Related Diagnosis: Lewy Body Dementia
Current research is helping to differentiate dementia related conditions in relationship to Parkinsonâs disease. Doctorâs use a 12-month arbitrary rule to aid in diagnosis. When dementia is present before or within 1 year of Parkinsonâs motor symptoms developing, an individual is diagnosed with DLB. Those who have an existing diagnosis of Parkinsonâs for more than a year, and later develop dementia, are diagnosed with PDD.
In the simplest terms, Lewy bodies are abnormal clumps of proteins that develop in nerve cells. Cholinesterase inhibitors, medications originally developed for Alzheimerâs disease, are the standard treatment today for cognitive DLB and PDD symptoms. Early diagnosis is important, as DLB patients may respond differently than Alzheimerâs disease patients to certain drug, behavioral, and dementia care treatments.
This challenging, multi-system disorder involving movement, cognition, behavior, sleep, and autonomic function requires a comprehensive treatment approach to maximize the quality of life for both the care recipient and their caregiver. It is very important to pay attention to symptoms of dementia and to search for an expert clinician who can diagnose the condition accurately.
Do Try To Be Forgiving And Patient
Do not forget that dementia is the condition that results in irrational behavior and causes dementia sufferers to act the way they do. The patients demand plenty of patience and forgiveness from the people looking after them. Have the heart to let things go instead of carrying grudges around for something that the patient may not be in control of.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinson’s
The main motor symptoms of Parkinsons are:
- slowness of movement
- problems with balance.
However, the condition does not only affect movement. People living with the condition can experience a range of non-motor symptoms that can often have a greater impact on their lives than movement difficulties.
Non-motor symptoms include:
- urinary urgency, frequency
These non-motor symptoms are present at all stages of the condition but they can become more severe in the later stages of Parkinsons and have a major impact on quality of life.
Parkinsons gets worse over time and it can be difficult to predict how quickly the condition will progress. For most people, it can take years for the condition to progress to a point where it can cause major problems. For others, Parkinsons may progress more quickly.
Suggest They Join A Support Group
A Parkinsons support group will allow your loved one to share their thoughts and feelings with others who are experiencing the same thing. This may help reduce loneliness and isolation.
Your loved one may learn about treatment options and resources that have helped others in the group, and make new friends in the process. Support groups also usually welcome the families and friends of people with Parkinsons.
Behavioral And Mood Symptoms Of Lewy Body Dementia
Changes in behavior and mood are possible in LBD and may worsen as the persons thinking abilities decline. These changes may include:
- Apathy, or a lack of interest in normal daily activities or events and less social interaction
- Anxiety and related behaviors, such as asking the same questions over and over or being angry or fearful when a loved one is not present
- Agitation, or restlessness, and related behaviors, such as pacing, hand wringing, an inability to get settled, constant repeating of words or phrases, or irritability
- Delusions, or strongly held false beliefs or opinions not based on evidence. For example, a person may think his or her spouse is having an affair or that relatives long dead are still living.
- Paranoia, or an extreme, irrational distrust of others, such as suspicion that people are taking or hiding things
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Is The Dementia Caused By Parkinsons Or Something Else
Indications that dementia may be caused by something other than Parkinsons disease include agitation, delusions , and language difficulties. If the onset of cognitive symptoms is sudden, theyre more likely due to something other than Parkinsons diseaseeven reversible causes such as infection, a vitamin B12 deficiency, or an underactive thyroid gland.
Depression can mimic dementia by causing similar symptoms such as apathy, memory problems, and concentration difficulties. Since depression is very common in Parkinsons patients, its important to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression in older adults.
Parkinsons disease dementia vs. other dementias
Other types of dementia that can be commonly mistaken for Parkinsons disease dementia include:
Lewy Body Dementia is characterized by fluctuations in alertness and attention, recurrent visual hallucinations, and Parkinsonian motor symptoms like rigidity and the loss of spontaneous movement. In this disorder, cognitive problems such as hallucinations tend to occur much earlier in the course of the disease and often precede difficulties with walking and motor control.
Alzheimers disease and Parkinsons disease are both common in the elderly, especially in those over 85. Patients with Parkinsons who develop dementia may even develop Alzheimers dementia as well. Therefore, its important to be aware of the signs of Alzheimers Disease and how its treated.
How To Help Someone With Parkinsons Dementia
While there is no perfect memory loss remedy, there are several things that you can do to prevent it. First of all, exercising regularly can help keep your lungs in good shape. People who get regular exercise have better memories, and a regular exercise program can reduce stress. Additionally, exercising can help prevent memory loss by keeping your mind active. Here are some of the best ways to make your brain healthier and keep your mind sharp. Read on to learn more. How to Help Someone With Parkinsons Dementia
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Tip : Make It A Priority To Be Socially Engaged
The more socially active you are, the more you connect face-to-face with others, the stronger your memory and cognition is likely to be. You dont need to be a social butterfly or the life of the party, but you do need to regularly connect with people who care about you.
