Depression is common suffering in Parkinson’s & if you find yourself sad or depressed most times during the day then you’re not alone.
Keeping mental stability during Parkinson’s is extremely important. Though you’ll find this symptom common for chronic diseases, it is even more common for PD patients.
At least 50% of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s are likely to experience a certain type of depression during this illness, while 40% of them may experience an anxiety disorder.
You may have got the idea that mood swings, anxiety & depression are the greatest motor impairments for PD patients. However, you should not confuse sadness with depression as they’re both different.
Sadness vs. Depression In Parkinson’s
Sadness is temporary while depression is permanent. Depression may last for weeks or more. In other words, depression is triggered by chemical changes in the brain.
Parkinson’s disease is responsible for causing changes in the brain areas producing dopamine, norepinephrine & serotonin. These are the chemicals that regulate mood, sleep, motivation, energy, and appetite. Additionally, a PD patient may be depressed even before he/she is diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
So, if you’re new to Parkinson’s let us make it clear for you before proceeding to the details for depression.
What is Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s is a central nervous system disorder. It affects the nerve cells in the brain. As a result, muscular stiffness, difficulty in movements, tremors, imbalance, and troubles in performing nominal routine activities are faced.
How is depression linked with Parkinson’s?
Depression is one of the common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, just like insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and anxiety. Needless to say, depression may be caused by such sleep disorders, consistent fatigue, and fear of whether the patient will ever get back to the normal routine.
You can easily conclude how Parkinson’s & depression are interlinked.
Causes of depression in Parkinson’s
Depression is a mood disorder when you feel overwhelmed with sadness, hopefulness, and loss for whatever you come across at your home or office. Several reasons could be responsible for causing depression & we’ve broadly categorized them as psychological, biological, and environmental factors.
Let’s have a look at each of these causes in brief.
Negative thoughts keep pouring in & you cannot help yourself from the feelings that only lead to helplessness, hopelessness, and sadness, no matter how hard you try. You’re ultimately vulnerable to depression.
You become socially isolated & make your lifestyle restricted. In short, you de-socialize.
Changes in brain chemistry directly affect your thinking process & emotions. Also, if a PD patient has a history of mental health issues before being diagnosed with Parkinson’s then they’re likely to suffer from depression later.
It’s a natural human reaction to feel depressed after being diagnosed with some chronic illness.
It could be a side-effect of certain medication that triggers depression in PD.
Symptoms of depression in Parkinson’s
After studying the causes, we’re about to explore the symptoms of depression in Parkinson’s that usually vary from person to person. The severity of Parkinson’s could range from mild to severe.
We’ve figured out some commonly found symptoms in PD & here they are:
- Permanent sadness
- Crying for no reason
- Losing interest in favorite activities
- Guilty, criticism, and worthless feelings
- Feeling energy loss during the day
- Fatigue kicks in
- Developing Over-eating or poor appetite habits
- Lack of motivation
- Limb or body pain
- Feeling like a burden on loved ones
- Dreaming of disability or death
- Sleep disorders – either sleeping a lot or not sleeping at all
- Suicidal thoughts
How do you know if you’re depressed in Parkinson’s?
If you find any of the above-mentioned symptoms happening with you, you’re supposed to consult the doctor & ask for help. You should not wait for these signals to get more severe & put your life at risk.
Depression is often underrated in Parkinson’s & thus it remains unnoticed. This is the reason most PD patients remain in a depressed mood & lose interest in normal routine activities too.
Treatment options for depression in Parkinson’s
The two major & reliable treatment options for depression include antidepressant medicines like Etizolam (as this depression is mostly triggered by anxiety, insomnia, excessive sleep disorder, fatigue, etc.) & psychological counseling.
Firstly, the patient needs to face depression bravely & accept the fact that it’s a common symptom. Secondly, they should evaluate the current/ongoing medicines with the doctor to identify whether any of these medicines is causing depression. If yes, alternate medicines could be prescribed to minimize both motor & non-motor symptoms.
Antidepressants like Etizolam are very effective for combating depression in Parkinson’s. However, the causes & symptoms may differ from patient to patient & so the solution could differ too. If you’re already using any medicines, make sure they don’t react with antidepressants.
Go for psychological counseling sessions whenever necessary. This therapy is very beneficial in changing thought patterns & behavior to minimize depressed & anxious thoughts. Exercising could also help.
