What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition. This means that it affects the brain and the nervous system, gradually causing degeneration over time. In most cases, Parkinson’s appears between the ages of 50 and 60, and it affects more men than women.

If you want to know more about Parkinson’s, then read on for information on the causes, symptoms, and treatments of this illness.

What causes Parkinson’s disease?

Like most neurodegenerative disorders, the cause of Parkinson’s is complex and not completely understood. It has been found to affect a region of the brain that is responsible for producing dopamine, so lower levels of dopamine are a factor that has been linked to the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Proteins known as Lewy Bodies have also been linked to this disease, as well as other types of dementia, although their role in the disease is not yet understood. It is likely that genetics play a role in the development of Parkinson’s disease, although other risk factors have been suggested, including exposure to certain viruses and chemicals.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

Like other neurodegenerative disorders, the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease progress over the course of the illness. The symptoms most commonly associated with the disease are problems with motor control, including shaking and tremors, low mobility, slow movements, and stiff muscles. Other physical symptoms may include problems with balance, speech changes, and a reduction in behaviors like blinking and swallowing.

However, these are often accompanied by psychological and sometimes cognitive symptoms, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Memory and attention difficulties

Symptoms are usually mild and difficult to notice at the onset of the disease, which then progress through various stages of Parkinson’s disease.

Treating Parkinson’s disease

Certain medications will be prescribed to help treat Parkinson’s and manage its symptoms, including medication that helps to increase dopamine levels. In addition, physical therapy and speech therapy can help to maintain mobility and speech function as much as possible. Regular exercise and a balanced diet are also recommended to help maintain mobility. In some cases, surgery may also be advised.

As with Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, treatment cannot cure Parkinson’s disease, but it can help to increase life expectancy and improve quality of life throughout the course of the disease.

If you’re caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease and need support, then contact Brookstone of Clemmons for our care services around Winston Salem, Bermuda Run, Clemmons, and Lewisville. Assisted living can be a great solution for someone with Parkinson’s, placing them in a community where the level of care can be adapted to their needs as their condition progresses.

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