Parkinson’s Disease: A Guide For You and Your Family

by | Aug 23, 2022

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder that is progressive, and primarily affects the central nervous system, as well as the other parts of the body that are controlled by the nerves. Symptoms typically begin slowly, but the first symptom you experience may be a barely noticeable tremor that begins in one hand. Tremors are common, but Parkinson’s disorder may also additionally cause slowing of movement and stiffness.

Symptoms

Tremor – A tremor typically begins in a limb, often your fingers or hand. A pill-rolling tremor involves rubbing your forefinger and thumb back and forth repeatedly.

Slowing of movement (bradykinesia) – Over the course of time, Parkinson’s may massively slow down your movement, making simple tasks time-consuming and difficult.

Rigid muscle – Muscle stiffness might occur in any part of the body. Stiff muscles in particular can limit your range of motion and become painful.

Impaired balance and posture – Your posture might become noticeably stooped.

Loss of automatic movement – You might have a decreased ability to properly perform unconscious movements, such as smiling, blinking, or swinging arms while walking.

Changes to speech – You might speak quickly, softly, hesitate or slur before talking.

Changes in writing – It might become harder to write, and writing may appear very small.

Causes

With Parkinson’s disease, certain neurons in the brain can be gradually broken down and even die. Many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s are because of this loss of certain neurons that produce chemical messengers in the brain such as dopamine. When dopamine levels consequently decrease, it can cause atypical activity in the brain, leading to much more impaired movement and other symptoms.

Genes – Researchers have been able to identify specific genetic changes that can cause Parkinson’s. These are typically uncommon, except in rare cases where many family members become affected by the disease.

Certain variations of genes appear to drastically increase the risk of Parkinson’s but with accompanied by a relatively smaller risk of developing disease for each of these particular genetic markers.

Environmental triggers – Exposure to different toxins or other environmental factors might increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease later, but the risk is luckily small.

Risk factors

Age – The disease typically begins in middle age or later life, and the risk will increase with age. People typically develop the disease around 60 or over. If a young person develops the disease, genetic counselling is typically helpful in conducting planning for family decisions.

Heredity – Having a close relative that has developed the disease increases the chances that you will develop Parkinson’s later in life. However, any risk of developing Parkinson’s is still small unless you also have a lot of relatives in your family that have the disease. Medication, social situations, and work side effects are additionally different from those of an elderly person who has Parkinson’s and requires special considerations.

Sex – Men are more likely to develop it when compared to women.

Toxins exposure – Any ongoing exposure to pesticides and herbicides might slightly increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s.

Sydenham House is a residential care home in a delightful setting in the village of Blakeney, offering accommodation for up to 19 people. We help our residents to lead active lives in friendly, comfortable surroundings, involving them in the local community whenever we can. If you’d like to know more about how we can help the elderly continue to live fulfilled and comfortable lives, then take a look at our website www.sydenham-house.co.uk. Or, if you we can be of further assistance to you, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01594 517 015 – we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about caring for your loved one.