Getting peaceful sleep at night is very precious. Do you think this is something common or natural? Ask Parkinson’s patients & you’ll realize how lucky you are to get 7-8 hour sleep at night.
Insomnia feels like a curse for Parkinson’s patients & is also discovered as a common problem among PD patients. It is the worst nightmare whether PD patients find difficulty in falling asleep or when they wake up more frequently during the night that makes them feel like they didn’t sleep at all.
If you’ve known about Parkinson’s disease for the first time, let us share a brief about the same.
What is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease is nothing but a motor system disorder affecting millions of people all over the world by drastically reducing the dopamine levels produced in the brain cells. As it affects the CNS (central nervous system), hypermobile muscle movement is affected & tremor is caused as the effects of Parkinson’s progress.
It may not feel like an individual is suffering from Parkinson’s for a few months at first. As it starts to numb or paralyzing one part of the body, it slowly draws attention & then it spreads to the other part of the body too.
Parkinson’s is more likely to affect adult people than the younger generation.
Let’s have a look at Insomnia as a common symptom of Parkinson’s disease.
Insomnia or sleep fragmentation in Parkinson’s
Insomnia or fragmented sleep problem becomes routine trouble for Parkinson’s patients. We can breakdown Insomnia conditions into three categories:
1. Trouble falling asleep
You may find numerous symptoms in Parkinson’s disease leading to Insomnia & making it difficult for Parkinson’s patients in falling asleep. Even if they’re taking medications, it starts to wear off during nighttime. This leads to worsening rigidity, pain, or tremors that make it hard in falling asleep. If medicines are the reasons Parkinson’s patients cannot sleep well, their healthcare provider may recommend you to change the timings of medicine intake. Optionally, the patient may be advised to adapt to the continuous delivery method (For example patch method) for taking medicines.
To your surprise, some Parkinson’s medicines act as stimulants & make PD patients stay wide awake. As mentioned above, you may have to change the timings of medicine intake to cope up with this. If nothing works, you may ask for a sleep aid from your doctor.
Reducing insomnia is quintessential in Parkinson’s disease as it is correlated with depression.
2. Difficulty in staying asleep
Sleep disturbances or sleep disorder is common in Parkinson’s disease. Even if PD patients don’t feel difficulty in initiating sleep, sleep interruptions may make it difficult for them in staying asleep or in restful conditions. As they cannot sleep well, their lack of attention & thinking is disturbed due to fragmented sleep.
What could lead to sleep interruptions in Parkinson’s disease? Frequent urination during nighttime, sleep apnea, altered dreams, and hallucinations could be the possibilities. It may happen when medications wear off. Additionally, REM sleep behavioral disorder, periodic limb movements, and restless leg syndrome could also be responsible for less restful sleep.
A study conducted among 3200 patients revealed that sleep apnea is more common in Parkinson’s patients than in others. Another study revealed that women having sleep apnea may be at higher risk of getting Parkinson’s disease.
If this was less, motor dysfunction of the laryngopharynx could also be responsible for causing sleep apnea in Parkinson’s. However, sleep apnea can be treated with oral appliances. If everything fails, you may ask your healthcare provider if surgery is possible.
3. Falling asleep at non-idealistic times
The ways you nap affect your sleep cycle a lot. For instance, if Parkinson’s patient is habituated to nap frequently during the day then getting peaceful sleep at night is not possible. Especially if you nap in the latter part of the day, your night sleep is more likely to disturb.
This leads to excessive daytime sleepiness disorder which is again common among Parkinson’s patients. It directly affects the quality of life by causing sleep disturbances at night whenever Parkinson’s patients try to fall asleep.
The relationship between Parkinson’s disease & Insomnia
Where there is Parkinson’s, there is insomnia. This is how we can relate Parkinson’s with insomnia. If you don’t believe this, let us take this further with data revealed by research.
How to treat Insomnia in Parkinson’s?
Insomnia may be common suffering for Parkinson’s patients, but you may try to minimize its effects by consulting your healthcare provider. Medicines like Modalert are also available to promote wakefulness during the day & bring sound sleep at nighttime. Also, several therapies are available to combat insomnia.
Insomnia isn’t something you chose for Parkinson’s, but suffering from insomnia is your choice if you don’t opt for treatments. You still have time to treat insomnia, so do it as early as possible.
