How To Cope With The Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
The only predictable thing about this disease is that it is unpredictable. Richard, diagnosed at 36
Tremors are the first sign noted in about half of all people with Parkinsons disease. But maybe, like 15 percent of people with the illness, you have never experienced this symptom. That is because Parkinsons disease affects everyone somewhat differently.
As you will discover, your symptoms will continue to change, often from day to day, and throughout the course of your life. But even though there is no cure for Parkinsons, the sooner you can take steps to manage symptoms when they arise, the better chance you will have at maintaining a good quality of life.That is why the first step in coping with the changes that accompany a Parkinsons diagnosis is to simply increase awareness, to notice new symptoms as well as how your body responds to certain activities, stresses and therapies. A helpful way to do this is by logging your symptom patterns in a daily journal. It is just a matter of jotting down small changes you notice in your physical and emotional health each day. That way you can discuss these issues promptly with your doctor and receive treatment.
Is There A Cure For Parkinson’s Disease
Although research is ongoing, to date there is no known cure or way to prevent Parkinson’s disease. But, research has made remarkable progress. There is very real hope that the causes, whether genetic or environmental, will be identified and the precise effects of these causes on brain function will be understood. These remarkable achievements give real hope for the future.
Still, even though there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, by identifying individual symptoms and determining a proper course of treatment, most people with the disease can live enjoyable, fulfilling lives.
Diagnosis In Young Onset Parkinsons
Many young onset patients experience delay in diagnosis given the uncommon age and often different symptoms as outlined below. Similar to late onset patients, the diagnosis is made based on history and clinical examination. There are still no proven diagnostic tests that can definitively diagnose PD. In some cases, other mimics of Parkinsons need to be evaluated for given their increased likelihood in younger patients. Given the complexities, it is important to seek evaluation by a neurologist and in many cases a movement disorder specialist.
In addition, young onset patients are more likely to have a genetic risk factor or cause to their symptoms, especially if there is a family history. Genetic testing can be considered, but should always be done after consulting a physician and in many cases a genetic counselor.
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What Lifestyle Changes Can I Make To Ease Parkinsons Symptoms
Exercise: Exercise helps improve muscle strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, and tremor. It is also strongly believed to improve memory, thinking and reduce the risk of falls and decrease anxiety and depression. One study in persons with Parkinsons disease showed that 2.5 hours of exercise per week resulted in improved ability to move and a slower decline in quality of life compared to those who didnt exercise or didnt start until later in the course of their disease. Some exercises to consider include strengthening or resistance training, stretching exercises or aerobics . All types of exercise are helpful.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet: This is not only good for your general health but can ease some of the non-movement related symptoms of Parkinsons, such as constipation. Eating foods high in fiber in particular can relieve constipation. The Mediterranean diet is one example of a healthy diet.
Preventing falls and maintaining balance: Falls are a frequent complication of Parkinson’s. While you can do many things to reduce your risk of falling, the two most important are: 1) to work with your doctor to ensure that your treatments whether medicines or deep brain stimulation are optimal and 2) to consult with a physical therapist who can assess your walking and balance. The physical therapist is the expert when it comes to recommending assistive devices or exercise to improve safety and preventing falls.
Parkinson’s Disease Clinical Characteristics
Among the causes of parkinsonism, PD is distinguished clinically by highly asymmetric onset of motor features, a resting tremor , postural instability developing late or not at all, levodopa responsiveness, and lack of atypical features that would be a sign of an alternative diagnosis. The predominant age of onset is approximately the late 50s or early 60s, but there is a large range . Typically, PD first affects one body segment. The most frequent presentations are tremor of a limb, slowness and clumsiness of one hand, and leg dragging or shuffling on walking. The classic triad may not be present at onset. In young-onset PD , foot or hand dystonia may be an early manifestation. The initial motor features of PD are sometimes preceded by nonmotor symptoms such as depression, anosmia , constipation, rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, or shoulder pain.
Michele Matarazzo, … A. Jon Stoessl, in, 2018
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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.
What Is The Outlook For Persons With Parkinsons Disease
Although there is no cure or absolute evidence of ways to prevent Parkinsons disease, scientists are working hard to learn more about the disease and find innovative ways to better manage it, prevent it from progressing and ultimately curing it.
Currently, you and your healthcare teams efforts are focused on medical management of your symptoms along with general health and lifestyle improvement recommendations . By identifying individual symptoms and adjusting the course of action based on changes in symptoms, most people with Parkinsons disease can live fulfilling lives.
The future is hopeful. Some of the research underway includes:
- Using stem cells to produce new neurons, which would produce dopamine.
- Producing a dopamine-producing enzyme that is delivered to a gene in the brain that controls movement.
- Using a naturally occurring human protein glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor, GDNF to protect dopamine-releasing nerve cells.
Many other investigations are underway too. Much has been learned, much progress has been made and additional discoveries are likely to come.
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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.
Phosphatase And Tensin Homolog
Homozygous mutations in PINK1 were identified as the cause of early-onset parkinsonism in families from Italy and Spain . The clinical phenotype is generally similar to that of PARK2 mutations, with early- to very early-onset PD, very good levodopa response, and few or no nonmotor symptoms.
