The National Institutes of Health (NIH) report that approximately 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year. With about a half a million people living with this condition in the United States, it is not unlikely that you may know of a family member or other loved one experiencing the disease, or who will so in the future. Understanding Parkinson’s disease, including its risk factors, early signs and treatment options, can be helpful in order to know how to best help someone in your life.
Parkinson’s is a progressive brain disease; symptoms begin gradually and become progressively worse over time. Men are at greater risk for the disease than women, and the exact cause of the disease is not fully understood. What we do know is that Parkinson’s occurs when nerve cells in the area of the brain that controls movement become impaired and/or die. When the nerve cells are altered, they produce less dopamine, which causes the movement problems common in Parkinson’s.
Although Parkinson’s disease can seem to run in some families, its occurrence most often occurs more randomly. Many researchers now believe that Parkinson’s results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors, such as exposure to pesticides, solvents, metals and other pollutants.
To help reduce risk, the following habits may be helpful:
As many of the early signs of the disease are often attributed to the natural aging process, many families miss the risk factors. But learning the early signs of Parkinson’s disease and reporting them to your doctor is important, as early intervention is linked to the effectiveness of treatment.
The early signs of Parkinson’s include:
Other common symptoms can include:
There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but medications are available to reduce symptoms and are most effective if taken early in the disease’s progression. Gene and stem cell therapy is offering promising new advancements in the research field that will hopefully lead to a cure or restoration of function for patients already experiencing loss of function.
Contact Visiting Care Giving Services at (626) 493-9058 to learn more about how our St. Charles caregivers can assist individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease by promoting safety and independence. As trained St. Charles caregivers, let us help someone you love live life to the fullest. Serving St. Charles and the surrounding areas.