Living With Parkinson Disease
These measures can help you live well with Parkinson disease:
- An exercise routine can help keep muscles flexible and mobile. Exercise also releases natural brain chemicals that can improve emotional well-being.
- High protein meals can benefit your brain chemistry
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapy can help your ability to care for yourself and communicate with others
- If you or your family has questions about Parkinson disease, want information about treatment, or need to find support, you can contact the American Parkinson Disease Association.
What To Do If You Suspect Alzheimers Disease
Getting checked by your healthcare provider can help determine if the symptoms you are experiencing are related to Alzheimers disease, or a more treatable conditions such as a vitamin deficiency or a side effect from medication. Early and accurate diagnosis also provides opportunities for you and your family to consider financial planning, develop advance directives, enroll in clinical trials, and anticipate care needs.
How Can You Help Your Loved One With Alzheimer’s Disease
If you are or will be taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s, start learning what you can expect. This can help you make the most of the person’s abilities as they change. And it can help you deal with new problems as they arise.
Your loved one will need more and more care as the disease gets worse. You may be able to give this care at home. Or you may want to think about using assisted living or a nursing home.
Ask your doctor about local resources such as support groups or other groups that can help as you care for your loved one. You can also search the Internet for online support groups. Help is available.
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What Is Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting up to 70% of all people with dementia. It was first recorded in 1907 by Dr Alois Alzheimer. Dr Alzheimer reported the case of Auguste Deter, a middle-aged woman with dementia and specific changes in her brain. For the next 60 years Alzheimers disease was considered a rare condition that affected people under the age of 65. It was not until the 1970s that Dr Robert Katzman declared that “senile dementia” and Alzheimers disease were the same condition and that neither were a normal part of aging.
Alzheimers disease can be either;sporadic;or;familial.
Sporadic;Alzheimer’s disease can affect adults at any age, but usually occurs after age 65 and is the most common form of Alzheimer’s disease.
Familial;Alzheimers disease is a very rare genetic condition, caused by a mutation in one of several genes. The presence of mutated genes means that the person will eventually develop Alzheimer’s disease, usually in their 40’s or 50’s.
The Healthy Human Brain
Behind the ears and temples are the temporal lobes of the brain. These regions process speech and working memory, and also higher emotions such as empathy, morality and regret. Beneath the forebrain are the more primitive brain regions such as the limbic system. The limbic system is a structure that is common to all mammals and processes our desires and many emotions. Also in the limbic system is the hippocampus a region that is vital for forming new memories.
Impact Of Pd Treatments
The clinical choice of initial PD medication inhibitor) at disease onset does not seem to make a difference in terms of cumulative dementia rates,. However, there is strong evidence that medications with anticholinergic properties , and particularly the long-term exposure to multiple medications or medications with greater anticholinergic properties, are associated with worse long-term cognition in the general population and patients with PD,, and thus represent a target for clinical management. In patients with PDD, simplification of antiparkinsonian treatment through a stepwise withdrawal of non-levodopa PD medications starting with anticholinergic drugs, followed by amantadine, selegiline, dopamine agonists and then catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitors, might be useful, particularly if comorbid psychosis is present.
In addition, several studies have found that DBS can worsen cognitive functioning; as a result, cognitive testing is recommended as part of the pre-DBS surgery evaluation process, and patients with severe cognitive impairment should not undergo brain surgery. However, the use of model-based stimulation parameters to minimize the spread of the electrical current to non-motor portions of the subthalamic nucleus reversed the cognitive decline that occurred after DBS in one study. Encouragingly, a subsequent study of DBS in younger patients with shorter disease duration showed short-term cognitive tolerability similar to the best medical therapy.
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Walking And Physical Movement
Vascular dementia: Vascular dementia is often accompanied by some physical challenge. If a person has a stroke, they may have limited movement on one side of her body. Both the cognitive and physical impairments related to vascular dementia usually develop at the same time since they are often the result of a sudden condition like a stroke.
Alzheimers: Often, mental abilities like memory or judgment decline initially, and then as Alzheimer’s progresses into the middle stages, physical abilities like balance or walking show some deterioration.;
Social Activity And Companionship
Being social can also help keep the brain in good health. Many dementia care services offer support through elderly companions who encourage healthy social interactions. Companions are matched with clients based on shared interests. This helps to ensure both individuals take part in purposeful activities that they enjoy.
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Rem Sleep Behavior Disorder
LBD: People with LBD sometimes experience REM sleep behavior disorder, a dysfunction where they physically act out the situations in their dreams.;Some research suggests that REM sleep behavior disorder can be one of the earlier predictors of LBD.
