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Parkinson's Disease

World Brain Day 2020 Dedicated to Parkinson’s Disease

The 6th annual World Brain Day, celebrated Wednesday (July 22), will be dedicated to raising awareness for Parkinson’s disease and promoting patient advocacy.

The World Federation of Neurology (WFN) founded and coordinates the event to raise public awareness and promote advocacy related to brain health. This year, the WFN has partnered with the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS) to focus on the impact that Parkinson’s has on individuals and society.

The two organizing groups will work alongside 122 global organizations to advocate for better patient care and education, as well as additional research to support those living with Parkinson’s and their caregivers.

“Parkinson’s Disease affects people of all ages, including one in 100 people over the age of 60,” said Tissa Wijeratne, World Brain Day chair, in a press release. “The prevalence of this disease is on the rise, making our actions today vital to improving the lives of those who have been and will be diagnosed, particularly during this global health crisis.”

The WFN hosted a free webinar at 12:30 p.m. GMT on Wednesday to discuss the current state of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Some of the world’s leading neurologists, patient advocates, and Parkinson’s disease experts will attend and offer their vital insights into the condition.

The MDS has made available several educational resources for Parkinson’s. These include video presentations from top movement disorder experts and free courses on clinical approaches, evaluation, and management of movement disorders.

The WFN expects member organizations to participate in public awareness programs, virtual symposia, webinars, and other educational and advocacy activities. They also will engage on social media via Facebook Live and Twitter chats in their own countries and regions to highlight the key issues related to Parkinson’s disease.

The MDS and the WFN have collaborated to develop a toolkit for those wishing to make presentations related to Parkinson’s, or to include World Brain Day and Parkinson’s-related banners to their websites.

“Parkinson’s Disease affects more than seven million people around the globe— that’s nearly equivalent to the entire population of New York City,” said Wijerante. “Our goal is to raise awareness for Parkinson’s Disease and its impact on society in an effort to improve access to quality neurological care and life-changing treatments.”

Individuals are encouraged to promote public awareness on social media through the use of the hashtags #WorldBrainDay and #WBD2020.

“Brain health has never been more vital or relevant,” said WFN President William Carroll. “When the world unites against this crippling movement disorder on World Brain Day, we will demonstrate the power of advocacy and awareness.”

Beyond just World Brain Day, the WFN will ask patients, caregivers, and loved ones around the globe to share their stories about Parkinson’s on social media over the coming months.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to demonstrate the global nature of healthcare. To support people throughout this period, the WFN will provide information regarding how to navigate COVID-19 while living with Parkinson’s.

“When we all move together, we raise the voices of those impacted while uniting the world in a mission to end Parkinson’s Disease,” said Carroll. “The World Federation of Neurology’s World Brain Day aims to energize those with Parkinson’s Disease to drive research, improve standards of care and advocacy for the seven million people living with this disease today, and those who will one day be diagnosed.”

Each year, the WFN selects a different topic as its focus for World Brain Day. Past topics include epilepsy, aging, clean air, and migraines.

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Parkinson's Disease

11 complications of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition that affects a wide range of functions. The changes that occur can have a significant impact on the physical and mental aspects of a person’s life.

The hallmark signs of Parkinson’s disease (PD) are a tremor, slow movement, and rigidity. In addition, difficulty with coordination, a number of non-motor symptoms, and other complications are common.

However, there are ways to manage many of these complications. Doing so can ensure a better quality of life for a person with PD.

Find out more about the complications of Parkinson’s disease and what you can do about them.

1. Speaking

Lady with Parkinson's
A number of complications can occur with Parkinson’s disease, including depression, faintness, and the loss of a sense of smell.

Speaking can become difficult over time.

As PD affects the muscles, a person’s speech can become softer and harder to understand. Over time, changes in thinking ability can make it harder to communicate. This can make it hard to join in social activities.

study published in the BMJ Open in 2017 notes that speech therapy is important for keeping people communicating effectively. It can help to improve or maintain a person’s quality of life.

2. Chewing and swallowing

Chewing and swallowing difficulties can occur, especially during the later stages of the disease. These can be due to changes in function either in the autonomic nervous system or the muscles in the throat, known as the pharyngeal muscles.

