The term “Parkinson’s Disease” is most commonly used to refer to Parkinson’s Disease (PD) which is a progressive neurological condition that affects the brain and nervous system. PD causes movement problems including trembling, stiffness, slowness of movement and difficulty with balance. The symptoms usually develop slowly over many years but in some cases can start suddenly. A person with Parkinson’s will experience some symptoms throughout their life but others may not be seen until later on in the course of their condition.
Here’s everything else you need to know.
How does it affect us?
Parkinson’s Disease is a chronic, progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects your movement, speech and posture. It occurs when certain nerve cells in your brain lose the ability to produce a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is important for normal movement and control of body movements.
Parkinson’s Disease can be confused with essential tremor (ET), which is an involuntary shaking of the hands while they are at rest; however, this condition most commonly occurs when arms are outstretched or extended away from the body in a position that supports hand shaking.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptom of PD is a tremor, or shaking, which usually begins in one hand. The tremor may be barely noticeable at first and may only occur when the hand is at rest. As the disease progresses, the tremor becomes more pronounced and may occur on both sides of the body. Other symptoms include:
· Slow movement (bradykinesia)
· Muscle rigidity or stiffness
· Impaired balance and coordination
· Loss of automatic movements, such as blinking or smiling
· Speech changes, including a soft monotone voice or trouble saying the right word
As PD progresses, symptoms may become more severe and debilitating, making everyday activities increasingly difficult.
How is it diagnosed?
There is no one test to diagnose PD. Instead, your doctor will likely ask about your medical history and perform a physical and neurological exam. He or she may also order tests to rule out other conditions.
A diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease is based on your medical history, a review of your symptoms, and a neurological exam. Your doctor may also order tests to rule out other conditions.
What are the treatments?
There is no cure for PD, but there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms. Medications can be used to control the shaking (tremor), rigidity, and slowness of movement. In some cases, surgery may be an option.
Physical therapy and exercise are also important in helping to maintain muscle strength and flexibility, improve balance and coordination, and reduce fatigue.
What is the prognosis?
The progression of PD varies from person to person. In general, PD progresses slowly over many years. As the disease progresses, symptoms may become more severe and debilitating, making everyday activities increasingly difficult.
With proper treatment, most people with PD are able to live relatively normal lives. However, the disease can lead to complications such as pneumonia, falls, and memory problems. In some cases, PD can also lead to dementia.
Caring for someone with Parkinson’s Disease
If you are caring for someone with PD, it’s important to be patient and understanding. The disease can be frustrating and exhausting, both for the person with the condition and for their caregivers. There are a number of resources available to help you care for someone with this condition including professional home care workers, support groups, home health services, and respite care.
Get professional home care support for Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s Disease is a chronic and progressive neurological disorder that affects a person’s ability to move, balance, and coordination. While there is no cure, there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms. With proper treatment, most people with this condition are able to live relatively normal lives. However, it can lead to complications such as pneumonia, falls, and memory problems. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with PD, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the disease and seek out support resources to help you cope.
For professional home care for Parkinson’s Disease, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team at Aspire UK today – we aim to help families and their loved ones across the UK lead more supported, enriching lives.