Connecting with others is the most effective means of relieving stress which left unchecked can exacerbate symptoms of Parkinsons disease. Staying socially engaged also stimulates immune function that may slow the progress of disease. While many of us become more isolated as we get older, its never too late to meet others and develop new friendships.
Tips for meeting new people
Hotlines and support
UK: Call the helpline at 0808 800 0303 or visit Parkinsons UK to find support
Australia: Call the info line at 1800 644 189 or visit Parkinsons Australia for links to state organizations that provide support and services.
Canada: Call 1 800 565-3000 for information or referrals or visit Parkinson Society of Canada for regional resources and support.
Lewy Body Dementia Vs Parkinsons Disease Dementia
Diagnoses of Lewy body dementia include dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinsons disease dementia. Symptoms in both of these diagnoses can be similar.
Lewy body dementia is a progressive dementia caused by abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. Lewy bodies are also seen in Parkinsons disease.
The overlap in symptoms between Lewy body dementia and Parkinsons disease dementia include movement symptoms, rigid muscles, and problems with thinking and reasoning.
This seems to indicate that they could be linked to the same abnormalities, though more research is needed to confirm that.
The later stages of Parkinsons disease have more severe symptoms that may require help moving around, around-the-clock care, or a wheelchair. Quality of life can decline rapidly.
Risks of infection, incontinence, pneumonia, falls, insomnia, and choking increase.
Hospice care, memory care, home health aides, social workers, and support counselors can be a help in later stages.
Parkinsons disease itself isnt fatal, but complications can be.
Research has shown a median survival rate of about
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Options For Parkinsons Disease Care
These burdens can ultimately lead a family caregiver to explore alternatives for Parkinsons disease care. Eventually, many decide to place their loved ones in long-term care facilities, such as assisted living or a nursing home.
Assisted living residents usually receive help with daily tasks, meal preparation, medication management, and escorts to doctors appointments. A nurse is onsite 24/7 and apartments are equipped with emergency call buttons so residents can summon help when necessary.
However, assisted living facilities generally arent equipped to care for people with severe mobility problems or advanced dementia. As a result, your loved one will likely be transferred to a skilled nursing facility once they reach the advanced stages of Parkinsons disease. Unfortunately, the expense of assisted living could quickly deplete their financial resources, limiting your choice of facilities to Medicaid nursing homes.
Nursing homes have their own issues. Even the best facilities tend to be understaffed, and few can provide the level of one-on-one care most people desire for their loved ones. Residents will be competing with each other for staff members limited attention, and those with advanced Parkinsons disease may not be able to communicate in a way that ensures their needs are met. These same issues may also make Parkinsons disease patients more vulnerable to physical or sexual abuse.
Coping With A Parkinsons Diagnosis
A diagnosis of Parkinsons can be a frightening experience for both you and your loved ones. While there is currently no cure, there are treatments available for Parkinsons symptoms and lifestyle changes you can make to slow the progression of the disease and delay the onset of more debilitating symptoms, including Parkinsons disease dementia. Early diagnosis can prolong independence and help you to live life fully for much longer.
If youve been diagnosed with Parkinsons you may feel anger, deep sadness, or fear about what the future will bring. These feelings are all normal. Its also normal to grieve as you deal with this enormous adjustment.
Give yourself some time to adjust. As with any major change in life, dont expect that you will smoothly snap into this new transition. You may feel alright for a while, and then suddenly feel stressed and overwhelmed again. Take time to adjust to this new transition.
Learn all you can about Parkinsons disease and Parkinsons disease dementia. Educating yourself and making important decisions early can help you feel more in control during this difficult time.
Reach out for support. Living with Parkinsons presents many challenges, but there is help available for this journey. The more you reach out to others and get support, the more youll be able to cope with symptoms while continuing to enrich and find meaning in your life.
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What Tests Will Be Done To Diagnose This Condition
When healthcare providers suspect Parkinsons disease or need to rule out other conditions, various imaging and diagnostic tests are possible. These include:
- Blood tests .
- Positron emission tomography scan.
New lab tests are possible
Researchers have found possible ways to test for possible indicators or Parkinsons disease. Both of these new tests involve the alpha-synuclein protein but test for it in new, unusual ways. While these tests cant tell you what conditions you have because of misfolded alpha-synuclein proteins, that information can still help your provider make a diagnosis.
The two tests use the following methods.
- Spinal tap. One of these tests looks for misfolded alpha-synuclein proteins in cerebrospinal fluid, which is the fluid that surrounds your brain and spinal cord. This test involves a spinal tap , where a healthcare provider inserts a needle into your spinal canal to collect some cerebrospinal fluid for testing.