These changes increase the risk of getting food stuck in the throat and choking, which can be life-threatening. If the person accidentally breathes food particles into the lungs, pneumonia can result.

The person may also produce too much saliva or they may not be able to swallow the saliva easily. This can lead to drooling, which can be embarrassing for the individual.

Some medications may improve symptoms. A speech-language therapist can sometimes help a person to retrain their throat muscles so that they can swallow more effectively.

3. Depression and anxiety

Depression can occur with PD, and it can make symptoms worse.

Researchers suggest that around 40 to 50 percent of people with PD also experience depression. They add that this aspect of the condition can be harder for the individual and their loved ones to cope with than the physical symptoms.

Other neuropsychiatric symptoms include:

  • mood disturbance
  • anxiety
  • sleep problems
  • psychosis
  • changes in behavior and the way the person thinks

However, the symptoms of depression are treatable, and recovery is possible.

Seeking medical help when symptoms of depression start to appear can give the person a better quality of life, improved functionality, and a chance of slowing the symptoms.

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Parkinson's Disease

Drinking Beer Slows Down Alzheimer’s And Parkinson’s Disease

Drinking beer could prevent the damage of the brain cells, says a research carried out by Jianguo Fang and his colleagues of Lanzhou University’s school of chemistry. Drinking liquor is not a much appreciated practice in the past but partying has become a part of life these days. While the goodness of the wine is well known, it’s time to know something more about beer.

Beer is not usually considered an evil for health when taken in reasonable quantity, but the goodness of beer is sure to amaze the beer lovers. A compound called xanthohumol present in the beer is observed to have anti-carcinogenic, anti-oxidation and cardiovascular-protection properties.

During brewing, an ingredient called hops is added to the beer that gives a bitter and tangy taste to it. Hops are the female flower of the hops plant known to have quite some medicinal values. Hops are the source of the compound xanthohumol present in the beer that renders goodness to the beer. These xanthohumol are observed to protect neuronal cells present in the brain and thereby slows down the development of brain disorders, reports Fangs and his team.

The oxidative damage to the neuronal cells is responsible for the development of brain diseases, according to the research, said Fang. Brain defects like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions could be prevented or slowed down by the preventing the oxidative damage to these neuronal cells.

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes interruption in memory, thinking and behaviour in a person’s regular life, whereas Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder due to the death of vital nerve cells or neurons. No cure has been found for these neurodegenerative diseases so far, and if this research is to be believed, then it is no wonder a joy to the beer brewers and beer lovers.

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Parkinson's Disease

What I Wish Everyone Knew About Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease, which now afflicts close to one million Americans, and gained center stage attention this week when yet another celebrity revealed that her professional career had been brought to an end as a consequence of this condition. Singer Linda Ronstadt has released a new book of memoirs and in it she reveals that she, like 60,000 Americans each year, was given a diagnosis of Parkinson’s, a disease characterized by progressive degeneration of the brain.

There are a variety of pharmaceutical interventions offered up for Parkinson’s patients. And each day when I’m seeing a new patient with this disease one of the first questions I ask is, “What are you doing to treat this disorder?”

I typically get a list of drugs, dosages and how often the pills are taken.

It’s then that I feel compelled to explain that the potpourri of pills that they’ve been given actually do not treat the disease at all. They simply manage the symptoms. And this distinction is fundamentally important. By and large, giving symptom-managing medications to Parkinson’s patients is about as far as the standard doctor-patient interaction goes. And that’s like treating the smoke and ignoring the fire.

It turns out that lifestyle choices are critically influential in determining how rapidly a patient’s functionality will decline over the longer term. So while medications that can help with the Parkinsonian tremor and rigidity clearly have their place, physicians need to look at the broader picture and ask themselves what information they can provide to patients that can help preserve their ability to participate in life’s activities in the longer term.

Recently, an important brain protective chemical was identified that is associated with a dramatic slowing of decline in Parkinson’s patients. This novel chemical has been shown to provide aggressive brain antioxidant protection, helping to reduce the damaging effects of villainous toxins called free radicals.

What’s more, it has been discovered that this brain protective substance actually serves as the precursor for such brain supportive chemicals as vitamin D, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

It is called cholesterol.

Yes, the very same cholesterol that has been demonized for decades as the cause of everything from heart attacks to who-knows-what is actually one of the most important players in brain health.

