diagnose the cognitive changes? Can changes in memory and thinking be just part of getting older?
  • Are there specific medications to treat psychological issues? How do those drugs interact with regular PD medications?
  • Can this progress to dementia, Alzheimers, or Lewy Body dementia? How are those all different?
  • Some people say they are “going crazy,” seeing or hearing things. What is the difference between a hallucination and a delusion? Does everyone get them? Should a caregivers response be different in those instances?
  • What factors can affect someones thinking and what changes need to be made at home?It’s helpful to identify triggers and discuss personal safety .
  • How do caregiving needs change? Can someone with severe cognitive deficits ever be alone?
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    What Is The Difference Between Tremors And Parkinson’s Disease

    The most common cause of tremor is a condition called essential tremor. Both essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease are movement disorders. A movement disorder can be defined as any disease or injury that interferes with an individual’s movement.

    ET and PD are different conditions but are sometimes associated because they share many features.

    Essential tremor is a disease of the body’s system of nerves characterized by tremors. Areas affected most often include the hands, arms, head, and sometimes the voice. Essential tremor does not affect life expectancy, but it can become disabling for many common activities, such as writing and eating. ET also does not increase the risk for Parkinson’s disease.

    Symptoms of essential tremor include:

    • Involuntary tremors that occur for brief periods of time
    • A shaking voice
    • Tremors are the only symptom
    • Difficulty with balance

    Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive brain and nerve disease that affects a small area of nerve cells in an area of the brain known as the substantia nigra. These cells normally produce dopamine, a chemical that transmits signals between areas in the brain. These signals, when working normally, coordinate smooth and balanced muscle movement. Parkinson’s disease however, causes the neurons in the substantia nigra to die, leading to a lack of dopamine in the brain. The loss of dopamine leads to a loss of the ability to control body movements normally.

    Remember You Are Not Alone

    Ask the Expert – Parkinson’s Medication Update

    Parkinsons is a relatively common disease, with 60,000 Americans diagnosed every year. According to research conducted by the Parkinsons Foundation, approximately 930,000 people will be living with Parkinsons in American by 2020. That number is expected to increase to 1.2 million by 2030. Approximately 15% of people who get Parkinsons have a family history of the disease.

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    Communicating With Your Doctor

    One of the most important parts of getting good medical care is communicating with your doctor and health care team, so you can make smart, informed decisions about your health. That includes getting detailed information about your condition, how it can be treated, what the possible side effects of different treatment options are, and what you can do to improve your quality of life. It also includes information about coping with your diagnosis and treatment, both emotionally and physically.

    I Have Terrible Insomnia Are There Any Nutritional Choices I Can Make That Might Help Me Fall Asleep And Stay Asleep Longer

    Sleep issues are very common among people with Parkinsons. In fact, changes in sleeping habits are often among the first signs of Parkinsons.

    Fortunately, there are changes you can make to improve your ability to get the rest you need.

    Sleep hygiene is an umbrella term for different actions you can take to enhance your sleep. Practicing good sleep hygiene can go a long way towards improving both the quantity and the quality of your sleep each night. When it comes to optimal nutrition for sleep, most doctors and dieticians recommend watching what you eat and when you eat it, limiting your fluid intake and limiting your sugar intake.

    If your poor sleep is actually a result of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder , be sure to speak with your doctor and your care partner so you can get the help you need.

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    How Long Can My Parent Expect To Enjoy An Independent Lifestyle

    This is a common question among families, and the answer can vary from person to person. With the right medication and treatment, some seniors with Parkinsons can expect to enjoy living independently for approximately 10 to 15 years. However, having an understanding of the general timeline and progression of the disease will allow you to plan for your parents future care needs, such as making his or her home safe and hiring in-home care.

    Many seniors in the early stages of Parkinsons are able to live on their own, but they may need a bit of help with everyday activities, such as exercising and preparing nutritious meals. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable elder care.Families trust Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.

    Get Involved In Advocacy

    Questions a #caregiver should ask about Parkinson

    If you can, get involved in PD-related advocacy. Subramanian suggests reading the book Ending Parkinsons Disease and joining the PD Avengers as a good place to start.

    Participation in clinical trials can be very empowering and give women living with PD a tremendous sense of purpose, she says.

    To date, most clinical trials for drugs and devices for PD have focused on white, affluent, older males, and that has impacted treatment, she adds. Women need to come forward and be heard and actively participate in advocacy and research if they want future care to reflect their unique needs.

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