Parkinson’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disorder amongst the elderly group of people, who have a deficiency in the dopamine producing neurons due to an insult to the nigrostriatal region of the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that helps in transmitting messages between the different areas of brain. This dopamine deficiency manifests in the form of loss of muscular control and coordination and leads to rigidity, stiffness, slowing of movements, freezing of gait, tremors, dyskinesia, and other motor symptoms. The various non motor symptoms include sleep disturbances, bowel and bladder dysfunction, slurred speech, difficulty in swallowing and chewing, and dysphagia. Prolonged disability and nutritional deficiencies because of the poor diet, renders the immune system weak and makes the body prone to various infections. An abscess occurs as a result of the body’s immune system [… Read More]
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder, where there is impairment of motor skills and speech, along with various other problems, and in conjunction with medications, exercising at home can often help the patient to function better. Since traveling outside the house is not always feasible, and may even be hazardous for some patients, an exercise regime which can be followed at home is often the best option.
Since Parkinson’s disease management depends mainly on oral medication, patient compliance or patient adherence to the medicines prescribed as well as not quitting the drugs altogether without informing the doctor is a very important issue. The absolute necessity of taking the medicines at proper times and in their prescribed doses cannot be overemphasized and should be clearly understood by the patient, family members or other caregivers. The dangers of quitting Parkinson’s disease drugs without informing the doctor also needs to be stressed.
There are innumerable minor, but nonetheless quite distressing, symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease, with skin problems being one of them. Some of these skin problems may be due to the disease itself although drug therapy for Parkinson’s disease is often responsible. While the side effects of these medicines do cause significant distress at times, it is important to note that the drugs are essential in managing Parkinson’s disease and should not be stopped or changed without your doctor’s approval.
Although tremor and rigidity are the typical symptoms of a patient with Parkinson’s disease, eye problems are quite common too, and are important because they can interfere with the quality of life of a person. When faced with eye disorders or vision problems in patients with Parkinson’s disease, it is important to bear in mind that some of these conditions may not be related to Parkinson’s. Old age, poor eyesight, complication from other chronic conditions, like diabetes, may impact on the eyesight in any person, even when Parkinson’s disease is not present.
Speech problem or difficulty in speaking (dysarthria) is one of the most common symptoms that develop in a patient with Parkinson’s disease besides the major symptoms such as tremor, rigidity, slowness of movement and loss of postural reflexes. It is estimated that about 60 to 90 percent of patients with Parkinson’s disease have difficulty with their speech, which may take various forms such as a soft, monotonous, or slurred speech, speaking too fast or repeating words, or sometimes hesitating before speaking. Problems with speech can be due to reduced movement of the muscles involved in breathing, talking and voice intonation as a result of Parkinson’s disease.
Compulsive behavior, though not common, sometimes occurs in patients with Parkinson’s disease and is more likely to be associated with those on treatment with dopamine agonists, although other types of anti-Parkinson drugs may be implicated too. These impulse-control disorders are seen more often in men than in women and are more common in patients with young-onset Parkinson’s disease and may be accompanied by psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, or mood disorders such as depression or anxiety.
Urinary disturbance or problems with urination is a common, though late, feature of Parkinson’s disease and may be the cause of much embarrassment to the patient. The main function of the bladder is to store urine and then empty it at a suitable time and place but due to degenerative changes in the basal ganglia in Parkinson’s disease, there is interference with the nerve signals responsible for bladder control, resulting in an overactive or irritable bladder. This causes symptoms of urinary dysfunction such as frequency of micturition, urgency, urinary incontinence, and incomplete emptying of the bladder.
Although insomnia may not be the most debilitating of complaints in patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease, it can nonetheless cause much distress in Parkinson’s patients and the symptoms often aggravate as the disease progresses. Insomnia is the inability to get a good night’s sleep and may be due to : Sleep onset problem where the patient has difficulty in going off to sleep even though he/she may be extremely tired. This is most often associated with depression or anxiety states. Sleep maintenance difficulty where the patient goes off to sleep easily but wakes up frequently at night. This problem is faced very frequently by Parkinson’s disease patients and they may have abrupt and agitated arousal more than five times at night. This leads to tiredness and excessive daytime sleepiness. Excessive daytime sleepiness is caused by [… Read More]
A concussion usually occurs after severe head trauma and this may be a possibility in the end stages of Parkinson’s disease when patients are more prone to falls. Depending on the extent of the head trauma, a concussion may vary in its presentation and is often ignored after an injury, although the full effect may only be realized a day or two after the trauma. In terms of Parkinson’s disease, there is greater difficulty in identifying a possible concussion since some of the Parkinson’s disease symptoms may blur or mask the signs of a concussion.