Specifically in relation to Parkinson’s disease, a recent study published by researchers from Pennsylvania State University and Harvard revealed a direct relationship between higher cholesterol levels and slowing in the rate of decline in the 744 Parkinson’s patients they followed. Those whose cholesterol levels were the highest faired significantly better and maintained higher levels of functionality in the long run.

We need to take notice of reports like this, as this kind of information will no doubt lead to changes in how we respond to advertisements in medical journals calling for us do everything we can to “aggressively lower cholesterol.”

We’ve got to pay attention when the FDA mandates warnings on cholesterol-lowering statin drugs indicating they can affect brain function (as they rightly did in 2012).

As a practicing neurologist, I’m grateful to have medicines that can help control symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. But more needs to be done to gain a fuller understanding of the processes that underlie the actual brain degeneration. And now that this information is coming to light, patients deserve to know the full story.

Knowledge is empowering, especially as it relates to putting out the fire.

So here are some ideas for Parkinson’s patients to discuss with their treating physicians:

1. Ask one simple question: “Do I really need to lower my cholesterol?”

2. Don’t refrain from foods that contain cholesterol like grass-fed beef, free range chicken, and even free-range eggs.

3. Add supplemental fats to your diet like extra virgin organic olive oil, nuts, seeds, and coconut oil.

Add Coenzyme Q10, a nutritional supplement, to your program. We generally recommend at least 400mg daily. Research confirms that this supplement slows the decline in Parkinson’s patients.

4. Reduce carbohydrates in your diet.

5. Get regular aerobic exercise, and concentrate on exercises that move opposite sides of your body in rapid succession like using an elliptical machine.

6. Make sure you take enough vitamin D to get your blood level up to around 70-80ng/ml. This may require up to 5,000 or even 10,000 units of vitamin D3 daily.

RELATED: Drinking Beer Slows Down Alzheimer’s And Parkinson’s Disease

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Parkinson's Disease

8 Common Treatments for Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a long-term degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system. To date, there is no cure for the condition, but there are medications and therapies available to address some of the symptoms and improve quality of life for patients.

Here are eight of the main drugs and therapies used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, according to the Mayo Clinic:

1. Carbidopa-levodopa: Levodopa is a naturally occurring chemical which can enter the brain and be converted to dopamine when combined with carbidopa. The carbidopa also prevents the levodopa from converting into dopamine before it enters the brain.

The is one of the most effective treatments for Parkinson’s although after long-term use, the effects start to fluctuate.

Some people may experience side effects such as nausea, feeling lightheaded, and making sudden involuntary movements.

2. Carbidopa-levodopa infusion: In 2015, the FDA approved Duopa, which is a combination of carbidopa and levodopa in a gel form which is administered via a feeding tube into the small intestine.

MORE: Parkinson’s Disease and Neuroplasticity

Duopa is generally given to patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease whose response to carbidopa-levodopa is varied. The drug is infused continuously so the level of the drugs remains constant.

The risks associated with Duopa are infections at the site of the feeding tube and the tube falling out.

3. Dopamine agonists: Dopamine agonist mimic the effects of dopamine in the brain. They are generally not as effective as levodopa but the effects last longer and they can be used in conjunction with levodopa to counter any fluctuation in efficiency.

These medications can be administered through a patch, oral medications or as an injection. The side effects are also nausea and lightheadedness, but may also cause drowsiness, hallucinations and compulsive behaviors such as gambling, overeating, and hypersexuality — which will need to be addressed by a doctor.

4. MAO-B inhinitors: Medications such as selegiline and rasagiline help to prevent dopamine breaking down in the brain by releasing monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) enzymes.

Generally, these types of medications should not be taken in conjunction with certain narcotics or antidepressants as occasionally patients will suffer from severe reactions. Side effects of MAO-B inhibitors include insomnia and nausea and if taken with carbidopa-levodopa they can also cause hallucinations.

 

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Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson’s: How stem cells can help repair the brain

New research examines the potential of stem cell therapy in the replacement of damaged neurons in Parkinson’s disease. The authors say that stem cells could “provide superior treatment, possibly using different types of cells to treat different symptoms” of Parkinson’s.

scientist working in lab
Could stem cell therapy one day help treat Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease affects around half a million people in the United States, and the number is only expected to rise given the progressive aging of the population.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimate that doctors diagnose the condition in around 50,000 people each year.

