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.
The Early Signs Of Parkinsons Disease
Health Check Certified By: Dr. Gerald Morris
Parkinsons diseasea chronic and progressive brain disorder that causes loss of muscle controlaffects nearly one million people in the U.S. This disease results in the death and malfunction of nerve cells in the brain, many of which produce dopamine, a chemical responsible for controlling movement and coordination.
While symptoms such as tremors, slowed movement and speech problems are among the most common symptoms of Parkinsons, they tend to present themselves only once the disease has progressed. To detect Parkinsons disease in the early stages of development, the following are 12 signs to keep an eye out for.
Tests Reveal Incredible Accuracy In Detecting Parkinsons
Researchers conducted a blind study of 50 skin samples, including 25 Parkinsons patients and 25 people without neurological disorders. Using a protein chemical assay, the skin test correctly diagnosed 24 out of 25 Parkinsons patients. Only one of the 25 control samples tested positive for protein clumping.
These results indicate tremendously high sensitivity and specificity which is critical for a diagnostic test, Dr. Charles Adler, a professor of neurology at Mayo Clinic Arizona says.
The clinical diagnostic accuracy for early-stage PD has been quite poor, only around 50-70%. And since clinical trials really need to be done at an early stage to avoid further brain damage, they have been critically hampered because they have been including large percentages of people who may not actually have the disease, study co-investigator Dr. Thomas Beach explains. Improving clinical diagnostic accuracy is, in my view, the very first thing we need to do in order to find new useful treatments for PD.
Kanthasamy says the results show great promise which could lead to a reliable way to detect Parkinsons. Early detection can also help other researchers get their therapeutic treatments to patients faster potentially stopping the disease before it advances.
The study appears in the journal Movement Disorders.
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How Will Parkinson’s Disease Affect Your Life
Finding out that you have a long-term, progressive disease can lead to a wide range of feelings. You may feel angry, afraid, sad, or worried about what lies ahead. It may help to keep a few things in mind:
- Usually this disease progresses slowly. Some people live for many years with only minor symptoms.
- Many people are able to keep working for years. As the disease gets worse, you may need to change how you work.
- It is important to take an active role in your health care. Find a doctor you trust and can work with.
- Depression is common in people who have Parkinson’s. If you feel very sad or hopeless, talk to your doctor or see a counselor.
- It can make a big difference to know that you’re not alone. Ask your doctor about Parkinson’s support groups, or look for online groups or message boards.
- Parkinson’s affects more than just the person who has it. It also affects your loved ones. Be sure to include them in your decisions.
Tremor In Other Conditions
While tremor is a common symptom of Parkinsons, it can also be a symptom of other conditions, most notably essential tremor. The main difference between Parkinsons tremor and most other types of tremor is that in Parkinsons resting tremor is most common. Other conditions are usually characterized by action tremor, which tends to lessen at rest and increase when youre doing something, like trying to make a phone call or take a drink.
Tremors of the head and voice are also common in essential tremor but rare in Parkinsons.
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After Struggling For Four Years I Was Finally Given A Diagnosis At The Age Of 44
In July 2017, I found myself in yet another doctors office to see a third neurologist, this time for migraines. But the doctor didnt ask me about my headaches. Instead, he asked me to stand up and do a few exercises. Then, he sat down across from me, took a deep breath, and told me he suspected I had young onset Parkinsons disease .
I had been fighting for so long to figure out what was wrong with me that I had a small sense of satisfaction in receiving a diagnosis. But that satisfaction was fleeting and overwhelmed by an impending sense of fear. I knew there was no cure and I knew first-hand what the disease could look likemy father-in-law had Parkinsons disease. While I explained to my children that the disease affected everyone differently, they were worried I would end up like their Poppy, and I was too. I feared that this disease would take away my two greatest passions: my ability to take care of my kids and make art.
Most people with Parkinsons develop symptoms when theyre 50 or older, but 2 to 10 percent of uslike mebegin to experience signs of the disease earlier. Because young onset Parkinsons disease is so rare, its much harder to diagnose and many of us go untreated or misdiagnosed with something else.
Causes Of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain called the substantia nigra. This leads to a reduction in a chemical called dopamine in the brain.
