You’ve probably heard of Parkinson’s Disease. Maybe you have a relative who has been diagnosed, or a friend suffering from the symptoms. Until you or someone close with you is diagnosed, you may not know the details and treatment of the Disease. Let’s break it down a bit!

Parkinson’s Disease is a disorder of the nervous system.

Symptoms usually have a relatively slow onset, and early stages of Parkinson’s can be different depending on the individual. Most people begin to experience symptoms on one side of their body first. As symptoms develop, the other side of the body will begin to experience symptoms as well. The first side affected will generally continue to experience symptoms more acutely. Symptoms vary across patients, and often go unnoticed in their early stages. They might include:

  • Tremor: This is usually the first symptom that occurs. Tremors are characterized by an uncontrolled shaking, usually beginning in the hand. Tremors can often appear as a fidget, with those affected rubbing their thumb and forefinger together. This is also known as pill-rolling.
  • Slowed movement (bradykinesia): Later stages of Parkinson’s Disease can cause a slowing of movement. This can make simple tasks much more difficult and time consuming. This may cause one’s gait to shorten. It may become difficult to rise from sitting.
  • Rigid muscles: Stiff muscles will often cause pain, and lead to further difficulty with ambulation.
  • Loss of unconscious movement: As symptoms progress, patients often find themselves not performing movements that were once automated. Blinking, moving arms while walking, facial expressions and swallowing can all be affected.
  • Speech changes: A patient’s speech will often become quieter. Sometimes speech will become more hurried or delayed. Symptoms can also manifest with slurring or a monotone effect.

It is important to see a doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

Especially if you have any of the following risk factors:

  1. Age: Most people with Parkinson’s Disease begin to experience symptoms in mid to late life. It is very uncommon for younger people to develop the disease.
  2. Family history: Having close relatives with Parkinson’s Disease significantly increases an individual’s risk of developing the disease themselves. Having just one family member with Parkinson’s can put you at a slightly greater risk, but having several family members increases your risk factor substantially.
  3. Sex: Men are far more likely to develop Parkinson’s than females.
  4. Environmental: Someone who has had long term exposure to herbicides and pesticides has a slightly greater risk of developing Parkinson’s.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s can cause a myriad of complications. Managing changes to life style based upon these complications can be extremely difficult. Some patients may develop problems with basic cognitive function. Depression and sleep disorders are also very common.

The direct causes of Parkinson’s remain unknown. There is no proven way of preventing the disease, but there is some research to suggest a correlation between caffeine consumption and a slightly reduced risk. There is also some research to suggest a link between regular aerobic exercise and a decreased risk.

Parkinson’s progresses relatively slowly, so planning for later stages is vital.

Patients will almost always require some kind of assistance with their daily lives as symptoms progress. Feeding, ambulation, bathing, dressing and toileting can become so difficult that they are not possible without the aide of another person. There are many options for care open to those suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, and help can often be easier to receive than you might think.

If you or your loved one suffers from Parkinson’s and may require homecare services, call (844) 275-9844 today!

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