What Is Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease was described by James Parkinson nearly 100 years before Dr. Alois Alzheimer described the dementia later named Alzheimers disease . Called the shaking palsy by Parkinson, PD is diagnosed when a person shows at least two of these three symptoms: slowed movements , muscle rigidity, and tremor . We recognize many other associated signs of PD, including expressionless face, quiet speech, cramped handwriting, shuffling gait, trouble getting out of a chair, and difficulty swallowing. Many of the symptoms of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease result when certain nerve cells that produce dopamine in the brain begin to malfunction and die.
Most cases are called idiopathic, meaning the cause remains unknown, although a small number of cases are linked with poisoning , head trauma, more complex PD-like neurological disorders , or reversible toxic medication effects ,
Don’t Smoke Lessen Alcohol Intake & Do Not Take Drugs
Even if you don’t drink a lot, alcohol has a cumulative effect on your brain. One blackout after a drinking binge can induce life long memory loss. Over time, smaller amounts of alcohol will lead to blackouts and soon you’ll have a ton of lost time even though you barely drank one bottle of beer.
Smoking negatively affects memory by reducing the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain while repeated drug use kills your neurons and the rushes of dopamine reinforce drug dependence.
How Can We Support The Sleep/wake Cycle Of Pdd
For people with PDD who are confused about the day-night cycle, some daily strategies can be helpful. At night, starting a lights out routine that happens at the same hour every day, where all curtains are closed and lights are turned off, can help the person understand that it is sleep time. During the day, opening the curtains, allowing the person with PDD to spend as much time in the daylight as possible, avoiding naps, and organizing stimulating activities, can be helpful. Having lots of calendars and clocks in every room might also help a person with PDD be less confused about the time of day.
How Is Parkinson Disease Diagnosed
Parkinson disease can be hard to diagnose. No single test can identify it. Parkinson can be easily mistaken for another health condition. A healthcare provider will usually take a medical history, including a family history to find out if anyone else in your family has Parkinson’s disease. He or she will also do a neurological exam. Sometimes, an MRI or CT scan, or some other imaging scan of the brain can identify other problems or rule out other diseases.
How Parkinsons And Alzheimers Affect The Body And Brain Differently
Alzheimers and Parkinsons are both neurological illnesses. Both diseases are caused by damaged brain cells. Both conditions can involve dementia, as well as depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. Both conditions can lead to psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations.
While Alzheimers and Parkinsons share certain causes and effects, the two diseases are different. They impact the brain and progress in different ways. Both disorders affect people differently, manifest themselves differently, and progress at different rates.
I had a father with Parkinsons and a mother with dementia. My experience was that the Parkinsons progressed at a slower rate and was more motor-related than mental.
My father experienced tremors, as well as changes in his walking and facial expressions. But his cognitive ability was relatively intact up to the very last stages of the disease. My mothers dementia made her feeble and uncertain on her feet, but she remained active and mobile, even as her cognitive ability declined.
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Wait So What Is Parkinsonism
Parkinsonism refers to the motor symptoms that are typically associated with PD, such as tremors, stiffness, and walking/balance problems. Both PD and LBD are forms of Parkinsonism, meaning that PD patients and LBD patients may experience these motor symptoms.2 Because the Parkinsonism motor symptoms of PD and LBD can be very similar, it can be difficult to differentiate between the two conditions.
The Differences Between Alzheimer’s And Parkinson’s
16 October, 2020
Do you know the differences between Alzheimers and Parkinsons? First of all, we must say that both diseases constitute two of the causes of dementia. Now, lets be a bit more specific. According to data from the WHO , dementia due to Alzheimers disease represents 60-70% of all cases of dementia in the world.
However, its important to keep in mind that theyre very different diseases. Additionally, we must make clear that having either condition doesnt always lead to the development of dementia . In this sense, we know that between 20-60% of people with Parkinsons disease end up developing dementia.
Buter et al. conducted a study that was published in the journal Neurology. It was conducted with 233 patients with Parkinsons disease. The researchers were able to observe that about 60% of them developed Parkinsons dementia in a period of 12 years.
So whats dementia? It refers to the set of symptoms that arise as a consequence of neurological damage or disease. These symptoms involve the loss or weakening of the mental faculties and mainly affect three different areas: cognitive , behavioral , and personality .
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The Need For More Public Awareness And Research Funding
While the differences between Alzheimers and dementia are clear to families dealing with the diseases, more public awareness is needed to differentiate between the two.
Further understanding of what exactly causes Alzheimers will help to clear any confusion and hopefully lead to better treatments plans and, ultimately, a cure.