Why Anticholinergics Cause Dementia Symptoms
Anticholinergics block acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter thats used for learning, memory, and muscle functions.;
You can think of neurotransmitters as messengers that carry instructions within the brain and from the brain to the rest of the body.;
Older adults already have fewer of these messengers because our bodies produce less of this neurotransmitter as we age.;
On top of that, blocking it with drugs makes it even harder for instructions to get delivered.;
If instructions arent getting delivered, the brain and body wont be able to work normally. This causes dementia symptoms to worsen or even to start showing up in seniors without dementia.
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Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s Disease
In the early stages the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can be very subtle. However, it often begins with lapses in memory and difficulty in finding the right words for everyday objects.
Other symptoms may include:
- Persistent and frequent memory difficulties, especially of recent events
- Vagueness in everyday conversation
- Apparent loss of enthusiasm for previously enjoyed activities
- Taking longer to do routine tasks
- Forgetting well-known people or places
- Inability to process questions and instructions
- Deterioration of social skills
- Emotional unpredictability
Symptoms vary and the disease progresses at a different pace according to the individual and the areas of the brain affected. A person’s abilities may fluctuate from day to day, or even within the one day, becoming worse in times of stress, fatigue or ill-health.
Preclinical Alzheimers Or No Impairment
You may only know about your risk for Alzheimers disease due to family history. Or your doctor may identify biomarkers that indicate your risk.
Your doctor will interview you about memory problems, if youre at risk for Alzheimers. But there will be no noticeable symptoms during the first stage, which can last for years or decades.
Caregiver support: Someone in this stage is fully independent. They may not even know they have the disease.
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What Increases Your Risk
Certain things make getting a disease more likely. These are called risk factors. Risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease include:
- Getting older. This is the main risk factor. People rarely have dementia before age 60.
- A family history of Alzheimer’s disease, especially if one or more of your parents or siblings has the disease.
- The presence of the apolipoprotein E-4 gene.
- Having Down syndrome.
- Injuries to the brain, especially more than one injury that caused you to pass out
Alzheimers Vs Dementia What Is Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers is a disease that typically strikes patients over the age of 65. Only 5 percent of the worlds population with Alzheimers is under the age of 65 and those people are in their 40s and 50s. This is a progressive disease; it starts off slowly, perhaps even going unnoticed for months or years. Forgetfulness is a common symptom of Alzheimers; a patient may begin forgetting small things such as the name of his street or the names of people he has known for years. Eventually, the disease worsens and memory loss becomes more prevalent. In late stage Alzheimers, patients become unable to carry on a conversation or remember anything from their lives. They will not recognize themselves in the mirror or even their own children. Life expectancy for an Alzheimers patient is approximately 8 years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, though each case is unique.
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Whats The Difference Between Multiple System Atrophy And Parkinsons
Parkinsons and MSA both affect the movement control system and the involuntary autonomic control system and early symptoms can make a differential diagnosis a challenge. MSA, however, tends to progress faster than Parkinsons; balance problems and a stooped posture happen earlier and get worse more quickly with MSA; and autonomic functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, sweating, bladder function, and sexual problems are more severe in people with MSA.
For more information on multiple symptom atrophy, read this fact sheet.
Treating Alzheimers Disease Vs Other Types Of Dementia
Neither Alzheimerâs nor most other types of dementia have a cure. Doctors focus treatments on managing symptoms and keeping the disease from getting worse.
Some of the treatments for dementia and Alzheimerâs overlap.
- Cholinesterase inhibitors can help with memory loss in certain types of dementia and Alzheimerâs.
- Glutamate inhibitors help with learning and memory in both dementia and Alzheimerâs.
- Sleep medications may help with sleep changes.
- Antidepressants can help with depression symptoms.
- Antipsychotic medications may help with behavior changes.
Some types of dementia respond to treatment, depending on what is causing it. Your doctor may recommend:
- Stopping the use of drugs and alcohol
- Tumor removal
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What To Do If Your Older Adult Is Taking Anticholinergic Medications
NEVER start, stop, or adjust the dosage for any medications without talking with your older adults doctor.
The first step is to discuss any medication concerns with the doctor as soon as possible. Ask them to explain the risks versus the benefits and to make a recommendation.
Because many seniors have multiple health conditions, they may be taking more than one type of anticholinergic medication.
One anticholinergic drug might not be harmful, but the side effects and doses can add up across different medications.;
Thats why its so important for a doctor to review allthe medications that your older adult takes.
And if different drugs are being prescribed by different doctors, ask their primary physician to review the full medication list, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements.
This could also be a good opportunity for the doctor to safely discontinue drugs that are no longer needed.
Whats The Difference Between Dementia And Alzheimer’s Disease
Dr. Larry Lawhorne discusses the difference between dementia and Alzheimers disease. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.
A very common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, accounting for 40 to 60 percent of all cases of dementia. But there many causes of dementia, such as vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, normal pressure hydrocephalus and frontotemporal dementia. The most common after Alzheimer’s disease is vascular dementia. Vascular dementia occurs in a setting of high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and other cardiovascular diseases. While Alzheimer’s patients lose function slowly, people with vascular dementia lose their ability to remember and think in a step-wise progression.
