Parkinsons Disease

Posted on

Jun 23, 2021

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Parkinsons disease is a brain disorder that leads to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance, and coordination. It affects about half a million people in the United States although the numbers may be much higher. The average age of onset is 60 years, and the risk of developing Parkinsons goes up with age.
Parkinsons disease was first described in 1817 by James Parkinson, a British doctor who published a paper on what he called the shaking palsy. He described four major symptoms.
Four Main Symptoms
Parkinsons disease belongs to a group of neurological conditions called movement disorders. The four main symptoms of Parkinsons are:
tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk
bradykinesia, or slowness of movement
postural instability, or impaired balance.
Parkinsons symptoms usually begin gradually and get worse over time. As the symptoms become more severe, people with the disorder may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks. They also experience non-motor, or movement symptoms including mental and behavioral changes, sleep problems, depression, memory difficulties, and fatigue.
Parkinsons disease not only affects the brain, but the entire body. While the brain involvement is responsible for the core features, other affected locations contribute to the complicated picture of Parkinsons.
Parkinsons disease is both chronic, meaning it lasts for a long time, and progressive, meaning its symptoms grow worse over time. It is not contagious.
Diagnosis Can Be Difficult
About 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinsons disease each year. However, its difficult to know exactly how many have it because many people in the early stages of the disease think their symptoms are due to normal aging and do not seek help from a doctor. Also, diagnosis is sometimes difficult because there are no medical tests that can diagnose the disease with certainty and because other conditions may produce symptoms of Parkinsons.
People with Parkinsons may sometimes be told by their doctors that they have other disorders, and people with diseases similar to Parkinsons may be incorrectly diagnosed as having Parkinsons. A persons good response to the drug levodopa may support the diagnosis. Levodopa is the main therapy for Parkinsons disease.
Who Is at Risk?
Both men and women can have Parkinsons disease. However, the disease affects about 50 percent more men than women. While the disease is more common in developed countries, studies also have found an increased risk of Parkinsons disease in people who live in rural areas and in those who work in certain professions, suggesting that environmental factors may play a role in the disorder.
Researchers are focusing on additional risk factors for Parkinsons disease. One clear risk factor for Parkinsons is age. As mentioned above, the average age of onset is 60 years and the risk rises significantly with advancing age. However, about 5 to 10 percent of people with Parkinsons have early-onset disease which begins before the age of 50. Early-onset forms of Parkinsons are often inherited, though not always, and some have been linked to specific gene mutations.
Juvenile Parkinsonism
In very rare cases, parkinsonian symptoms may appear in people before the age of 20. This condition is called juvenile parkinsonism. It is most commonly seen in Japan but has been found in other countries as well. It usually begins with dystonia (sustained muscle contractions causing twisting movements) and bradykinesia (slowness of movement), and the symptoms often improve with levodopa medication. Juvenile parkinsonism often runs in families and is sometimes linked to a mutated gene.
Some Cases Are Inherited
Evidence suggests that, in some cases, Parkinsons disease may be inherited. An estimated 15 to 25 percent of people with Parkinsons have a known relative with the disease. People with one or more close relatives who have Parkinsons have an increased risk of developing the disease themselves.
Yoga and Tai Chi for Parkinsonians
Heart, Body & Mind Home Care offers wellness services in addition to in home personal care. We believe that engaging in the right activities under a customized care plan can offer significant health & wellness benefits to our clients.
Research suggests that practicing yoga or tai chi with a trained instructor such as those available at Heart, Body & Mind Home Care may improve balance and stability in older adults and reduce the risk of falls. Importantly, there is also evidence that yoga and tai chi are the most beneficial complementary therapies to help improve balance impairments in people with mid-to-moderate Parkinsons disease. Yoga can assist with posture, loosen tight muscles, build confidence and as a result, enrich quality of life.
Call Heart, Body & Mind Home Care today to receive free information about our holistic in-home personal care & wellness services, including Parkinsons care.
Ralph B. Laughton
President of Heart, Body, & Mind Home Care

Fort Myers Home Health Care
Heart Body & Mind Home Careis committed to the principle that it takes more than just effort to provide care to another human being it takes heart. Our hearts are in all that we do. If you are interested in learning more about our compassionate home care and wellness services in Southwest Florida, click the link above.

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