Differences Between Pdd And Dlb
So, how are PDD and DLB different from each other? That depends on whom you ask. Some clinicians feel that these two conditions are simply different versions of the same disorder. In fact, some professionals use the terms interchangeably. Yet, according to currently agreed-upon diagnostic guidelines, there are some differences.
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Parkinsons Dementia Vs Alzheimers Dementia
According to experts, Parkinsons dementia can cause impaired physical activity and impacts motor skills. Two neurotransmitters called dopamine and serotonin tend to be damaged by Parkinsons.
In addition to causing issues with movement and coordination, this form of dementia can also cause a slower thought process and memory problems. This is usually less pronounced however, until the later stages of the disease.
With Alzheimers, two types of proteins in the brain, tangles and plaques , accumulate and kill brain cells. This Alzheimers-induced dementia affects memory, clear thinking, language skills, and orientation. It reduces comprehension, learning capacity, and judgement. Storing new information and memory retrieval are impacted more than motor skills.
Distinguishing between these neurodegenerative conditions is important to determine the best treatment approach. Medications for one of condition might create problems when given to a patient with the other condition.
Tips For Caring For Someone With Brain Disorder
- Join a community of caregivers to help cope with caregiver burnoutcaregivers
- Personal care: bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, grooming
- Household care: cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, finances
- Health care: medication management, physician’s appointments, physical therapy
- Emotional care: companionship, meaningful activities, conversation
- Supervision: oversight for safety at home and to prevent wandering
- Make sure the person always carries ID
- Dress your loved one in bright clothing
- Use radio tracking devices
- Address the condition that causes delirium through blood tests, X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, etc
- Minimize drugs that cause delirium
- Medicines to treat challenging behaviour
- Cognitive stimulation therapy
- Reminiscence and life story work
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A Comparison Of Parkinsons To Alzheimers
So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when theyre busy doing things they think are important. This is because theyre chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning. Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie
The story starts at Whole Foods: A few days ago in the checkout line at Whole Foods, when it felt like every single person in the town of Chapel Hill decided to get groceries, I had a delightful chat with the person in front of me about Alzheimers and Parkinsons. I ended our talk with the comment that Parkinsons and Alzheimers are very different disorders but they do have some similarities. Here is a brief comparison of Parkinsons to Alzheimers, the top two occurring neurodegenerative diseases.
Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality. Jonas Salk
NINDS Parkinsons Disease:
About Alzheimers Disease:
What Are Pd Dementia Safety Concerns
Safety issues should be considered and monitored from the time of diagnosis. As PDD progresses, ensure that your loved one is not left alone.
- Evaluate driving privileges before safety is a concern. Your doctor can make a driving evaluation referral.
- Work out legal and financial issues and safeguard finances. People with dementia are at greater risk of falling victim to scams and fraud.
- Minimize prescription risks. Confirm with the doctor the medication names and doses of the person with PD. If the person is in dementias early stages and capable, fill up their weekly pill box together and monitor use.
- Medical alert systems can be critical in case your loved one falls or wanders outside of the home. Many types of systems are available, from bracelets and pendants to smart watches with fall detection and one-button connections to 911.
- Evaluate gun safety. If your loved one owns a firearm or has one in the home, consider speaking with their doctor about the subject and taking appropriate safety precautions.
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Comparing Trajectories And Conceptualization Of Palliative Care For Dementia And Pd
The two disease trajectories may overlap partly as dementia is a frequent manifestation of PD. Mild cognitive impairment may already present upon diagnosis of PD . Importantly, it is independently associated with lower quality of life . Across studies, typically about a quarter of patients with PD have dementia , but ultimately, most develop dementia .
A clear conceptualization of palliative care in chronic-progressive diseases is important for the development of healthcare systems that facilitate the integration of a palliative approach . Therefore, in this article we compare the disease trajectories of dementia and PD in as far as relevant for the conceptualizations of palliative care. We do not include atypical Parkinsonian disorders such as multiple system atrophy because these warrant a special approach with earlier palliative care . We first provide background on where we are by describing how palliative care for dementia and PD developed.
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.
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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.
What Causes Parkinson Disease
Parkinson disease arises from decreased dopamine production in the brain. The absence of dopamine makes it hard for the brain to coordinate muscle movements. Low dopamine also contributes to mood and cognitive problems later in the course of the disease. Experts don’t know what triggers the development of Parkinson disease most of the time. Early onset Parkinson disease is often inherited and is the result of certain gene defects.
