Medications For People With Parkinsons Disease
Symptoms of Parkinsons disease result from the progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the brain and other organs such as the gut, which produce a neurotransmitter called dopamine. This causes a deficiency in the availability of dopamine, which is necessary for smooth and controlled movements. Medication therapy focuses on maximising the availability of dopamine in the brain. Medication regimes are individually tailored to your specific need. Parkinsons medications fit into one of the following broad categories:
- levodopa dopamine replacement therapy
- dopamine agonists mimic the action of dopamine
- COMT inhibitors used along with levodopa. This medication blocks an enzyme known as COMT to prevent levodopa breaking down in the intestine, allowing more of it to reach the brain
- anticholinergics block the effect of another brain chemical to rebalance its levels with dopamine
- amantadine has anticholinergic properties and improves dopamine transmission
- MAO type B inhibitors prevent the metabolism of dopamine within the brain.
Hindered Movement And Walking
As you get older, it is generally normal for you to lose some of your mobility. Your muscles may get weaker, and your joints may not have the same flexibility or range of motion. For many people, even in old age, any stiffness typically goes away as you move, warming up your joints and muscles. However, if you have Parkinsons, you may experience ongoing stiffness or rigidity no matter how much you move. This may be most common in the shoulders and hips, and some people with Parkinsons disease say that it feels like their feet are stuck to the floor.
Prescription Medications To Treat Parkinsons
Most movement symptoms are due to a lack of dopamine. Therefore, drugs prescribed to treat PD are dopaminergic they either replenish dopamine or mimic its effects on the brain. The most common is called levodopa. The body converts this medication into dopamine to help control movement symptoms.
Make sure your doctor knows all medications you take including over-the-counter and supplements. This helps reduce the risk of drug interactions, a common issue for Parkinsons patients.
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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.
Braaks Hypothesis On How Parkinsons Disease Begins
Braaks hypothesis, named for professor Heiko Braak, MD, who outlined the theory in 2003, suggests that rather than beginning in the brain, Parkinsons disease begins in the periphery of the body. Braaks hypothesis proposes that the earliest signs of PD are found in the gut and the olfactory bulb, an area of the brain involved in the sense of smell.2-4
The accumulation of the protein alpha-synuclein is believed to begin in the gastrointestinal tract or the olfactory bulb before progressing to other areas of the brain. After the aggregates of alpha-synuclein have formed, they appear to be capable of growing and spreading from nerve cell to nerve cell across the brain.2-4
The appearance of alpha-synuclein aggregates coincides with the appearance of symptoms: alpha-synuclein aggregates in the brainstem correlates with the onset of motor symptoms. Appearance of alpha-synuclein aggregates in the cortex correlates with dementia and cognitive dysfunction.2-4
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What Can You Do If You Have Pd
- Work with your doctor to create a plan to stay healthy. This might include the following:
- A referral to a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in the brain
- Care from an occupational therapist, physical therapist or speech therapist
- Meeting with a medical social worker to talk about how Parkinson’s will affect your life
For more information, visit our Treatment page.
Page reviewed by Dr. Chauncey Spears, Movement Disorders Fellow at the University of Florida, a Parkinsons Foundation Center of Excellence.
Parkinson’s Disease Diet And Nutrition
Maintaining Your Weight With Parkinson’s Disease
Malnutrition and weight maintenance is often an issue for people with Parkinson’s disease. Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy weight.
- Weigh yourself once or twice a week, unless your doctor recommends weighing yourself often. If you are taking diuretics or steroids, such as prednisone, you should weigh yourself daily.
- If you have an unexplained weight gain or loss , contact your doctor. He or she may want to modify your food or fluid intake to help manage your condition.
- Avoid low-fat or low-calorie products. . Use whole milk, whole milk cheese, and yogurt.
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What Are The Non
While Parkinson’s disease is often associated with movement changes, there are a variety of non-motor symptoms, as well. Non-motor symptoms refer to the many other changes to a person’s health and wellbeing that can happen from Parkinson’s.
