Thursday, August 6, 2015

Spotlight on Parkinson’s Disease: What you Need to Know

According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, there are approximately one million people in the United States living with Parkinson’s disease. This progressive movement disorder more commonly develops in adults over age 60. While some adults have mild symptoms, others are more severely affected. Parkinson’s disease can make it more difficult for seniors to carry out daily tasks and maintain smooth movement or balance. An in-home caregiver can provide assistance with a wide range of activities and support safety and independence.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

Not everyone experiences the same symptoms or with the same severity. It varies from person to person. Seniors may first notice symptoms only on one side of their body, but the condition may progress to both sides. Typically one side is more affected than the other. Common symptoms include:

  • Tremors – including when the body is at rest
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Slowed movement (also known as bradykinesia)
  • Changes in speech
  • Balance or posture issues
  • Decreased facial expression
  • Smaller handwriting

Some seniors also experience non-motor symptoms such as depression, fatigue, weight loss or gain, anxiety, incontinence, and sleep problems. Tremors in the hands are generally one of the first symptoms that people notice and then the condition progresses from there.

Causes of Parkinson’s Disease

Scientists are still unclear about the exact causes of Parkinson’s disease. Many believe that it is the result of both genetic and environmental factors. Aging is also thought to play a role as seniors tend to be at higher risk. Symptoms are often brought on as nerve cells in the brain are damaged or die. These neurons are typically the ones that affect the production of dopamine. There are also certain gene mutations that have been identified. In addition, exposure to certain toxins may also play a role but are not thought to be a sole cause of Parkinson’s disease.

Treatments for Parkinson’s Disease

There currently is no cure available for this disease, but there are medications that can help relieve symptoms. Seniors may take several different medications to help combat varying symptoms. Some focus on increasing dopamine production, others substitute for dopamine production, and there are also those to help control tremors and improve movement. 

Living with Parkinson’s Disease

Ongoing exercise and physical therapy can help those with Parkinson’s to adjust to changes in mobility, strengthen muscles, and move more safely. Occupational therapists can help with modifying activities of daily living and teaching seniors different techniques and strategies. Always Best Care of Asheville-Hendersonville can provide in-home senior services to assist seniors with a wide range of activities from meal preparation and cleaning to dressing and traveling within the community. To learn more about how in-home care can enhance your senior’s safety and quality of life, contact Always Best Care at (828) 989-7263 or visit us online.

No comments:

Post a Comment