Dopamine plays a vital role in regulating the movement of the body. A reduction in dopamine is responsible for many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Exactly what causes the loss of nerve cells is unclear. Most experts think that a combination of genetic and environmental factors is responsible.
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What Is Rem Behavior Disorder And How Is It Connected To Parkinson’s
A: REM behavior disorder is different than other sleep problems, like insomnia. People who have it may jerk or kick it’s as though they are acting out their dreams. In a similar pattern to anosmia, people with idiopathic REM sleep behavior disorder have at least a 50 percent chance of eventually developing Parkinson’s disease.
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.
Can Parkinsons Disease Be Prevented
Unfortunately, no. Parkinsons disease is long-term disease that worsens over time. Although there is no way to prevent or cure the disease , medications may significantly relieve your symptoms. In some patients especially those with later-stage disease, surgery to improve symptoms may be an option.
How Is Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosed
A person doesn’t need to have all the signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease to be diagnosed with it.
“In general, people have a combination of the motor symptoms and the non-motor symptoms,” says Dr. Nwabuobi. “Some people have more non-motor symptoms than motor and vice versa, but in order to have a diagnosis of Parkinson’s, you definitely need the motor symptoms. We’re looking for specific things , including a rest tremor, bradykinesia, rigidity, and poor balance.”
According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, a person needs to have two of the four main motor symptoms of Parkinson’s over a period of time to be diagnosed with the disease.
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What Is Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and the most common movement disorder. Characteristics of Parkinsons disease are progressive loss of muscle control, which leads to trembling of the limbs and head while at rest, stiffness, slowness, and impaired balance. As symptoms worsen, it may become difficult to walk, talk, and complete simple tasks.
The progression of Parkinson’s disease and the degree of impairment vary from person to person. Many people with Parkinson’s disease live long productive lives, whereas others become disabled much more quickly. Complications of Parkinsons such as falling-related injuries or pneumonia. However, studies of patent populations with and without Parkinsons Disease suggest the life expectancy for people with the disease is about the same as the general population.
Most people who develop Parkinson’s disease are 60 years of age or older. Since overall life expectancy is rising, the number of individuals with Parkinson’s disease will increase in the future. Adult-onset Parkinson’s disease is most common, but early-onset Parkinson’s disease , and juvenile-onset Parkinson’s disease can occur.
Sleeping Issues Plague Many With Parkinsons Disease
Trouble getting to sleep or remaining asleep can also be early signs of Parkinsons. Often patients report waking because their limbs are twitching, thrashing, or sharking.
Additionally, there may be an increase in nightmares. This can cause insomnia at night. And may lead to extreme tiredness during the day and even narcolepsy and sleep apnea.
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Stiffness In Walking Or Movements
People often experience stiffness that is not due to exercise or lack of exercise. Some people have mentioned that they feel like their feet are stuck to the floor.
The person may start taking smaller steps or dragging or shuffling their feet. They also may have difficulty gauging the size of steps to take. And things like the length of their stride can cause people to trip and fall.
How Is It Treated
At this time, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. But there are several types of medicines that can control the symptoms and make the disease easier to live with.
You may not even need treatment if your symptoms are mild. Your doctor may wait to prescribe medicines until your symptoms start to get in the way of your daily life. Your doctor will adjust your medicines as your symptoms get worse. You may need to take several medicines to get the best results.
Levodopa is the best drug for controlling symptoms of Parkinson’s. But it can cause problems if you use it for a long time or at a high dose. So doctors sometimes use other medicines to treat people in the early stages of the disease.
The decision to start taking medicine, and which medicine to take, will be different for each person. Your doctor will be able to help you make these choices.
In some cases, a treatment called deep brain stimulation may also be used. For this treatment, a surgeon places wires in your brain. The wires carry tiny electrical signals to the parts of the brain that control movement. These little signals can help those parts of the brain work better.
There are many things you can do at home that can help you stay as independent and healthy as possible. Eat healthy foods. Get the rest you need. Make wise use of your energy. Get some exercise every day. Physical therapy and occupational therapy can also help.
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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.
Early Warning Signs Of Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease is one of the most common neurological conditions in the world. In the US alone, it affects more than 500,000 people. This is according to the National Institute of Health, also known as the NIH.
