Acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or just simple heartburn occurs quite frequently in many people, but Parkinson’s disease patients seem to be more prone to developing this condition. There are a number of reasons why this is so. How Does Acid Reflux Occur? When food is swallowed, it moves down through the esophagus (food pipe) into the stomach. The esophageal sphincter, situated between the esophagus and the stomach, opens to allow this action to take place and closes back again so that the food does not go back into the esophagus. In this way, the esophageal sphincter acts as a one way-valve.
Parkinson’s disease can be very demanding on the caregivers, especially in the end stages of Parkinson’s disease, when the patient is wheelchair bound or absolutely bedridden. This is the time when extra precautions have to be taken to prevent bedsore formation. Bedsores (also called pressure sores or decubitus ulcers) can be extremely painful and usually develop as a result of prolonged immobilization. It is better to take precautions to prevent bedsore formation because once they develop they can progress very fast and then become extremely difficult to heal.
Due to the progressive loss of muscle control – both voluntary and involuntary – many other symptoms can develop in a patient suffering from Parkinson’s disease besides the typical symptoms of tremor and rigidity. Dysphagia is one such symptom. Dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing is a common problem in people with Parkinson’s disease which can have far-reaching consequences. Dysphagia can lead to shorter survival time in a patient with Parkinson’s disease, not only because the affected muscles of the throat may make swallowing difficult – hence less food intake and increased chances of under-nutrition of the patient – but also because it increases the possibility of aspiration pneumonia.
Parkinson’s disease patients, especially in the end stages of the disease, often have a significant amount of muscle atrophy. This muscle wasting or loss of muscle tissue could be due to reduced physical activity because of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease or if bedridden. Added to the reduced or lack of physical activity, an additional factor to take into account is that Parkinson’s disease is in most cases a disease of old age, a period of life where some amount of normal muscle wasting is to be expected. Physiotherapy and a home exercise program for Parkinson’s patients do help to prevent this muscle atrophy to a certain extent. Apart from muscle atrophy, some amount of cerebral or brain atrophy is also to be expected in people suffering from Parkinson’s disease, which is in excess to [… Read More]
An abscess occurs as a result of the body’s immune system trying to fight off and localize an infection to a small area so that it does not spread to the rest of the body. People with Parkinson’s disease, and especially those who are suffering from the end stages of Parkinson’s disease, are more prone to infections. It is easy for a small infection to flare up or a tiny abscess to reach dangerous proportions because the ability of the body to fight infections is greatly reduced.
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.
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.
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.