The NIH warn that the prevalence of this neurodegenerative condition is only going to increase unless researchers come up with new and better treatments.

Currently, the most common therapy uses the drug levodopa to stimulate dopamine production in certain neurons associated with motor skills.

These dopaminergic neurons are situated in the nigrostriatal pathway, which is a brain circuit that connects neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta with the dorsal striatum.

However, levodopa has a wide array of side effects, from physiological to psychological ones. Also, in the long-term, the benefits of such dopamine-regulating drugs are limited.

So, it is crucial that scientists come up with more effective strategies for repairing the brain damage that Parkinson’s disease causes.

New research, which now appears in a special supplement to the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, evaluates the potential of stem cell therapy for treating this neurodegenerative condition.

Dr. Claire Henchcliffe, of the Department of Neurology at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, NY, co-authored the study with Malin Parmar, Ph.D., a professor in a research group called “Multidisciplinary research focused on Parkinson’s disease at Lund University.”

“We are in desperate need of a better way of helping people with [Parkinson’s],” say the scientists. “It is on the increase worldwide. There is still no cure, and medications only go part way to fully treat[ing] incoordination and movement problems.”

Stem cell therapy: Challenges and promises

In their review, Dr. Henchcliffe and Prof. Parmar examined the evolution of stem cell therapy and its uses for replacing damaged neurons in Parkinson’s.

“If successful, using stem cells as a source of transplantable dopamine-producing nerve cells could revolutionize care of the [Parkinson’s] patient in the future,” they say.

“A single surgery,” the authors go on to state, “could potentially provide a transplant that would last throughout a patient’s lifespan, reducing or altogether avoiding the need for dopamine-based medications.”

More than 3 decades ago, pioneering studies that transplanted stem cells to treat Parkinson’s used “fetal cells obtained from the midbrain of aborted embryos.”

However, there were numerous ethical issues with the procedure, as well as a host of side effects. These included transplant rejection and involuntary movements called dyskinesias.

Recent advances in stem cell technology mean that the materials from which stem cells are derived are different and varied. For instance, researchers can use a person’s own skin to collect pluripotent cells and reprogram them directly into neuronal cells.

Cells can also be reprogrammed directly in the brain by injecting the conversion genes instead of the human skin cells. Researchers can also derive stem cells from the person’s own blood.

“We are moving into a very exciting era for stem cell therapy,” Prof. Parmar points out. “The first-generation cells are now being trialed and new advances in stem cell biology and genetic engineering promise even better cells and therapies in the future.”

As Dr. Henchcliffe says, “Right now, we are just talking about the first logical step in using cell therapies in [Parkinson’s].

Importantly, it could open the way to being able to engineer the cells to provide superior treatment, possibly using different types of cells to treat different symptoms of [Parkinson’s] like movement problems and memory loss.”

Dr. Claire Henchcliffe

Prof. Parmar goes on to point out that “[t]here is a long road ahead in demonstrating how well stem cell-based reparative therapies will work, and much to understand about what, where, and how to deliver the cells, and to whom.”

She concludes, “But the massive strides in technology over recent years make it tempting to speculate that cell replacement may play an increasing role in alleviating at least the motor symptoms, if not others, in the decades to come.”

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Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson’s Disease and Neuroplasticity

Prior to 20 or so years ago, the brain was thought to be rigid in many respects. The saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is an example of this thinking. Perhaps now it should be “use it or lose it”!

parkinson's disease and neuroplasticityWe now know, that, through the science of Neuroplasticity, the brain has the natural ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural pathways and connections and is capable of change even after childhood, on into maturity, and even old age. Brain reorganization occurs by forming new neural pathways to bring about a needed function. This is put in place in the brain by mechanisms such as “axonal sprouting”, where undamaged axons grow new nerve endings to reconnect neurons whose links were severed or impaired. Neuroplasticity also means undamaged axons can also grow nerve endings to connect with other undamaged nerve cells. For example, if damage is done in one hemisphere of the brain the other undamaged hemisphere may take over some of its functions. This is achieved by stimulating the neurons through certain activities, like Ageless Grace, where the brain compensates for damage by forming new communications between intact neurons.