Making a diagnosis can be complicated because now we think there is mixed dementia. Someone may be on his way to developing Alzheimer’s disease but may also have enough vascular risk factors to have vascular dementia, too. Lewy body dementia is an interesting and distinctive disorder. People with Lewy body dementia often first experience visual hallucinations. They may also have some movement disorder. They may have a little bit of tremor. They may have problems walking. People with Lewy body dementia are also very sensitive to antipsychotic medicines, which tend to make them much more unsteady.
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Signs Of Parkinsons Disease
In 1817, Dr. James Parkinson published An Essay on the Shaking Palsy describing non-motor, as well as, motor symptoms of the illness that bears his name. Parkinsons is not just a movement disorder, explained Dr. Shprecher. Constipation, impaired sense of smell, and dream enactment can occur years before motor symptoms of Parkinsons. The latter, caused by a condition called REM sleep behavior disorder, is a very strong risk factor for both Parkinsons and dementia . This has prompted us to join a consortium of centers studying REM sleep behavior disorder.
How Are Parkinsons And Dementia Related
Parkinsons and dementia are two of the most common degenerative neurological conditions in this country, affecting many thousands of people. However, there are a lot of myths and misunderstandings about the illnesses.
If you have been told that you have either condition, the future may seem bleak and bewildering. Whether youve found this blog having been recently been diagnosed, or are worried about a loved one, then read on, hopefully, we can help you to gain some understanding.
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Medications To Maintain Mental Function In Alzheimer’s Disease
Several medications are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat symptoms of Alzheimers. Donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine are used to treat the symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimers. Donepezil, memantine, the rivastigmine patch, and a combination medication of memantine and donepezil are used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimers symptoms. All of these drugs work by regulating neurotransmitters, the chemicals that transmit messages between neurons. They may help reduce symptoms and help with certain behavioral problems. However, these drugs dont change the underlying disease process. They are effective for some but not all people and may help only for a limited time.
Alzheimers Vs Dementia What Is Dementia
Dementia is similar to Alzheimers in that it does result in significant memory loss. However, Dementia refers to the loss of cognitive ability due to no obvious circumstances such as a major injury or trauma. Rather than focusing on the memory portion of the brain, Dementia symptoms focus on multiple areas of the brain including the memory, language and problem solving areas. Like Alzheimers, Dementia is a progressive disease that begins almost unnoticeably and the patients health declines over time. In addition to having difficulty remembering things that are typically considered common knowledge, Dementia patients lose their ability to function in the world by losing the ability to recognize their own language, read, write, or solve basic math problems or tell time.
Knowing The Stages Of Dementia Helps You Plan
Even if the stages arent exact and symptoms can still be unpredictable, being able to plan ahead is essential.
The truth is that Alzheimers and dementia care is expensive and time-consuming. Being financially prepared for increasing care needs is a necessity.
On an emotional level, having an idea of what symptoms to expect helps you find ways to cope with challenging behaviors.;
It also gives you a chance to mentally prepare yourself for the inevitable changes in your older adult.
How Does Alzheimer’s Disease Progress
The rate of progression of the disease varies from person to person.
However, the disease does lead eventually to complete dependence and finally death, usually from another illness such as pneumonia. A person may live from three to twenty years with Alzheimer’s disease, with the average being seven to ten years.
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What Are The Warning Signs Of Alzheimers Disease
Watch this video;play circle solid iconMemory Loss is Not a Normal Part of Aging
Alzheimers disease is not a normal part of aging. Memory problems are typically one of the first warning signs of Alzheimers disease and related dementias.
In addition to memory problems, someone with symptoms of Alzheimers disease may experience one or more of the following:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life, such as getting lost in a familiar place or repeating questions.
- Trouble handling money and paying bills.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.
- Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them.
- Changes in mood, personality, or behavior.
Even if you or someone you know has several or even most of these signs, it doesnt mean its Alzheimers disease. Know the 10 warning signs .
Mild Impairment Or Decline
The symptoms of Alzheimers are less clear during stage 3. While the entire stage lasts about seven years, the symptoms will slowly become clearer over a period of two to four years. Only people close to someone in this stage may notice the signs. Work quality will decline, and they may have trouble learning new skills.
Other examples of stage 3 signs include:
- getting lost even when traveling a familiar route
- finding it hard to remember the right words or names
- being unable to remember what you just read
- not remembering new names or people
- misplacing or losing a valuable object
Your doctor or clinician may also have to conduct a more intense interview than usual to discover cases of memory loss.
Caregiver support: At this stage, someone with Alzheimers may need counseling, especially if they have complex job responsibilities. They may experience mild to moderate anxiety and denial.
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