Understanding Parkinson’s Disease

What is Parkinson's disease?

Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurological disorder that, caused by the loss of cells in the brain producing dopamine, brings on a variety of movement-affecting symptoms – from tremors to stiffness, slow movement, and difficulty in balancing and coordinating.

What is the main cause of Parkinson's disease?

Although the precise cause of Parkinson’s disease is still not fully grasped, it is believed to stem from a mix of both genetic and environmental elements.

The cells in the substantia nigra, a part of the brain which produces a chemical known as dopamine, often take the blame for causing Parkinson’s Disease. This chemical, dopamine, plays an integral role in sending signals throughout the brain which allow us to maintain movement and coordination; yet when dopamine levels are low, the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease can arise.

It remains a mystery as to why cells die in people with Parkinson’s disease, yet a plethora of genetic and environmental factors may be contributing. Some studies indicate that exposure to certain toxins or viruses could potentially elevate the chance of developing Parkinson’s, yet more research is required to validate this.

Although there is no current cure for Parkinson’s Disease, modern medications and therapeutic treatments have been proven to drastically improve the quality of life by controlling the symptoms.

coping with Parkinson's Disease

Coping with Parkinson's (PD)

Coping with Parkinson’s disease can be a daunting task, with symptoms that can significantly impede a person’s ability to perform daily activities. For instance, a person with Parkinson’s might find it challenging to prepare meals, keep the house clean, or even dress. Additionally, they may suffer from memory issues and lack of concentration, along with changes in behaviour and emotional state.

Having Parkinson’s disease necessitates that individuals team up with their medical personnel to best handle their signs and keep as much autonomy as possible. This could include ingesting medication, engaging in physical therapy, and adapting lifestyle changes, such as customizing the home setting to make it safer and more navigable. Having the support of friends and family, as well as joining a support group for those with Parkinson’s disease, can be an invaluable asset to those dealing with this condition.

What are the 5 symptoms of Parkinson's disease?

The five main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are:

  1. Tremors: Tremors are one of the most well-known symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. They are involuntary, rhythmic movements that usually occur in the hands, arms, legs, or jaw. Tremors can be mild or severe, and they may be more pronounced when a person is at rest or under stress.

  2. Rigidity: Rigidity, or stiffness, is a common symptom of Parkinson’s disease that can affect the limbs and torso. Movement of limbs can be severely hindered, resulting in pain and uneasiness, making it a struggle for someone to be able to act freely.

  3. Bradykinesia: Bradykinesia, or slow movement, is a common symptom of Parkinson’s disease. It can make it difficult for a person to start and stop movements and can cause delays in completing tasks that require movement.

  4. Postural instability: Postural instability is a symptom of Parkinson’s disease that affects balance and coordination. It can make it difficult for a person to maintain their balance while standing or walking and can increase their risk of falls.

  5. Non-motor symptoms: Parkinson’s disease can also cause non-motor symptoms, such as changes in mood, behaviour, sleep, and cognition (e.g., memory and concentration problems). These symptoms can be just as disruptive as motor symptoms and can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.

It is essential to remember that not all persons affected by Parkinson’s have the same intensity of symptoms, nor do they all experience all the indications. What’s more, Parkinson’s can bring about other non-motor symptoms like constipation, bladder issues, and sleep disorders.

therapy for parkinsons

What therapy can help with Parkinson's?

When it comes to managing Parkinson’s disease, there are several helpful therapeutic options available, such as:

  1. Physical therapy: Physiotherapy can be a beneficial aid for individuals with Parkinson’s, as it assists in increasing strength, flexibility, and mobility. Furthermore, physical therapists can provide exercises to help enhance balance and coordination, as well as suggest devices like walkers or canes to better promote mobility.

  2. Occupational therapy: Occupational therapy can help individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease improve their capability to execute everyday tasks such as putting on clothes, bathing, and cooking. Furthermore, occupational therapists can even advise modifications to the home setting to make it more secure and simpler to manoeuvre.

  3. Speech therapy: Speech therapy can be a valuable tool for those living with Parkinson’s disease who are having difficulties speaking or communicating. Speech therapists can provide techniques to help with articulation and volume control, as well as address swallowing issues.

  4. Medications: Medication can be an important tool to help manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease – from reducing tremors to improving mobility and regulating mood. Working with your healthcare team is key to finding the best treatment plan for you.

  5. Deep brain stimulation (DBS): DBS, a revolutionary surgical intervention, introduces a device into the brain that emits electrical impulses targeting the parts of the brain governing movement. By doing so, it can be a powerful solution for subduing the tremors, rigidity, and other telltale signs of Parkinson’s disease.

  6. Exercise: Exercising on a regular basis can do wonders for those living with Parkinson’s disease, assisting with mobility, balance and flexibility. It is key for individuals with Parkinson’s to collaborate with their healthcare providers to form an exercise regimen tailored to their needs.

Can home care help those living with Parkinson's disease?

Home care is an invaluable asset for those living with Parkinson’s disease. From assistance with everyday activities such as bathing, dressing and toileting to housekeeping chores such as cooking, cleaning and laundry, home care services can provide valuable help. Furthermore, home care providers can help manage medications and transport them to medical appointments.

Home care not only provides practical assistance but also vital emotional support and companionship for those with Parkinson’s disease. Having a home care provider on hand to offer encouragement, lend a helping hand when needed, and keep the individual engaged with the community can be incredibly beneficial to someone with Parkinson’s disease.

It’s essential for those with Parkinson’s disease to collaborate with their medical and health team to decide the ideal home care plan that best suits their needs. There are a plethora of home care options, from in-home care to respite care and hospice care.

Live independently with the care and support you need – Hygea Homecare can help! We can work with your therapy team to improve your motor skills and our experienced carers have the necessary training to provide the best therapy support. Get in touch today to find out more – just call 0115 648 6630 or drop us an email at referrals@hygeahomecare.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help!

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