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Here’s What We Know About Parkinson’s Disease

Home Care in Seal Beach, CA

There have been many famous figures including the Michael J. Fox, Billy Connolly and the great Muhammad Ali who have struggled with the neurodegenerative disorder called Parkinson’s disease. The disease was first discovered by a British doctor named James Parkinson back in 1817. It has remained a challenging problem in medicine ever since. Men are relatively more susceptible to Parkinson’s disease than women. In fact, they are twice more likely to develop the disease than women.

There is much work being done in medical research to uncover the objective causes of Parkinson’s disease. But there has been no conclusive cause determined yet. Studies infer that smoking, heavy metal intoxication, pollution and using illegal drugs are the significant risk factors for the disease.

There is no cure for it yet

Since the definitive causes of the disease are yet to be identified, their treatments have not been developed. Currently, patients of Parkinson’s disease are given medication to ease their symptoms to slightly improve their quality of life. Aside from pharmaceuticals, deep brain stimulation is also used by many patients, a technique in which electrical current is used to block tremors and movement difficulties.

Even though we have probably heard of this debilitating disorder through mainstream media, most don’t understand Parkinson’s disease for what it is and what causes it. Parkinson’s is an expensive disease to have. The average patient has to spend about $2,500 on medication alone while the cost of therapeutic surgery could exceed $100,000.

How it occurs

Parkinson’s disease is marked by tremors, rigidity and slow responses due to its neurodegenerative nature. It causes the nerve cells in an area of the brain called “substantia nigra” to degenerate and die off. Substantia nigra is responsible for carrying out normal muscle movement and coordination through the action of an important neurotransmitter called “dopamine”.

When these dopamine producing nerve cells start dying, the amount of dopamine in the substantia nigra decreases. Thereby, disrupting the normal muscle coordination and movement causing tremors alongside other aforementioned symptoms. Additionally, Parkinson’s is a progressive disease which means the symptoms only get worse with time. The effects of Parkinson’s disease extend far beyond the physical manifestation. Parkinson’s disease is also strongly linked with the onset of depression.

Symptoms and their variability

The list of symptoms of Parkinson’s disease to look out for is a long one and includes memory problems, depression, dementia, hallucinations, anxiety, communication problems, swallowing problems, sleep problems, delusion, skin problems, excessive sweating, pain, restless legs syndrome, fatigue, freezing, eye problems, bowel problems, bladder problems and dizziness. However, when it comes to the set of symptoms different patients experience, Parkinson’s disease is a very individual condition.

The number of symptoms that patients experience and their particular order seem to vary from person to person. This is one of the main reasons that this condition is rather difficult to detect early. In many cases, non-motor symptoms including constipation, sleep disturbance and the loss of smell actually appear before the motor symptoms like tremors, slowness of movement and rigidity.

There are several organizations that can provide helpful  information and resources for those impacted by Parkinson’s Disease.   Two of these include The Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Parkinson’s Foundation.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring a professional caregiver in Seal Beach, CA or the surrounding Orange County areas, please call us at 949-535-2211. We provide senior care services in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Woods, Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo and surrounding areas of Orange County California. Contact us today to learn more.

 

 

 

Dan Segal

Dan and Yvonne Segal are the owners and operators of Optimal Senior Care Solutions. Dan is a 25 year veteran of the Healthcare Industry and Yvonne is an instructional aide at Meadow Park Elementary School in Irvine.

Both Dan and Yvonne had personal experiences with the needs and challenges of caring for aging parents. They saw the need for a high quality professionally run yet personalized service to deliver the type of experience that they had a hard time finding.