These symptoms can sometimes have an even greater impact on a person’s life than tremor, rigidity, and slow movement, so it’s important to keep an eye out for them in someone with the disorder. Here are some of the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease to look out for:
What Is And Isn’t Parkinson’s Disease
I am often asked if Parkinson’s Disease is a form of Alzheimers. Parkinson’s is not Alzheimers, ALS or a brain tumor, and the prognosis for Parkinson’s, though not a perfect scenario, leaves room to live a productive life.
PD is a progressive and chronic neurological disease that often begins with mild symptoms that advance gradually over time. Symptoms can be so subtle in the early stages that they go unnoticed, leaving the disease undiagnosed for years. For patients with Parkinson’s, there is a reduction in the body chemical dopamine, which controls movement and mood so simple activities like walking, talking and writing can be impacted.
Due to the complexity of PD, diagnosis is based on a variety of factors. The best diagnosis is made by an expert doing a careful history and exam followed by tracking responses to therapy. There is no blood or laboratory test to diagnose Parkinson’s disease.
While Parkinson’s reaches all demographics, the majority of people with PD are age 60 or older. Men and people with a family history of the disease have an increased risk.
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What To Look For For Parkinsons Early Symptoms
People will begin to get a slight tremor or stiffness in an arm or leg on one side of the body, especially when they are not doing anything.
You will want to notice if this tremor gets worse when you are under stress, or if it gets better when you move the arm or when you sleep.
Early symptoms of Parkinson are easy to brush aside. This disease tends to develop slowly and and the early signs may last a long time before you get actual Parkinsons symptoms.
- “I’m getting older” is a typical way of not recognizing an early symptom of Parkinsons.
- People tend not to see their doctor until they get actual Parkinsons tremors.
- Why look into Parkinson causes early so you can help prevent or stop Parkinson disease symptoms from developing?
The less you depend on the Parkinsons medication, the better off you will be in the longer run. Why?
- Parkinson Disease medication has a “wearing off” effect.
- Eventually the Parkinson treatment meds stop working, so it’s best to act early!
- That is where alternative medicine for Parkinsons disease comes in — to slow down the process, and even for some a Parkinson cure.
Acting Out What Youre Dreaming
- People with REM sleep behavior disorder might talk in their sleep and flail their arms and legs during dreams, accidentally hitting or kicking a person in the same bed.
When people learn about the sleep disorder, they often say, Ive been doing that for years. Theyre sometimes astonished to learn its an early symptom of Parkinsons, Dr. Joseph says.
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Trouble Moving Or Walking
Do you feel stiff in your body, arms or legs? Have others noticed that your arms dont swing like they used to when you walk? Sometimes stiffness goes away as you move. If it does not, it can be a sign of Parkinson’s disease. An early sign might be stiffness or pain in your shoulder or hips. People sometimes say their feet seem stuck to the floor.
What is normal?If you have injured your arm or shoulder, you may not be able to use it as well until it is healed, or another illness like arthritis might cause the same symptom.
Early Detection Is Important
Some people never share with their doctor a subtle symptom, such as a periodic involuntary jerk of a finger, because it doesnt cross their minds as something worrisome.But Dr. Joseph advises not to wait until symptoms progress to get checked out. That finger jerk could progress into a full-blown tremor.Dr. Joseph, who was inspired to treat patients with Parkinsons when she saw a deep brain stimulation procedure stop a patients tremor in medical school, wants you to know that its normal to feel scared about having symptoms evaluated for a possible Parkinsons diagnosis.But she encourages you to be brave and get an exam for this important reason: People who start Parkinsons treatment earlier have less disability and longer lifespans!
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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.
Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease is a progressive disease and the symptoms of this disease are often unnoticeable during the initial stage.
One of the most obvious symptoms of this condition is tremors in the hand or changes in the movement in one side of your body.