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Key Brain Changes Are Different
The key brain changes linked to Parkinsons disease and Parkinsons-related dementia are abnormal deposits of common brain proteins, called alpha-synuclein. These deposits are known as Lewy bodies, named after the doctor who discovered them. As more of these proteins clump in the brain, normal brain cells begin to die off.1
In Alzheimers disease, the key brain changes include the buildup of different brain proteins, called amyloid and tau. When amyloid proteins clump together, they form abnormal structures known as plaques. Abnormal groups of tau proteins form tangles.3 Over time, the buildup of these proteins causes normal brain cells to die, and affected parts of the brain may shrink.5
What Is The Best Way To Communicate With A Person With Pdd
- It is not usually helpful to try to reason or argue with someone experiencing a hallucination or delusion. Stay calm and be patient. If the person is frightened by the hallucination or delusion, try to redirect their attention to something else.
- You may find acknowledging what the person is seeing, even if you do not see it, can reduce stress.
- Speak slowly and at eye level. Communicate in simple sentences.
- Ask one question at a time and wait for an answer.
- Limit distractions. Turn off the TV or radio before asking a person with PDD to do something.
- Consider causes behind disruptive behavior: the person may be hungry, thirsty, tired, in pain, frustrated, lonely or bored.
- If the person is stuck on an idea, try agreeing with them, then changing the subject.
- Its OK to use humor to diffuse stressful situations but avoid negative humor or sarcasm these can be misunderstood.
Page reviewed by Dr. Jori Fleisher, MSCE, Assistant Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences at Rush University Medical Center, a Parkinsons Foundation Center of Excellence.
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What Is Needed For A Parkinson’s Disease Dementia Diagnosis
There is no definitive medical test that confirms cognitive decline or dementia in Parkinson’s disease. The most accurate way to measure cognitive decline is through neuropsychological testing.
- The testing involves answering questions and performing tasks that have been carefully designed for this purpose. It is carried out by a specialist in this kind of testing.
- Neuropsychological testing addresses the individual’s appearance, mood, anxiety level, and experience of delusions or hallucinations.
- It assesses cognitive abilities such as memory, attention, orientation to time and place, use of language, and abilities to carry out various tasks and follow instructions.
- Reasoning, abstract thinking, and problem solving are tested.
- Neuropsychological testing gives a more accurate diagnosis of the problems and thus can help in treatment planning.
- The tests are repeated periodically to see how well treatment is working and check for new problems.
Imaging studies: Generally, brain scans such as CT scan and MRI are of little use in diagnosing dementia in people with Parkinson’s disease. Positron emission tomographic scan may help distinguish dementia from depression and similar conditions in Parkinson’s disease.
How Is Parkinsons Dementia Different From Alzheimers Disease
The advanced cognitive changes that impact daily living in Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease are both types of dementia.
Parkinsons disease dementia can occur as Parkinsons advances, after several years of motor symptoms. Dementia with Lewy Bodies is diagnosed when cognitive decline happens first, or when Parkinsons motor symptoms and cognitive decline occur and progress closely together. Cognitive impairments in PDD, combined with the movement symptoms of the disease, produce a greater impact on social and occupational functioning than Alzheimers.
Alzheimers, a fatal brain disease, causes declines in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. Physicians can diagnose Alzheimers. Visit the Alzheimers Association to learn the 10 signs Alzheimers disease.
Fortunately for people with PD, Parkinsons disease dementia is less disabling than Alzheimers disease. People with Alzheimers have language difficulties earlier than people with Parkinsons, and no new memories are formed. People with PD also have more ability to compensate and adjust based on cues.
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Whats The Difference Between Lewy Body Dementia Parkinsons Disease And Alzheimers Disease
Lewy body dementia is an umbrella term for two related clinical diagnoses: dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinsons disease dementia. These disorders share the same underlying changes in the brain and very similar symptoms, but the symptoms appear in a different order depending on where the Lewy bodies first form.
Dementia with Lewy bodies is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory and thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with everyday activities. It specifically affects a persons ability to plan and solve problems, called executive function, and their ability to understand visual information. Dementia always appears first in DLB. The motor symptoms of Parkinsons such as tremor, slowness, stiffness and walking/balance/gait problems usually become more evident as the disease progresses. Visual hallucinations, REM sleep behavior disorder, fluctuating levels of alertness and attention, mood changes and autonomic dysfunction are also characteristic of DLB.
Finally, Alzheimers is characterized by different abnormal clumps called amyloid plaques, and jumbled fiber bundles called tau tangles. These microscopic structural changes in the brain were discovered by Dr. Alois Alzheimer in 1906. These plaques and tangles, together with loss of connections between nerve cells, contribute to loss of coherence and memory, as well as a progressive impairment in conducting normal activities of daily living.