J.A. Obeso, … M. Rodríguez, in, 2003
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Other Typical Symptoms Of Parkinson’s
Tremor is an uncontrollable movement that affects a part of the body. A Parkinsons tremor typically starts in the hand before spreading to affect the rest of the arm, or down to the foot on the same side of the body.
There is no cure for a tremor, but there are ways to manage the symptom with support from a specialist or Parkinsons nurse.
Slowness of movement also known as bradykinesia may mean that it takes someone with Parkinson’s longer to do things. For example, they might struggle with coordination, walking may become more like a shuffle or walking speed may slow down.
Everyday tasks, such as paying for items at a check-out or walking to a bus stop, might take longer to do.
Parkinsons causes stiff muscles, inflexibility and cramps. This can make certain tasks such as writing, doing up buttons or tying shoe laces, hard to do. Rigidity can stop muscles from stretching and relaxing. It can be particularly noticeable, for example, if you struggle to turn over or get in and out of bed.
Symptoms and the rate at which they develop will vary from person to person. The most important thing to do if youre worried you have Parkinsons is to speak to your GP.
Improving Your Motor Skills
- Work on your tremor. This may include things like putting a little weight on your hand to help reduce tremor and restore control.
- Improve speech quality by working with a speech therapist .
- Reduce problems with eating and drooling by changing how and what you eat.
- Practice overcoming “freezing” with various techniques, such as stepping toward a specific target on the ground.
- Be open about sexual function problems. Talk to your doctor about your specific issues. He or she may be able to suggest a change in your treatment, such as a change in your medicine or exercise.
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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 .
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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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.
How Can Someone With Parkinsons Benefit From Exercise
The number one benefit of exercise for someone with a Parkinsons diagnosis is symptom management. Studies have shown that rather than being sedentary, engaging in any level of physical activity can be beneficial. Certain activities can address specific Parkinsons disease symptoms, like performing walking exercises to help with gait. It has also been shown that increased mobility can lead to improvements in cognition and memory and reduce the risk of falls. Symptoms that lead to a Parkinsons diagnosis typically appear when the dopamine-producing neurons in the brain begin to deteriorate.
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What Is Early Onset Parkinson How Common What Are Symptoms
Parkinsons is a progressive illness that affects the central nervous system. The disease is not easily detected at its early stages. Still, some of the symptoms include impaired balance, lack of limb coordination, and limps and trunk being rigid. Other common signs to look for are depression, sleep disturbance, and loss of smell.
When we feel a little under the weather, we get checked to ascertain what is wrong. A medical check-up first is done to rule out a few things however, young-onset Parkinson can go undiagnosed for a long time unless you have recurring symptoms. It usually occurs to people under the age of 40.
Treating Early Onset Parkinsons Disease
Although no cure exists, identifying symptoms and determining a proper course of treatment helps many Parkinsons patients to remain active and lead fulfilling lives. Carbidopa/levodopa is usually prescribed for Parkinsons disease. However, early onset Parkinsons patients are more likely to develop side effects from this treatment, such as or involuntary movements at the medicines peak effect, and cramping as the effect wears off.
For this reason, physicians often treat movement symptoms in people newly diagnosed with early onset Parkinsons disease with other types of drugs, such as anticholinergics, monoamine oxidase B inhibitors, and dopamine agonists.
Parkinsons News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
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How Does Exercise Change The Brain
Exercise affects how efficiently dopamine is used in the brain it does not produce more of the hormone dopamine. According to the Parkinsons Foundation, exercise improves this efficiency by modifying the areas of the brain where dopamine signals are received.
When dopamine travels through the brain, it connects to two brain cells through a space called the synapse. For one cell to close off the signal of dopamine to send it to the next cell, a protein complex known as the dopamine transporter has to pick it up. Studies have shown that people who exercise more have less of the dopamine transporter, allowing the dopamine to stay in the synapse longer and send a longer signal.
Dr. Joseph Jankovic, neurologist at Baylor St. Lukes Medical Center, has been a principal investigator in over 100 clinical trials for treatments of Parkinsons disease. He is also the founder and director of the Parkinson’s Disease Center and Movement Disorders Clinic, which has been recognized as a Center of Excellence by the National Parkinsons Foundation.
People who exercise also have increased connectivity within the brain, and they have less age-related degeneration of the brain. All of these factors support a notion that the brain benefits from long-term exercise, and this has been specifically shown in patients with Parkinsons disease.
Young Onset Vs Late Onset Parkinson’s Disease
Claudia Chaves, MD, is board-certified in cerebrovascular disease and neurology with a subspecialty certification in vascular neurology.
Parkinson’s disease is a common neurodegenerative disorder that features a progressive deterioration of motor function due to a loss of dopamine-producing brain cells.
The symptoms of Parkinsons diseasetremors, stiffness, slowness, impaired balance, and a shuffling gate in later stages of the illnessstart gradually and typically begin after age 60.
While the average age of diagnosis is 62, roughly 10% of people with the condition start to experience symptoms under the age of 50, known as young-onset Parkinsons disease.
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