This discovery has enormous implications for the Parkinson’s community.

Parkinson’s disease symptoms include physical, emotional and brain issues – Ageless Grace meets all the requirements of a highly effective Neuroplasticity model and is ideally suited to Parkinson’s disease as it addresses the 5 functions of the Brain and all the functions of healthy aging in the 21 tools. Ageless Grace addresses kinesthetic learning as well as Cognitive, Dementia and Apathy issues.

To know that a Parkinson’s disease patient has some hope, and that symptoms and progression may be helped by rewiring the brain, can be life changing.

By practicing Ageless Grace, a Parkinson’s disease patient can enhance attention span, increase levels of working memory, speed up the brain’s processing power and thereby stimulate healing and improve poor balance and other movement disorders. Studies have shown that learning to tango can use the brains natural plasticity to make positive changes and Ageless Grace combines all the aspects, like learning to tango, necessary for Neuroplasticity to take place and is therefore a perfect model for Parkinson’s disease.

Neuroplasticity Benefits of Ageless Grace for Parkinson’s Disease. Here are a few examples:

DYSTONIA, RIGIDITY AND POSTURAL INSTABILITY

Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder, common to Parkinson’s disease in which sustained muscle contractions cause twisting, twitching and repetitive movements or abnormal postures. Muscles tend to be rigid and treatment is difficult and has been limited to minimizing the symptoms of these disorders usually with medications. Tool #1 Juicy Joints; Tool # 18 Shake it up Baby; #15 Balancing Act: address and help to minimize these symptoms.

BRADYKINESIA

Bradykinesia refers to slowness of movement and is the most characteristic clinical feature of Parkinson’s disease. The slowness of movement is most clear when initiating and executing actions or activities that require several successive steps and require fine motor control. In Ageless Grace, Tools #2, #4, #11, #13 #17 and #19, have both relatively fast movements while others are slower, requiring fine motor control – all access muscle memory formed in youth, maximizing neuroplasticity potential.

MICROGRAPHIA

Micrographia means “small writing.” It is a common symptom of Parkinson’s disease, which affects many voluntary and involuntary muscle movements through the loss of the brain chemical dopamine. #3 Spelling “B” addresses motor-function and kinesthetic learning associated with this Parkinson’s disease symptom while many tools such as Dance Party – Tool #21 are uplifting and thereby increase dopamine levels.

DEMENTIA & COGNITION

Right-left Brain Coordination and Hand- Eye Coordination are important in treating Parkinson’s disease and are found in many of the tools – in particular Tool #4 Front Row Orchestra, #6 Try Chi, #3 Spelling “B” and Tool #5 Zoo-ology, which all stimulate Cognitive Function, Memory, Recall and Imagination.

AKINESIA /APATHY

Akinesia is one of the classic symptoms of moderate to advanced Parkinson’s Disease, and manifests as temporary episodes of “freezing” during movement or difficulty in starting movement such as walking. Since the disorder progresses as a result of nerve damage that causes injury to the brain, the nervous system does not send any signals for making movement. The prevailing perception of Akinesia is that it is a consequence of dopamine depletion. However, some recent studies suggest that serotonin and norepinephrine are also depleted in people with Akinesia. Most Ageless Grace tools, if not all, address these motor symptoms and the hormone depletions and Parkinson’s disease patients who regularly practice Ageless Grace report relief and “happy,” “good’ and “relaxed” feelings- “natural highs” from the practice which raise the levels of these neurotransmitters and have huge Neuroplastic implications for the nervous system.

HYPOMIMIA

Hypomimia is also known as facial masking. It refers to the face being less expressive than usual or“looking blank”. Some of the symptoms are caused by the loss of so-called automatic movements. These include blinking and smiling; Exercise Tool #14 Saving Face is recommended to stimulate Facial Muscles, and relieve Headaches and TMJ, which are the result of constant tensing of facial muscles.

Conclusion: Neuroplasticity is a new science that has great potential for the future to help with social, psychiatric, personal, emotional and brain disease problems by recognizing that the brain is a plastic organ that can be retrained, grown, and repaired by using techniques such as Ageless Grace – well-suited to Parkinson’s disease and other Neurological diseases.

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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/

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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/