Due to the nature of Parkinson’s disease, falls are a fairly common occurrence mainly due to instability with the posture and impaired gait. It has a host of complications as would frequent falls in any person, irrespective of Parkinson’s disease. However, bearing in mind that most Parkinson’s disease patients are older, the impact of these frequent falls can have severe consequences. Understanding the dangers associated with frequent falls and minimizing it is of the utmost importance.
Complications may arise in any diseases if left untreated or as it progresses and Parkinson’s disease is no different. These complications may be associated with PD itself as it gets worse, arise as a side effect from the medication being used for PD or at times arise separately due to the effects of Parkinson’s disease on various aspects of life and health (secondary). Parkinson’s disease itself is not fatal but some of the complications could be and therefore proper care and vigilance is necessary. Identifying these complications as early as possible and seeking treatment where possible can greatly reduce the severity of the complication.
Parkinson’s disease, unless in the late stages, should not be a contraindication for traveling, provided adequate preparations are made in advance. Although it may be intimidating for a PD patient to consider traveling to distant unfamiliar places, certain basic considerations, if kept in mind, can make the trip comfortable, enjoyable, and problem-free.
A range of sleeping problems are associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and unless they are recognized and tackled effectively, they can give rise to serious consequences. Sleep disorders can manifest as restless sleep, nightmares, vivid dreams, acting out dreams during sleep, and excessive daytime sleepiness. These sleep-related problems can affect the quality of life in PD patients, resulting in fatigue, poor attention, memory deficits, and predisposition to accidents.
Although the characteristic symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) involve motor functions such as tremor, rigidity, slowness of movement and loss of postural reflex, there are other neurological and psychiatric symptoms present in later stages of the disease which point to definite changes in brain function and personality of PD patients.
As Parkinson’s disease progresses, many other symptoms and problems start developing, some due to the disease process itself and others due to the effects of natural aging. Of these, dental diseases and the problems associated with them need to be tackled as soon as possible so as to make the patient’s life more comfortable.
Parkinson’s disease, especially in the late stages, can take its toll not only on the patient but also on the caregiver and a time may come when there is no other option but to institutionalize the patient. It can be a heart-breaking decision, particularly when the patient is a spouse or parent, but the relentlessly progressive changes in the physical and mental health that take place in Parkinson’s disease often leaves no other option open.
There are various psychosocial factors that may lead to substance abuse and subsequent addiction and Parkinson’s patients are not immune to these pitfalls. However, it is interesting to not that some studies have shown that patients with Parkinson’s disease seem to have a low sensation seeking and a more law abiding personality trait which could protect them against the pitfalls of substance abuse and addiction. When other factors are involved, such as the side effects of some anti-Parkinson medicines or other drugs, depression and other psychosocial factors which may be unique to a patient suffering with a disease like Parkinson’s disease, substance abuse can become a real possibility.
Normal aging should not cause breathing difficulty and people with Parkinson’s disease, although mostly elderly, should not have breathing problems unless there is some underlying cause. Getting out of breath on undertaking unaccustomed exercise is not really a cause for concern. It is quite possible, however, for a person with Parkinson’s disease to also suffer from some pre-existing lung or heart condition which may cause some amount of breathing difficulty. If shortness of breath, wheezing, cough or chest discomfort does develop, even without a known medical problem, careful assessment and treatment is definitely indicated.
The inability to control the release of urine from the bladder and involuntary leakage of urine is known as urinary incontinence. It is condition that affects millions of people throughout the world and is not unique to Parkinson’s patients. It can be both embarrassing and distressing to a person and for Parkinson’s patients who are bedridden or unable to attend to themselves, it can prove even more frustrating.