Lets discuss them as follows:
Some of the early symptoms of Parkinsons can begin a number of years before motor problems develop.
The earliest signs are a decrease in your ability to smell oranosmia, constipation, small, cramped handwriting, voice changes, and stooped posture.
Moreover, the 4 major motor issues that are noticeable are:Tremor or shaking that occurs at rest, slow movements, stiffness of arms, legs, and trunk.
Problems with balance and tendency to fall are among the motor problems.
Secondary symptoms of this disease are:
Blank facial expressions, a tendency to get stuck when walking, muffled, or low volume speech.
Parkinsons gait is the tendency to take shuffling steps while walking.
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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.
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.
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Do This If You Suspect A Problem
Not sure if what you’re experiencing is related to Parkinson’s? The Parkinson’s Foundation explains that “No single one of these signs means you should worry about having PD, but if you have more than one sign, you should consider making an appointment to talk to your doctor.” If they, too, suspect a problem, they can refer you to a neurologist, connect you with other specialists including physical therapists or occupational therapists, and help you plan for lifestyle changes that will keep you healthier longer.
Why Is Expert Care Important
Early expert care can help reduce PD complications. Findings show that 60 percent of people with Parkinson’s fall short of getting the expert care they need. The National Parkinson Foundation has estimated that about 6,400 people with Parkinson’s die unnecessarily each year due to poor care.
Trained neurologists will help you recognize, treat and manage the disease. Common approaches include medication, surgical treatment, lifestyle modifications , physical therapy, support groups, occupational therapy and speech therapy. The best approach is interdisciplinary care, where you are seen by multiple specialists on a regular basis and all of the specialists talk and arrange the best possible coordinated care. This is what is referred to as a patient-centric approach to Parkinson’s care.
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Depression And Anxiety Are Also Early Warning Signs Of Parkinson’s How So
A: Like the other symptoms discussed here, late-onset depression and anxiety are nonmotor prodromal manifestations of the condition. It’s not that everyone who is depressed will get Parkinson’s, 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.
Stage Two Of Parkinsons Disease
Stage two is still considered early disease in PD, and it is characterized by symptoms on both sides of the body or at the midline without impairment to balance. Stage two may develop months or years after stage one.
Symptoms of PD in stage two may include the loss of facial expression on both sides of the face, decreased blinking, speech abnormalities, soft voice, monotone voice, fading volume after starting to speak loudly, slurring speech, stiffness or rigidity of the muscles in the trunk that may result in neck or back pain, stooped posture, and general slowness in all activities of daily living. However, at this stage the individual is still able to perform tasks of daily living.
Diagnosis may be easy at this stage if the patient has a tremor however, if stage one was missed and the only symptoms of stage two are slowness or lack of spontaneous movement, PD could be misinterpreted as only advancing age.
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Alternative Therapies To Treat Parkinsons Disease
Although no herbs or supplements have been approved by the FDA to treat Parkinsons, there are a variety of alternative therapies currently being researched.
- Calcium supplements are often prescribed because dairy makes it harder for the body to absorb levodopa.
- Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant thought to improve mitochondria health. Some researchers believe abnormal function of the mitochondria may play a role in Parkinsons.
- Creatine may help increase levels of phosphocreatine, a substance that provides energy to the brain.
- Folate, aka vitamin B9, is vital to both brain health and the nervous system.
- Ginger is often recommended to reduce nausea caused by medications.
- The Mediterranean Diet may help manage symptoms and reduce blood pressure.
- Vitamin D supplements may be needed to help your body absorb calcium, particularly if you dont get enough sunshine.
- Vitamin E may help fight damage to brain cells caused by free radicals, although studies concluded it does nothing to manage symptoms after diagnosis.
Finally, anecdotal evidence suggests that medical marijuana, now legal in 33 states plus Washington, D.C., may help patients with Parkinsons disease. The Parkinsons Foundation has a full page on the research being conducted to determine whether medical marijuana is a viable treatment option for PD patients.