- Skin biopsy. Another possible test involves a biopsy of surface nerve tissue. A biopsy includes collecting a small sample of your skin, including the nerves in the skin. The samples come from a spot on your back and two spots on your leg. Analyzing the samples can help determine if your alpha-synuclein has a certain kind of malfunction that could increase the risk of developing Parkinsons disease.
How Is Parkinsons Disease Dementia Diagnosed
No single test can diagnose Parkinsons disease dementia. Instead, doctors rely on a series or combination of tests and indicators.
Your neurologist will likely diagnose you with Parkinsons and then track your progression. They may monitor you for signs of dementia. As you get older, your risk for Parkinsons dementia increases.
Your doctor is more likely to conduct regular testing to monitor your cognitive functions, memory recall, and mental health.
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How You Can Tell The Difference Between Alzheimers And Other Forms Of Dementia
As mentioned above, Parkinsons dementia, Alzheimers and other forms of dementia tend to have key signifiers when setting in. But as Giordano explains, one key differentiator between the two lies in the span of memory loss.
The early signs of Parkinsons dementia include problems with both short and long-term memory, planning and mood, he notes. Unlike Alzheimers dementia, which is characterized by disruption of short-term memory, at least initially, Parkinsons dementia tends to involve both short- and long-term memory.
Spierings adds that patients with Parkinsons dementia more frequently experience impairments in executive functioning and speed of thinking and mood, whereas Alzheimers patients tend to have trouble with language and memory. Parkinsons dementia patients are also at a greater risk for hallucinations and paranoid thinking, he adds.
Although there is no cure for Parkinsons dementia, or a way to stop the diseases progression, there are FDA-approved treatments available to help curb some of the symptoms, says Dr. Giordano. He notes that these include cholinesterase-inhibitor drugs like donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine.
Social Security Disability Insurance
SSDI, often referred to as simply Disability, is assistance intended for those individuals who are of working age and cannot work as a direct result of their medical condition. The SSA does not provide care assistance but instead provides financial assistance that can be used for care. To be eligible one must both have a written diagnosis of Parkinsons Disease and have earned monthly income of less than approximately $1,000.
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Do Try And Identify The Trigger That Causes Behavior Change
After spending some time with a patient who has dementia, caregivers may be in a position to identify some of the things that make dementia sufferers yell, get physical, or change their mood. For some, it may be something simple such as taking a bath or even getting dressed.
The best approach to handle this is not to force the patient to do something that they do not want to do. Try and distract them with something else that allows them to relax and calm down. Once they are not a danger to themselves or anyone around them, try going back to the subject, but this time reassuringly and calmly.
How Is Parkinson Disease Treated
Parkinson disease can’t be cured. But there are different therapies that can help control symptoms. Many of the medicines used to treat Parkinson disease help to offset the loss of the chemical dopamine in the brain. Most of these medicines help manage symptoms quite successfully.
A procedure called deep brain stimulation may also be used to treat Parkinson disease. It sends electrical impulses into the brain to help control tremors and twitching movements. Some people may need surgery to manage Parkinson disease symptoms. Surgery may involve destroying small areas of brain tissue responsible for the symptoms. However, these surgeries are rarely done since deep brain stimulation is now available.
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Data Collection And Analysis
For consistency, all interviews were carried out and analysed by the same researcher , a research assistant and PhD student working on the study and known to the PD participants and carers. One-to-one interviews were carried out at the research unit so that both the PD participants and their carer might speak more freely about their experiences. Interviews were recorded on a digital device. Semistructured interviews were used to allow the researcher to cover the issues or topics relating to the aims of the study in-depth while enabling them to also explore novel subjects or themes as they arose. An interview schedule was developed by RAL, with guidance from KRB, based on a review of the literature .
What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinson Disease
Parkinson disease symptoms usually start out mild, and then progressively get much worse. The first signs are often so subtle that many people don’t seek medical attention at first. These are common symptoms of Parkinson disease:
- Tremors that affect the face and jaw, legs, arms, and hands
- Slow, stiff walking
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Caring For A Parkinsons Patient At Home
Youve learned more about PD, but how does that help you care for a Parkinsons patient at home?
All the research I did made me more prepared for what was going to happen to my dad, said Liz, 53, a caregiver from the Chicago area. But moving someone with Parkinsons into your house isnt something you can be all the way prepared for.
Liz cared for her dad for over six years, and a lot changed in that time. You learn how to deal with it, and what he needs from you, as well as what youre actually able to help with, she said.
How Can We Manage Hallucinations
It may not be necessary to treat all hallucinations of a person with PDD. Hallucinations are often harmless, and it is okay to allow them to happen, as long as they are not disruptive or upsetting to the person or surroundings. Sometimes, recognizing the hallucination and then switching the topic might be an efficient way of handling frustrations that occur because of a hallucination. If hallucinations need medical treatment, your provider may be able to discuss and suggest some options. However, many of the medications used to treat hallucinations may make movement symptoms worse.
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