Parkinson's Disease

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    The risk for Parkinson's disease increases with age, but no one is completely immune. Although rare, children and young adults can have Parkinson's. Keep in mind, though, that it's quite rare for someone to develop the condition before the age of 50.

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    A , Neurology, answered
    If you have Parkinson's disease and tend to fall asleep during a particular activity, tell your doctor. You might be experiencing sleep attacks, which are different from normal sleepiness. Also, keep track of any hallucinations or delusions you might be experiencing. Medications can sometimes cause nocturnal wanderings, hallucinations, delusions, or other problems. Adjusting your dosage of a particular medication or adding a new prescription might help with those symptoms. If your sleep is still disturbed even after following your doctor’s recommendations about the timing of your medication doses, consider getting an examination by a sleep specialist trained in managing patients with neurologic disorders.
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    Parkinson's disease progresses differently in each person it affects. Some people become disabled relatively swiftly; others have only minor problems that worsen gradually.

    Typically, the disease progresses until the person starts to notice distinct changes in the ability to speak, to walk or to perform other activities of daily living.

    In later stages, people with Parkinson's disease can develop muffled speech, a shuffling walk, small and illegible handwriting, depression, difficulty chewing, difficulty swallowing, a blank stare and constipation.

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    Parkinson’s disease can affect vision in many ways. A slower blink can cause symptoms of a dry eye and loss of vision due to a poor quality tear film. Initial treatment is usually lubricating drops. However, there are many other causes of visual loss, visual fatigue and reading difficulty in Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease can affect the extraocular motility making eye tracking, required for reading, much more difficult.  Optic neuropathy or a deterioration of the optic nerve has also been seen in Parkinson’s disease. 
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    Depression and emotional disturbances: As many as half of the individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD) develop depression. In some cases, depression may occur months or even years before PD is diagnosed. Although physical limitations resulting from PD can be frustrating and stressful, depression in someone with PD isn't usually a reaction to physical disability. Instead, it more likely arises from underlying brain changes associated with the disease itself.

    Dementia: In addition, some people with PD eventually develop dementia, a condition that can include memory loss, impaired judgment, and personality changes.

    Other complications: Other complications of PD may include difficulty chewing and swallowing. In the later stages of the condition, the muscles used to swallow may be affected, making eating more difficult.

    PD may also cause either urinary incontinence (difficulty controlling the urine flow) or urine retention (difficulty to urinate). Certain medications used to treat the disease, especially anticholinergic drugs (such as tolterodine or Detrol®), may also cause difficulty in urinating.

    Many individuals with PD develop constipation because the digestive tract works more slowly. Constipation may also be a side effect of medications used to treat the disease. Studies have found that chronic (long-term) constipation may be a risk factor associated with the development of PD, but further research needs to be performed in this area.

    Individuals with Parkinson's disease often have trouble falling asleep and may wake up frequently throughout the night.

    Some individuals with PD may notice a decrease in libido or sexual desire. This may be caused by a combination of psychological and physical factors, or it may be the result of physical factors alone. Medications may also cause a decrease in libido, including antidepressant medications such as fluoxetine (Prozac©) or amitriptyline (Elavil®).

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.



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    A , Neurology, answered
    Parkinson's disease is a movement disorder resulting from a deficiency of dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in coordinating muscle activity as well as memory function. Its hallmarks include tremors, rigid limbs, and difficulty starting or stopping movement. Mild cognitive problems are common early in the disease, and dementia occurs in 30% to 80% of Parkinson's patients in the late stages.
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    A , Neurology, answered
    If you are concerned about your loved one driving safely, and it is difficult for you to take the car keys away or deny the person the right to drive, talk with your loved one’s doctor. Often, a trusted doctor can convince their patient to quit driving when a loved one cannot.

    Some doctors may be reluctant to restrict driving privileges. In that case, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may be your ally. If the person with Parkinson's disease applies for a handicapped parking permit or for disabled plates, she will be required to take a driver’s test; the DMV may then revoke the person’s driving privileges.

    A No-Start Battery Switch provides peace of mind. Convincing a loved one that he is unsafe to drive is often a challenging task. By attaching this device to the car battery, you can, with the turn of a knob, disable the car and make it impossible to start. When you want to start the car, simply turn the knob in the opposite direction to enable the battery again. Designed to affect starting only, it will not affect the clock, the radio, or the car’s computer settings.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Is there any connection between Parkinson's disease and exposure to pesticides?
    There is a connection between Parkinson's disease and exposure to pesticides. Watch this video with Robin Miller, MD, as she explains the harmful correlation.
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    A Diagnostic Radiology, answered on behalf of
    Vascular parkinsonism is a condition due to multiple small strokes that produces the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. The condition can look very much like Parkinson's disease except that tremor rarely is due to vascular parkinsonism.
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    A , Neurology, answered
    If a person with Parkinson’s disease begins hallucinating, try to explain that the medicine isn’t working and is causing the hallucination. Keep notes on what time of day the hallucinations occur; also record what was taken and when the medications were last taken. This will help the doctor if the medications need to be adjusted. Adjusting the medications may not make the hallucinations disappear, but they may be less disturbing. (For example, if the person sees large green giants, medication adjustment may cause the person to see little green ants.)