Is it even possible to stay worry-free when you know you’re suffering from Parkinson’s disease? No!
You’re likely to stay worried & it’s an understandable reaction in Parkinson’s. But, when you cannot focus on anything but keep worrying or remain nervous beyond understanding, the anxiety levels get serious.
Before looking up to anxiety in Parkinson’s disease in detail, we’ll first check out the basics about Parkinson’s.
What is Parkinson’s?
Mostly known as a disorder of the central nervous system, Parkinson’s affects movements gradually. Patients experiencing Parkinson’s Disease suffer from a lack of coordination & often experience imbalance in performing routine activities like walking, holding things, etc. Additionally, symptoms like the stiffness of movements, tremors, and sleep disorder in Parkinson’s become common.
Some patients may experience a few symptoms in the beginning while others show up as the disease progresses. Parkinson’s is one of those chronic diseases that often make its patients suffer from mental health difficulties. There are some treatments of Parkinson’s available which can improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
Anxiety in Parkinson’s
Anxiety is one of the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s, depression being the other one. It isn’t only -the reaction to the diagnosis of Parkinson’s, but a critical part of the disease itself.
No matter what type of anxiety is experienced by PD patients, it is important to know that anxiety/fear isn’t progressive with Parkinson’s. If not addressed from the beginning, anxiety may worsen the condition of PD patients & hence its treatment is inevitable along with depression.
4 Types of Anxiety affecting Parkinson’s patients
This anxiety is caused by brain chemistry changes because 2 out of 5 PD patients are likely to experience any of these:
1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
When you keep experiencing nervousness & can’t get rid of worrisome & fearful thoughts anyway, it is probably GAD. You feel like the expectations & reality mismatches, thus feel like you’re losing control over the situation. The signs that you’re undergoing GAD include:
- Butterflies in the stomach
- Breathing troubles
- Increased heart rate
- Excessive sweating
2. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Unpleasant thoughts or obsessions keep coming & you feel like urgency to divert your attention by engaging in some other activities to get rid of such gloomy thoughts. For instance, you develop a fear of dirt & germs and so you keep washing & cleaning your hands more often than usual. It could be a temporary relief, but you still haven’t got rid of anxiety.
3. Panic Attacks
Anxiety or panic attacks are mostly outcomes of physical & emotional distress. Patients feel like shortness of breath or sudden pressure on the heart that leads to medical emergency situations under panic attacks. However, these severe symptoms don’t last for more than a few minutes or an hour. They last for a longer time in rare cases only.
4. Social Avoidance
Also known as social anxiety disorder, social avoidance is commonly observed among Parkinson’s. PD patients find it uncomfortable to go to public gatherings just because they fear that people will make fun because of their weird walking style. Due to this reason, Parkinson’s patients distance themselves & avoid going to public events.
What causes anxiety in Parkinson’s?
We can expect two major causes behind Parkinson’s & they’re none other than psychological & biological factors. Along with common fears & worries, abnormalities in the behavior due to motor symptoms become responsible reasons behind anxiety.
Symptoms of Anxiety in Parkinson’s:
Though it seems easy to diagnose what’s causing people to fear or worry about Parkinson’s, it isn’t that simple. Hundreds of things might be triggering worries, mood & behavior changes. It is thus recommended to talk to the doctor regarding what’s bothering you.
The more open the conversations are, the more it gets easier for the medical practitioner to determine the underlying cause & initiate treatment as soon as possible. Before anxiety starts hindering routine activities & disturbs the quality of life, let’s try to understand it.
Generally, the following symptoms are observed among PD patients:
- Extreme worry & fear
- Uncontrollable thoughts
- Sudden terror feelings
- Frequent nightmares
- Abnormal behaviors
- Mood swings
- Sleeping troubles
- Increased heart rate
- Cold hands
- Excessive Sweating
- Stomach cramps
- Muscular pain
- Dry mouth
Such symptoms lead to temporary unhappiness or frustration feelings. When such behavior is consistently observed for a few days, weeks, or months, it gets noticed by others too.
How to manage Anxiety in Parkinson’s?
You cannot afford to wait for anxiety to cure naturally. Some anti-anxiety medicines like Etizolam, Etizest, etc can help, but you need to take any of them only after consulting the doctor. You also need to explore alternative treatments too.
1. Lifestyle changes
Spare some time for yourself to relax, enjoy & calm down from the busy routine of life. Stay away from alcohol or excessive caffeine consumption & try getting as much sleep as possible. Eating healthy will also help you to stay active & fit.