While there are treatment options designed to ease the challenges that come along with Parkinsons disease, early detection plays a key role. It is also worth noting that learning a thing or two about how the disease comes about is just as critical as learning its early signs.
How It Starts
Parkinsons disease starts at the brain cells known as neurons. These cells are responsible for controlling movement and they also produce a special substance referred to as dopamine. Parkinsons disease steps into full swing when neurons die.
You can easily spot the early signs of Parkinsons disease especially if they manifest sporadically. That is why you need to be extremely attentive. You also need to consult with a doctor as soon as you notice any of the following Parkinsons disease symptoms:
A sudden change in the size of a patients handwriting is one of the least known yet one of the most indicative early signs of Parkinsons disease. It happens because people who suffer from Parkinsons disease usually have a hard time controlling movement. This makes fine motor skills like writing and drawing difficult.
Slow Movement and Stiffness
We can help you to deal with Parkinsons disease
Surgery For People With Parkinsons Disease
Deep brain stimulation surgery is an option to treat Parkinsons disease symptoms, but it is not suitable for everyone. There are strict criteria and guidelines on who can be a candidate for surgery, and this is something that only your doctor and you can decide. Surgery may be considered early or late in the progression of Parkinsons. When performing deep-brain stimulation surgery, the surgeon places an electrode in the part of the brain most effected by Parkinsons disease. Electrical impulses are introduced to the brain, which has the effect of normalising the brains electrical activity reducing the symptoms of Parkinsons disease. The electrical impulse is introduced using a pacemaker-like device called a stimulator. Thalamotomy and pallidotomy are operations where the surgeon makes an incision on part of the brain. These surgeries aim to alleviate some forms of tremor or unusual movement, but they are rarely performed now.
Mood And Mental Problems
- Deal with depression. If you are feeling sad or depressed, ask a friend or family member for help. If these feelings don’t go away, or if they get worse, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to suggest someone for you to talk to. Or your doctor may give you medicine that will help.
- Deal with dementia. Dementia is common late in Parkinson’s disease. Symptoms may include confusion and memory loss. If you notice that you are confused a lot or have trouble thinking clearly, talk to your doctor. There are medicines that can help dementia in people with Parkinson’s disease.
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Cognitive And Psychiatric Symptoms
- depression and anxiety
- mild cognitive impairment slight memory problems and problems with activities that require planning and organisation
- dementia a group of symptoms, including more severe memory problems, personality changes, seeing things that are not there and believing things that are not true
What Are The Early Warning Signs Of Parkinson’s Disease
The early warning signs of Parkinson’s disease include tremors in one or both hands, as mentioned before. Apart from that, patients may see that their face shows little or no expression. Arms may not swing when they walk, and speech may also become soft or slurred. However, these are just signs of the disease at an early stage. As the disease progresses, the symptoms may worsen over time.
Other signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include –
- Changed handwriting
- Slow movement
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What Is The Treatment For Parkinson’s Disease
There is currently no treatment to cure Parkinson’s disease. Several therapies are available to delay the onset of motor symptoms and to ameliorate motor symptoms. All of these therapies are designed to increase the amount of dopamine in the brain either by replacing dopamine, mimicking dopamine, or prolonging the effect of dopamine by inhibiting its breakdown. Studies have shown that early therapy in the non-motor stage can delay the onset of motor symptoms, thereby extending quality of life.
The most effective therapy for Parkinson’s disease is levodopa , which is converted to dopamine in the brain. However, because long-term treatment with levodopa can lead to unpleasant side effects , its use is often delayed until motor impairment is more severe. Levodopa is frequently prescribed together with carbidopa , which prevents levodopa from being broken down before it reaches the brain. Co-treatment with carbidopa allows for a lower levodopa dose, thereby reducing side effects.
In earlier stages of Parkinson’s disease, substances that mimic the action of dopamine , and substances that reduce the breakdown of dopamine inhibitors) can be very efficacious in relieving motor symptoms. Unpleasant side effects of these preparations are quite common, including swelling caused by fluid accumulation in body tissues, drowsiness, constipation, dizziness, hallucinations, and nausea.