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Parkinson's Disease

12 Things You Don’t Understand About Parkinson’s Unless You Have It

Sure, you can watch celebrities like Alan Alda and Michael J. Fox talk about life with Parkinson’s disease. You can read medical articles and understand the definition of Parkinson’s, which is a neurodegenerative disorder that targets the neurons in the part of the brain that produce dopamine. This results in motor symptoms like tremor, rigid limbs, balance and gait problems and slowness of movement; and non-motor symptoms like sleep disorders and depression. But there are some things a textbook or doctor can’t tell you — like what it’s really like to live day in and day out with Parkinson’s.

When it comes to those details, only someone else who has Parkinson’s can give you that insider knowledge. If you’re newly diagnosed, they can tell you what to prepare for, and if you’ve been living with Parkinson’s for a while, they can tell you that you’re actually not the only one experiencing that “weird” symptom. So we asked our Mighty Parkinson’s community to share something people don’t tend to understand about Parkinson’s unless they have it themselves. Check out the “secrets” they shared below. Did we miss anything? Be sure to leave a comment and explain what you would add to our list.

1. It can be frustrating not being able to do small things.

The tremors, bradykinesia (slowness of movement) and rigidity caused by Parkinson’s can make doing things requiring fine motor skills difficult. For example, you might have trouble buttoning a shirt or cutting a sandwich.

Ellie Finch Hulme, blogger at PD Mama, explained:

How frustrating it is not being able to do the smallest of things, despite willing your brain to send the right message and have the right limb, for example, receive that message and act upon it. Things as simple as moving fingers to type. Things that we take for granted in our everyday lives.

2. Tremors are not always visible — they can be internal, too.

“People who do not have Parkinson’s do not understand what internal tremors are,” Sharon Krischer, blogger at Twitchy Woman, said.

Most people are aware that external tremors are a hallmark sign of Parkinson’s, but what many people don’t know is that tremors can also be internal. This feels like a shaking sensation inside the body.

3. Women with Parkinson’s disease may present with different symptoms and challenges than men.

For women, hormones can impact Parkinson’s and vice versa — you might notice worsening Parkinson’s symptoms, heavier menstrual flow, more fatigue and less effectiveness of medications while you have your period. Some research has also suggested that during the “preclinical” phase of Parkinson’s, or period of time before a doctor’s diagnosis, women’s non-motor symptoms may be more prominent than their motor symptoms, meaning they may get diagnosed later than men do.

Maria De Leon, blogger at Parkinson’s Diva, shared:

Unless you are a young woman with PD, you don’t realize the impact that having hormone fluctuations play on the symptoms of the disease, while PD itself [can] worsen the menstrual cycle and other hormonal related medical problems like migraines. [Also], how young women with PD take longer to get a diagnosis because of the prevalent non-motor symptoms at presentation compared to their male counterparts.

 

4. Parkinson’s symptoms are not necessarily the same every single day.

Like most chronic illnesses, Parkinson’s disease does not look exactly the same every day. One day you might feel more fatigue; another day you might realize you’re not moving as slowly as you were the previous week. If you experience these “ups and downs,” you’re definitely not alone!

Blogger Linda Olson explained:

Parkinson’s disease is an erratic partner of mine. Some days I’m stiff and sore and anxious, on those days my mantra is, ‘I can do this.’ Then for no reason at all, it lightens up for a while. I look forward to these ‘gratitude days’ and make sure I share them with those around me.

5. Depression sometimes comes even before other symptoms.

Not everyone with depression will get Parkinson’s and vice versa, but it is common for depression to be among the very first symptoms of the disease to show up.

Sherri Woodbridge, blogger at Parkinson’s Journey, explained how this depression feels:

One of the first symptoms that is often overlooked (while Parkinson’s is frantically trying to make its mark on your life) can be depression. By the time you are actually diagnosed, you may feel like your whole world has caved in and your diagnosis adds a thousand ton weight upon you as you lay smothered in a pit of grief.

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Parkinson's Disease

10 Early Signs of Parkinson’s Disease

Because Parkinson’s disease is a progressive condition, it can be difficult to spot the early warning signs. However, we’ve put together a list of 10 of the most common early signs and symptoms of the disease, according to the National Parkinson Foundation.

1. Tremors and Shaking
This is one of the most recognized symptoms. Although there could be many other reasons for tremors, facial-twitching or limb-shaking is a common early warning sign of Parkinson’s disease.

2. Small Handwriting
Many Parkinson’s disease patients find that their handwriting suddenly becomes very small. The way you write may also have changed if you are in the early stages of the condition.

3. Loss of Smell
Many people temporarily lose their sense of smell due to colds or the flu, but if the loss is sustained over a length of time without any noticeable congestion, then it could be an early sign of Parkinson’s disease.

4. Sleeping Disorders
Trouble sleeping can be attributed to many illnesses and Parkinson’s disease is one of them. Waking due to sudden body movements, or thrashing your legs in your sleep could be a warning sign of the condition.