What else could do justice to staying healthy than regular exercising? It combats sleeplessness & anxiety to a great extent.
3. Anti-anxiety Medicines
Anti-anxiety medicines, antidepressants, or anxiolytics are often prescribed by doctors to combat anxiety during Parkinson’s. You may be prescribed Etifine, Etilaam, or Etizex, whichever suits your health. Each medicine has its distinct benefits & helps in minimizing anxiety effects.
By the time you’re here, you’ve seen what it is like living with anxiety & how you can treat it. Don’t waste time thinking that anxiety is what you’re destined to suffer from Parkinson’s. Go ahead & consult your doctor & do everything possible to get rid of anxiety.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) is one of the common sleeping disorders experienced during Parkinson’s disease.
It may be difficult for some patients to identify Excessive Daytime Sleepiness in the beginning, but it gets noticed as the symptoms & suffering progresses. Usually, EDS is observed among Parkinson’s patients who’ve been suffering from this disease for a longer duration.
To all those who’re new to Parkinson’s, let us share a brief on the same.
What is Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s disease is a central nervous system disorder. The resultant effects of Parkinson’s include stiffness of muscles & movements, shaking of limbs, and difficulties in activities like walking, imbalance, and coordination.
This disease affects more men than women & is mostly found affecting adult people.
Fatigue & sleepiness are common sufferings among Parkinson’s patients. However, when you hear any Parkinson’s patient saying that he/she is too tired, they actually mean they’re feeling sleepyhead. In other words, they’re experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness that is all about the urge to have sleep.
What is Excessive daytime sleepiness?
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness experienced by Parkinson’s patients is nothing but an inability to stay awake & alert during the major part of the day that ultimately leads to an extreme desire to sleep & often results in unintentional lapses into drowsiness.
“EDS effects in Parkinson’s up to 50-70% & fatigue in Parkinson’s is estimated to affect 40-60%.”
Excessive daytime sleepiness in Parkinson’s
EDS is a severe sleep disorder that often leads to dangerous situations. Most patients suffering from Excessive Daytime Sleepiness in Parkinson’s may:
- Want to sleep at random times/places during the day.
- Fall asleep unexpectedly while driving, thus putting other’s lives at risk.
- Don’t feel the desire to exercise or improve the quality of life. They also feel lazy in connecting with people just because they’re feeling sleepy all the time.
- Tend to take frequent naps during the day that makes them less sleepy at nighttime, thus impacting the quality of sleep.
After reading all this, you must be questioning – “What could be the possible causes for EDS in Parkinson’s?”
Well, Excessive Daytime Sleepiness is a non-persistent symptom of Parkinson’s that may show up as the disease progresses. It may arise due to several reasons like:
- Poor nighttime sleep routine
- Using Dopaminergic medicines (like Mirapex, Requip, Rotigotine, etc.)
How to treat Excessive Daytime Sleepiness in Parkinson’s?
It is well said that – “Where there is will there is a way.”
If you have had a lot of suffering from excessive daytime sleepiness in Parkinson’s & the situation is only getting worse, you have to find the way out. Sometimes, medicines can only minimize the adverse effects, but you always have options for making a few lifestyle modifications to improve your conditions.
Here are a few suggestions you may consider for normalizing EDS:
1. Create & Implement Good Sleep Hygiene
- The time when you sleep & wakeup plays a crucial role in defining your sleep-wake cycle. Some occasional sleep-wake routine changes are acceptable for normal people, but people suffering from Excessive Daytime Sleepiness in Parkinson’s MUST create a bedtime routine & fix waking timings too.
- Take assistance from the surrounding elements like a comfortable room environment that lets you have a sound sleep, limit smartphone usage at least an hour before bed, and more of such things that make you feel drowsy.
2. Avoid Daytime Naps
- Napping during the day, especially in the latter part of the day makes no sense for PD patients. It only keeps you awake unnecessarily during the nighttime when you’re expected to sleep peacefully.
- Make sure you don’t nap after 3 PM & only nap before this timing for 10 to 20 minutes only if you’re super exhausted.
- You may indulge yourself in getting ample light outdoors that keeps you attentive & fresh.
- Exercising is one of those physical activities that keep you busy & healthy. You only have to spend a little time exercising & it gives abundant benefits to your mind & body.
