Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
Parkinson’s Awareness Month: #KeyToPD
Bradley Kuipers, PT – Porter Hills Home Care
Watch the 13 On Your Side Senior Wellness Segment on this topic.
Parkinson’s Disease is newly diagnosed in over 50,000 Americans every year. It can be a startling diagnosis to receive. There is a lot to know about the disease and many different treatment options.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s Disease is the 2nd most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s Disease. It is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. Certain nerve cells (neurons) in the brain breakdown or die. Some of these neurons produce a chemical messenger called Dopamine. The loss of dopamine in the brain is what causes the issues with movement.
Who does Parkinson’s Disease affect?
Parkinson’s effects seven million people globally; one million in the U.S alone. It usually effects men around mid-life, age 60.
What are some causes of Parkinson’s Disease?
- Genetics (a hereditary link)
- Environmental: exposure to pesticides, toxins
- Head injuries
- Idiopathic; no known cause
What are some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?
- Slowed movements or “freezing” of movement/difficulty initiating movement
- Rigid muscles
- Loss of automatic movement (bradykinesia)
- Flat affect, loss of facial “personality”
- Speech changes
- Writing changes
- 50 – 80% develop dementia
Five Stages of Parkinson’s
- Tremor on one side
- Tremor on both sides (pill rolling)
- Motor symptoms become worse; loss of balance, falls
- Movement is greatly impaired, but able to still stand with assistance
- Most advanced stage, with dementia, often confined to a wheelchair
Treatment for Parkinson’s
- Parkinson’s Disease can’t be cured
- Medications that increase Dopamine can help control symptoms
- Lifestyle changes- ongoing aerobic classes, Tai Chi, yoga. Keep moving!
- Balance classes
- Speech Therapy: BIG/LOUD: LSVT therapy program
- Pedaling for Parkinson’s Disease
- Rock Steady: Rigorous exercises to improve balance, core strength and rhythm will impact range of motion, flexibility, posture and gait
- Alternative Medicine, massage
- Exercise with someone in a class if possible.
- Later cases – Surgery, electrical stimulation
See your doctor early. Early diagnosis and treatment can provide years that are virtually symptom free.
If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, ask your doctor about the benefits of in-home Rehabilitation therapies. Porter Hills Home Care rehabilitation services allow for continued medical treatment in a comfortable, familiar environment. Our therapists work with physicians to develop a plan that will meet the needs of our patients so they can maximize independence when managing a chronic illness.
To learn more about Parkinson’s Disease, visit Parkinson’s Foundation.