5. Stiffness in Walking and Moving
General stiffness that can’t be attributed to exercise aches and pains and doesn’t ease up when moving around could be an early warning sign of Parkinson’s disease. Many patients complain that it feels like their feet are literally stuck to the floor.

6. Constipation
Unable to move your bowels is also a common early sign of Parkinson’s disease. Although this is a common enough problem in healthy people, Parkinson’s patients are more susceptible to constipation. If you suddenly find you’re constipated and consider your diet normal then you should have a doctor check you out.

7. Low or Soft Voice
A sore throat or a cold can change the way you speak, but if you have been experiencing a sudden softness to the tone of your voice and are now speaking in a quieter or hoarser tone, this could be an early symptom of Parkinson’s disease.

8. Masked Face
A face set into what others may perceive as a bad mood or being angry or depressed is a common early sign of Parkinson’s disease. Also, an expressionless face with unblinking eyes could be a warning sign.

9. Dizziness or Fainting
Feeling faint or dizzy is an indication of low blood pressure, which is an early warning sign of Parkinson’s disease. If you are regularly feeling dizzy when you stand up then you should see your doctor.

10. Stooped
If you suddenly become stooped or your back hunches over then this could be an early warning sign of Parkinson’s disease. A slouch or hunch could be attributed to other conditions, such as arthritis or other bone diseases, but you would need to see your doctor to determine the cause.

vhealthpluse.com 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.

 

 

source:parkinsonsnewstoday.com/

Categories
Parkinson's Disease

6 Possible Causes of Parkinson’s Disease

Overview

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic disorder of the nervous system. It affects at least 500,000 people in the United States, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Approximately 60,000 new cases are reported in the United States each year.

This disease isn’t fatal, but it can cause debilitating symptoms that impact everyday movement and mobility. Hallmark symptoms of this disease include tremors and gait and balance problems. These symptoms develop because the brain’s ability to communicate is damaged.

Researchers aren’t yet certain what causes Parkinson’s. There are several factors that may contribute to the disease.

1. Genetics

Some studiesTrusted Source suggest that genes play a role in the development of Parkinson’s. An estimated 15 percent of people with Parkinson’s have a family history of the condition.

The Mayo Clinic reports that someone with a close relative (e.g., a parent or sibling) who has Parkinson’s is at an increased risk of developing the disease. It also reports that the risk of developing Parkinson’s is low unless you have several family members with the disease.

How does genetics factor into Parkinson’s in some families? According to Genetics Home Reference, one possible way is through the mutation of genes responsible for producing dopamine and certain proteins essential for brain function.

2. Environment

There’s also some evidence that one’s environment can play a role. Exposure to certain chemicals has been suggested as a possible link to Parkinson’s disease. These include pesticides such as insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides. It’s also possible that Agent Orange exposure may be linked to Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s has also been potentially linked to drinking well waterTrusted Source and consuming manganeseTrusted Source.

Not everyone exposed to these environmental factors develops Parkinson’s. Some researchers suspectTrusted Source that a combination of genetics and environmental factors cause Parkinson’s.

3. Lewy bodies

Lewy bodies are abnormal clumps of proteins found in the brain stem of people with Parkinson’s disease. These clumps contain a protein that cells are unable to break down. They surround cells in the brain. In the process they interrupt the way the brain functions.

Clusters of Lewy bodies cause the brain to degenerate over time. This causes problems with motor coordination in people with Parkinson’s disease.

4. Loss of dopamine

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter chemical that aids in passing messages between different sections of the brain. The cells that produce dopamine are damaged in people with Parkinson’s disease.

Without an adequate supply of dopamine the brain is unable to properly send and receive messages. This disruption affects the body’s ability to coordinate movement. It can cause problems with walking and balance.

5. Age and gender

Aging also plays a role in Parkinson’s disease. Advanced age is the most significant risk factor for developing Parkinson’s disease.

Scientists believe that brain and dopamine function begin to declineTrusted Source as the body ages. This makes a person more susceptible to Parkinson’s.

Gender also plays a role in Parkinson’s. Men are more susceptible to developing Parkinson’s than women.

6. Occupations

Some research suggests that certain occupations may put a person at greater risk for developing Parkinson’s. In particular, Parkinson’s disease may be more likely for people who have jobs in welding, agriculture, and industrial work. This may be because individuals in these occupations are exposed to toxic chemicals. However, study results have been inconsistentTrusted Source and more research needs to be done.

Future research

We have some clues as to why Parkinson’s disease develops, but there’s still a lot that we don’t know. Early detection and treatment are key in minimizing symptoms of Parkinson’s.

There are treatments that help with Parkinson’s symptoms, but currently there is no cure. More research is needed to identify the exact role that genetics and environment play in causing this disease.

 

source:healthline.com/