- Try exercising for an hour per day & it will help you a lot in getting better nighttime sleep as you may feel a bit tired after daily exercising.
4. Know your Don’ts
- You need to be extra careful when you’re suffering from Parkinson’s. Thus, it gets important to outline activities that you should NOT do.
- One of such activities is avoiding driving if you observe any symptoms of EDS. It’s because the chances of accident increases as drowsiness attacks & sudden onset of sleep may put you in critical situations.
5. Consult your Doctor
- Even if you think you’re the only one who understands your situation better right now, you still need to consult a healthcare provider & discuss your sleep disorders with them.
- Medicines like Modalert are also available to enhance daytime performance & wakefulness during the day. Also, it helps in getting better sleep at night. Who knows if your doctor finds such medication suitable for your health & you see improvements in Excessive Daytime Sleepiness during Parkinson’s!
The Bottom Line
You may find numerous solutions when looking for one. Thus, it is better if you don’t let yourself suffer from any kind of sleep disorders during Parkinson’s disease, including EDS. Make sure you seek medical assistance from the very beginning & do everything possible so that you suffer less.
Parkinson’s and sleep disorders are deeply linked. People suffering from Parkinson’s are likely to witness sleep diseases or their severe impacts, but people involved in caretaking may also face sleep disturbances within this duration.
This makes normalized sleep a major concern for people suffering from Parkinson’s as well as people surrounding them. As Parkinson’s disease is progressive & chronic, the patients suffering from Parkinson’s are worried if they’ll ever get to sleep like a normal person – restful.
If you’re someone new to Parkinson’s, let us share a brief overview of the same.
What is Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s disease can be shortly described as a central nervous system disorder that affects movements, including tremors. Such condition arises due to nerve cell damage in the brain & the dropping of dopamine levels which ultimately leads to the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
When do you know that you’re having Parkinson’s? When tremor symptoms begin in one hand & slowly progresses to stiffness, decreased movements, and imbalance. Though medications can minimize these effects, it isn’t possible to cure Parkinson’s completely.
Sleep disorder is common in Parkinson’s
Sleep disorders (non-motor symptoms) are said to be an indivisible symptom of Parkinson’s disease (PD). It all begins with a minor or infrequent sleep disorder condition in the beginning & increases in frequency throughout the disease.
Research conducted among 1477 randomly selected Parkinson’s patients, the results were as follows:
- 9% patients were suffering from chronic inability to sleep
- 18% patients suffered from difficulty in sleep initiation
- 54% patients experienced disrupted sleep
- 3% patients used to get awake during the night
- 4% patients woke up before desired timings in the morning
- 5% patients were not able to restore sleep once awake
Which type of sleep disorders are faced during Parkinson’s?
- REM sleep behavior disorder
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
What is the cause behind such sleep disorders in Parkinson’s?
If you’re trying to guess the one reason behind such sleep disorders in Parkinson’s disease, let us make it clear that the reasons could be numerous. It could be the neurodegeneration process that disrupts the networks regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Besides this, depletion of cerebral amines also happens in large numbers that are possibly responsible for initiating & maintaining sleep conditions. Other possibilities for such sleep disorders could be medications or cognitive impairments. You can now guess why PD patients cannot sleep well despite having an appropriate environment to do so.
Appropriate diagnosis & treatment of sleep disorders (as mentioned above) may lead to normalized sleep times and enhancement of daytime alertness can happen. PD patients may then expect improvements in the quality of life.
Let’s check out the common sleep disorders in detail.
When people suffering from Parkinson’s face troubles in initiating sleep, maintain sleep or tend to wake earlier than expected in the morning, it is nothing but insomnia.
Frequent awakening from sleep or sleep fragmentation also happens. Though Parkinson’s is a responsible factor for sleep disorders, they may be occurring due to depression and anxiety. Fragmented sleep may also be a product of cough, cold or heat sensations, and pain during PD. Moreover, the risk of insomnia in Parkinson’s disease increases due to drugs like dopamine agonists and their withdrawal, selegiline, entacapone, etc.
Insomnia conditions can only be treated in Parkinson’s when the type of insomnia is diagnosed precisely. You better consult your doctor & discuss whether you’re having an insomnia condition that makes it difficult to initiate sleep, fragments your sleep, or wakes you up before time.
