APRIL: Parkinson's Awareness Month
A new month and a new topic for us to focus on! We at ElderCaring can provide experienced caregivers for your loved one living with Parkinson's.
WHAT IS PARKINSON'S? Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses slowly in most people. Most people's symptoms take years to develop, and they live for years with the disease.
In short, a person's brain slowly stops producing a neurotransmitter called dopamine. With less and less dopamine, a person has less and less ability to regulate their movements, body and emotions.
Parkinson's disease itself is not fatal. However, complications from the disease are serious.
There is currently no cure for Parkinson's. The doctor's goal will be to treat your symptoms to keep your quality of life as high as possible.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PARKINSON'S DISEASE?
Four Main Motor Symptoms of Parkinson's:
1. Shaking or tremor at rest.
2. Slowness of movement, called bradykinesia.
3. Stiffness or rigidity of the arms, legs or trunk.
4. Trouble with balance and falls, also called postural instability. This usually appears later with disease progression and may not be present with initial diagnosis.
Small, cramped handwriting, called micrographia.
Reduced arm swing on the affected side.
Slight foot drag on affected side creating a shuffled walk.
"Freezing"- a term used to describe the phenomenon of being 'stuck in place' when attempting to walk.
Loss of facial expression due to rigidity of facial muscles, called hypomimia.
Low voice volume or muffled speech, called hypophonia.
Tendency to fall backwards, called retropulsion.
Decrease ability in automatic reflexes such as blinking and swallowing.
Depression, anxiety, hallucinations, psychosis, sleep disturbances (vivid dreams, talking and moving during night sleep), constipation, pain and increase in dandruff or oily skin.
All these symptoms can vary widely between people in terms of their type and severity.
Next week: Diagnosis and treatment.