Excessive daytime sleepiness
Also known as ‘sleep attack’, excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is spotted when you get a sudden & irresistible overwhelming sleepiness without prior awareness of falling asleep. Frequent yawning & sleep-tearing may happen. Nearly 21% of Parkinson’s patients witness these symptoms & they increase as the disease progresses. However, the symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness in Parkinson’s may vary with age, sleep-wake cycle patterns, daytime immobility, and the type of dopaminergic medications in use.
You’ll be surprised to know that treating excessive daytime sleepiness is a great challenge during Parkinson’s disease. Firstly, most doctors find it necessary to identify & treat common sleep disorders. Next, withdrawing or reducing the symptoms & effects of drugs causing hypersomnia like antidepressants, sedatives or antipsychotics could happen. PD patients are educated on how to maintain sleep hygiene within this duration. In a nutshell, doctors focus on improving the patient’s perception of wakefulness. After a few weeks of adjustments to this new routine & improvements in excessive sleep disorder conditions, patients may be able to diagnose the possible adverse effects of EDS.
Thus, it gets easier for doctors to identify the exact symptoms to be treated for EDS and so the treatment begins.
How to treat Sleep Disorders in Parkinson’s?
As mentioned above, sleep disorders may not be cured completely, but you can still find treatments that minimize their effects. Let’s have a look at a few tips that’ll help you to sleep better during Parkinson’s. Also, implement these sleep hygiene tips after consulting your healthcare provider.
- Create a bedtime routine & stick to it.
- If you cannot sleep easily, use some relaxation therapies like reading, listening to soft songs, yoga, etc.
- Make yourself comfortable in a cool & dark place for sleeping.
- Avoid blue-light exposure, i.e., using a smartphone before bedtime.
- Indulge yourself in regular exercising to ensure fitness & health. It’ll keep you motivated.
- Get some light therapy during the day. Soak yourself under the morning sun & keep yourself in the areas where you get ample light indoors & outdoors.
- Make sure you don’t nap for long during the daytime.
- Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco consumption to get sound sleep.
- Eat healthy meals & take lighter meals at night to keep your digestive tract stress-free during nighttime.
You never know the power of light therapies, exercising, and deep brain stimulation for PD patients. It positively impacts the overall sleep quality & REM sleep disorder conditions. Besides this, you may also ask your doctor regarding effective medicines for sleep disorders in Parkinson’s like Modalert that boost daytime productivity.
If you see someone suffering from Parkinson’s complaining about sleep disorders, know that they’re frequent & common for these patients. It is quite challenging to understand sleep disorders in PD & finding their treatment is even more challenging, but it helps to improve PD management & the quality of life among these patients. Many treatment options are available nowadays, but understanding the relationship between sleep-wake cycle regulations may help in normalizing the conditions faster.
Do you know someone who has Parkinson’s? Or is that you who have it? You may have seen some signs of it or your healthcare provider might have diagnosed you with the same. Whatever the reason behind it, we’re here to have some deep insights regarding Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. It is a neurodegenerative disorder affecting predominately dopamine-producing neurons in the part of the brain called substantia nigra.
The more you understand the disease, the less you’ll believe in myths. You can still spend a good life & enjoy ‘quality’ time with PD. The first thing you should do is to keep in touch with your doctor & follow the recommended therapies for treating the symptoms successfully.
Most PD patients have prescribed dopaminergic medicines to balance the lowered dopamine levels in the brain that occurred because of the neuron impairment in the brain. We can say that motor & non-motor symptoms are still ongoing research.
Let’s have a look at every detail you would like to know about Parkinson’s.
How do you get Parkinson’s disease?
PD occurs when the nerve cells or neurons in the substantia nigra become impaired or dead. If you’re asking about the cause of Parkinson’s, we would rather say ‘unknown’. You should also know that having Parkinson’s isn’t fatal, but the complications of the disease may be very serious.
Do you know? Parkinson’s ranks as 14th the cause of death in the US.
5 Stages of Parkinson’s
Parkinson affects people with different intensity & order. However, we’ve figured out some common progression patterns & have categorized them into the following stages.
Stage One: In this initial stage of PD, most people don’t feel like they’re suffering from it because they don’t see any interference in daily activities. They may experience tremors and other movement symptoms occurring only on one side of the body. However, they may notice some minor changes in posture, walking, and facial expressions too.
Stage Two: Here, the symptoms start getting worse. Tremor, rigidity, and other movement symptoms are seen affecting both sides of the body. They may have walking problems & poor posture. Daily tasks get difficult & lengthy to accomplish.
Stage Three: The third stage of PD is considered as mid-stage were losing balance & slowness of movements are experienced more frequently. Also, falls become common visitors. No matter these symptoms show up, but the individual is still independent. But, minor impairments are witnessed in eating, dressing, etc.
Stage Four: Symptoms are falling severe & limiting after reaching this stage. Standing without help is still possible, but they’ll need help to walk or perform any movements. Day to day living gets difficult & it seems impossible to live alone.
Stage Five: Lastly, this stage appears to be the most advanced & deliberating one. Standing & walking both seem difficult due to the stiffness in the legs. It’s better if they take the help of a wheelchair or stay bedridden most of the time. It is essential to have someone to look after them round the clock. Hallucinations and delusions become common. And non-motor and motor symptoms appear more frequently.
What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s symptom doesn’t develop overnight but over the years. Also, the progression of symptoms varies from person to person with a few signs in common:
- The rigidity of Limbs or Stiffness
- Balancing Troubles
These are just to be mentioned as a few. Tremor, stiffness, and slowdown of movement are accompanied by sleeplessness, memory troubles, and mental health issues too. Let us take you through details on the early symptoms of Parkinson’s.
10 Early Parkinson’s Symptoms
Facing difficulty in sleeping at night? It may be Parkinson’s early sign. You may feel insomniac due to several reasons that disrupt your sleep. Restless leg syndrome, tremor, stiffness, and pain may be triggering this condition. Tiredness & drowsiness may also become a daily matter.
Smell sensibility loss
It may make you feel like you have lost the sense of smell sensibility. You no longer possess a strong smell sensibility & it seems like your smelling power is disappearing. For instance, you may find yourself struggling to smell your favorite food too. This may seem to be happening with you before any other symptoms.
Parkinson’s directly affects the brain & this makes movements smaller & less forceful. You may thus see changes in handwriting that keep getting smaller with time. It may get small gradually over time.
Indigestion & Bladder Problems
Bladder or bowel movement problems also become common in Parkinson’s. You cannot hold on to peeing & want to use the toilet immediately. Also, you may have to visit the washroom more frequently during the night. In a nutshell, you lose control over the urinary tract.
Depression knocks in when you’re consistently feeling extreme sadness or a sense of loneliness & emptiness kill you from within. Also, these feelings are not temporary. Sadness, unhappiness, and frustration become your long-term companions.
Many people suffering from Parkinson’s see depression earlier for months before being diagnosed with the disease. It is also a sign of ‘non-motor fluctuations’ that increase or drop based on the timings you consume medicine.
Just like depression, anxiety is a common visitor among Parkinson’s patients. Uneasiness like worries & fear keeps showing up in between. This happens more during the early stage of Parkinson’s. When this becomes a daily issue, it leads to anxiety in long run.
How to know if you’re having anxiety in Parkinson’s? You may have any of such symptoms as consistent worries, difficulty in focusing, pounding, sweating, increased heartbeat, breathlessness, trembling, dizziness, etc.
Fatigue never seems to leave you, no matter how hard you try to get rid of it by resting, sleeping, or doing activities that keep you relaxed. It sticks to the people suffering from Parkinson’s like a soul to the body.
It may let you feel good & energetic for a day & you’re again tired & restless the following day. In case if you’re working, you’re exhausted with work the whole day & you feel like doing nothing in the evening.
You may wonder what causes this level of fatigue. The answer is ‘chemical changes in the brain’. Besides this, it may be a result of tremors, muscular rigidity, or stressful feelings running all day long.
Physical fatigue & mental fatigue both affect you & it gets very difficult to focus on anything for a long time.
Tremor is nothing but an uncontrollable movement affecting a part of your body. When concerned with Parkinson’s, a tremor starts in the hand & later spreads to the rest of the arm & the leg on the same side of the body. After affecting one side of the body, it similarly affects the other side.
Let us tell you tremor is nearly impossible to cure, but it is still possible to calm the symptoms by consulting a Parkinson’s specialist.
The slowdown of Movements/Bradykinesia
One of the most common symptoms of Parkinson’s, Bradykinesia or slower movements simply means that people having this disease will likely perform movements at a slower pace. For instance, it is tough to coordinate doing routine activities like walking. You walk comparatively slower & uncoordinated than a normal person. Similarly, receiving change at the counter or working on your laptop may get time-consuming too.
Stiffing of muscles, cramps & rigidity seems like a daily deal when it comes to Parkinson’s. This hinders routine activities that are normal for other people like wearing a tie, writing, housekeeping, etc. Stretching & relaxing is halted due to muscular-rigidity. People can notice this happening to you when you find difficulty in turning over or making basic movements. It even gets hard for you to get in & out of your bed.
Apart from these symptoms, you may see yourself undergoing emotional changes, frequent constipation, have swallowing problems, chewing & eating problems, etc too. Moreover, sexual dysfunction may also affect some.
Can we cure Parkinson’s?
Currently, there is no specific cure available for Parkinson’s disease But it can be maintained by some Dopamine Supplements. However, some treatments are available for helping people to relieve the symptoms and maintain the quality of life. We’re sharing some medicine-free ways to help feel relief from Parkinson’s. Have a look.
6 Effective Alternatives to Medicines for feeling better with Parkinson’s
Enhancing the quality of life by preserving physical health & well-being is a great initiative & probably an effective alternative to medicines. It may take the least efforts to exercise regularly, eating healthy, staying hydrated, and getting ample sleep. Are we expecting too much from this life at the cost of our health?
You realize the value of little things in Parkinson’s. Some non-traditional therapies seem to gain footage & here are they you should consider seeing what’s working for you:
Antioxidant coenzymes like Q10, also referred to as Co-Q10 may improve Parkinson’s disease. No matter what you see on the internet as an ‘effective’ treatment, you should only consider consuming the ones that your doctor signals green according to your health conditions. Once you start taking supplements under their guidance, make sure you take them as prescribed. Stopping to use them based on self-assumptions may not give expected results.
Food or supplements rich in calcium & having high protein content may help in Parkinson’s.
Tai Chi is an exercise that promotes balance & coordination and this tends to provide relief among patients with Parkinson’s. A study conducted in 2012 revealed that resistance training, stretching & Tai Chi offers measurable improvements in balance & stability in people with moderate Parkinson’s effects.
When flexibility & balance is considered, how can we forget to mention yoga? Movement disorders are common in Parkinson’s & there are many alternative positions in Yoga for increasing mobility, balance, flexibility, and strength. Also, Yoga uplifts your mood & helps you get better sleep. This means that you get relief from anxiety & insomnia together.
Though not researched more, it is still believed that certain types of massages may help in relieving side effects of Parkinson’s disease, mainly Tremor. This relief may be temporary but is still a relief. Muscular rigidity can also be minimized with the help of a 60-minute massage session.
Balancing is greatly affected by Parkinson’s, leading to a gradual deterioration of motor skills. Some movement therapies are helping in the counterpart of these effects. Mobility is retained for people suffering from Parkinson’s with The Alexander Technique. Another therapy well-known for Parkinson’s is the Feldenkrais Method that aims for retraining your body for performing difficult movements.
Dancing & strength training also aid in alleviating these symptoms. So, if you’re planning to try any of such new exercises, consult your doctor & see his guidance regarding the same.
A staple of traditional Chinese medicines, acupuncture aims at stimulating points along the body’s meridians or energy pathways. It alleviates pain & so it is a recognized therapy, not just for Parkinson’s, but for many other bodily issues. Fatigue & sleeplessness can also be cured with Acupuncture.
What are the Risk factors of Parkinson’s?
Some major influencing risk factors of Parkinson’s are as follows:
- Age: Parkinson’s affects young adults less likely. It commonly shows up in the middle or late life and the risk rises with the age. People usually experience it in their 60s or older age.
- Heredity: If any of your close relatives are suffering from Parkinson’s, the possibility of it affecting you increases. The risk factor is still smaller until many of your relatives have Parkinson’s disease.
- Sex: You see fewer women suffering from Parkinson’s than men.
- Toxin Exposure: Your exposure to herbicides & pesticides elevates your risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Wrapping it up
As you’ve seen that the exact cause of Parkinson’s is unknown, it’s hard to find some obvious ways for preventing this disease. We’ve still shown some recognized ways to find relief in Parkinson’s disease. Whenever you feel any of Parkinson’s symptoms, make sure you reach out to your doctor as soon as possible to find an effective relief solution.