Parkinson’s disease causes problems in speech, tremors in hands, unintentional body movements due to rigidity of muscles. The disease affects the nerve cells which produce dopamine, thus leading to altered body conditions. After a thorough diagnosis, treatments can be done to lower the extent of this problem but there are no solutions to cure it permanently.
A Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale is used to evaluate the conditions of those suffering from it. The rating scale varies between 0 and 4. 0 represents a normal condition whereas 4 shows an extreme case.
Stages of Evaluation
There are several stages of evaluation which we have discussed, in details, below:
This is the most humble stage of the evaluation. At this stage, the mood, mental abilities, and general behavior of the test patient are studied. Swings in mood or deterioration of mental abilities could represent the presence of disease.
In the second phase, the test patient is required to evaluate changes in behavior and general gait, himself. Any abnormalities in the normal activities could be a representation of Parkinson’s. You should immediately rush to your doctor if you find a change in any of these activities;
• Speech: If you feel rigidity in facial muscle while speaking then this could a symptom.
• Writing: Hands undergoing tremors while writing or even at rest could be a sign that you have Parkinson’s.
• Walking: If you face trouble with walking then you should consult your doctor and get thoroughly evaluated.
• Similarly, if you have issues when changing clothes or eating food, then get yourself diagnosed.
The third stage of evaluation involves ‘Clinically Monitored Evaluation’. In this phase, expert advice is brought into practice. You’re required to get yourself evaluated by a professional doctor. If prescribed, you move on the 4th stage which involves motor examinations.
In the fourth stage, Hoehn and Yahr’s procedure is carried out for thorough evaluation of your body using motor examinations processes. Deep studies are made regarding your body movements and responses.
• Speech: You are required to read scripts or do the general talking for this process. The movement of your face is evaluated during the speech. The extent of the problem is calculated by measuring the extent of problems you face while talking.
• Face at rest: Apart from speech, the conditions of your face are diagnosed when at rest as well. If you’re suffering from the problem, your face will suffer tremors or rigidity.
• Hand Movement: You are asked to open and close your hand in rapid successions. Those suffering from the disease will have issues doing this.
• Leg Agility: You’re required to tap your feet on the ground for several times. Fatiguing doing this, arresting of your feet, and other impairments tell about the extent of the disease.
Apart from these, there are multiple other tests which are carried in the fourth stage of evaluation. If you have any of these symptoms, then you will be required to take medication to reduce the extent of effects of this disease on your body.
Parkinson’s disease results in rigidity of body muscles which mostly shows up in the later years of your life. The disease affects the nerve cells in your brain which produce dopamine. As a result, the production of normal dopamine is hindered leading to abnormal changes in your body. These changes include tremors in hands, the rigidity of muscles, problems in speech, and not being able to maintain your body posture.
If you find yourself going through any of these conditions, consult your doctor and get yourself thoroughly diagnosed. There are no permanent solutions to cure this problem. However, medications are present in the market which reduce the effects of this problem for the time being.
Of the many solutions available in the market to fight Parkinson’s, one is Dopamine Agonist. Let us further discuss about it, in details.
Dopamine Agonist is a drug which mimics the functions of dopamine inside your body. Unlike Levodopa, it doesn’t convert into dopamine, but certainly supports the nerve cells inside your brain, thus helping your body maintain its posture.
Dopamine Agonist can be used at all stages of the disease. You’re not bound to take it at certain stages only. It shows positive effects at all levels.
Dopamine Agonist is available as tablets in the market which are taken at different times during the day. There are, however, stronger versions of tablets available as well, which you’re required to take only once, daily.
You can take dopamine agonist alone or mix it with levodopa. These drugs complement each other thus increasing the immunity against the disease. Dopamine Agonist is found to treat other symptoms of Parkinson’s as well, which are not related to your physical movement.
There are certain side effects which you might suffer from if you’re on this drug. Some of these effects are:
• Nausea and Vomiting: You might feel like vomiting or may face phases of vomiting when on this drug. If you face the problem for prolonged periods, consult your doctor and discuss the situation.
• Constipation: Another side effect associated with the intake of Dopamine Agonist is constipation. So, if you’re already from a stomach condition then consult your doctor before taking this medication.
• Dizziness and Drowsiness: It causes lowering of your normal blood pressure amid which you feel dizziness. You could face sudden attacks of sleep and may sleep wherever you’re sitting.
• Headache: A side effect which comes with the use of Dopamine Agonist is a headache. You could face a headache, either half head or in full head, depending upon your other medical conditions.
Parkinson’s disease is a serious issue which should be taken seriously. If you find any symptoms in yourself, you should immediate take actions to deal with the issue. You should, however, consult a doctor before taking any medications. If you have an already persistent medical issue, then let them know so they can guide you better.
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Parkinson’s disease is one of those diseases that can severely affect the patient’s quality of life. it is a progressive neurological disorder and the patient suffers from tremors, stiffness, slow movement and balance issues. Unfortunately, there is no cure for it but there are medicines that can make the effects bearable by the patient. Such diseases don’t only affect the patient but the people around them as well. therefore, patients can often feel a lot of pressure and also like a burden on others. It becomes quite difficult for patients of Parkinson’s to carry out their daily routines which were easier to do before. Eventually, the quality of life starts deteriorating for them.
How to Improve Quality of Life for Patients
To get diagnosed with a disease that means you will become more and more dependent on others can produce some extreme anxiety for the patients. It is a terrible experience to realise that you will be losing your independence and control over yourself and life in general. Here are some steps that can help improve the quality of life if you have been diagnosed or a have a loved one suffering from Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s disease takes time to progress so a patient can do a lot of before the onset of the disease to improve their physical strength. Patients are suggested to take part in physical activities like dance and treadmill training. This can greatly help patients improve their speed of walking and balance.
Tango is a specific type of dance which is not only being used to improve the physical abilities of patients but it is such a fun thing to do that it distracts them from getting anxious.
Preventing Depressive Moods
Research indicated that patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s can have a feeling of sadness and report depressive moods. This not only affects the course of treatment but patients will lose confidence in themselves more quickly. It is suggested that patients should get screened for depression once a year so that patterns of mood changes can be detected on time.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients can suffer from bone thinning. Therefore, it is required to maintain a diet that consists of bone-strengthening nutrients. Falls can become common as the PD progresses but the further frustration of broken bones can be avoided if the patient maintains a healthy diet.
What Friends and Family can do?
PD patients can suffer from self-esteem issues and might feel like they are putting too much pressure on others. Try to adjust to the changes they are facing in their lives due to PD and show your support. It is natural to get worried, helpless and frustrated at times but don’t let your negative emotions get revealed to them. Keep them busy and happy. Don’t let PD patients feel like that they can’t lead a normal life anymore. Moreover, look for any excessive mood changes so that right steps could be taken in time to help them.
Help make lives easier for PD patients.
It is understandable that a patient goes through a lot of mental disturbance the moment he is diagnosed with any sort of illness. The Parkinson’s disease is one of the most dangerous brain diseases, widely spreading and affecting more than 2 million of the total population of America.
However, there is no definite cure for the disease found yet, but there is hope with the use of medication and certain precautions. There are a few defined psychiatric symptoms in the patient of this disease, which can be easily identified during the initial stages of the disease.
Anxiety and Depression:
When the probable patient of the Parkinson disease is facing the diagnosis procedure of the Parkinson’s disease, the patient would be anxious, like all other patients of other illnesses. It is logical if one feels insecure with their health, but a mood disorder is the basic symptom which is not found in all of the other diseases. The disorders of anxiety and depression are clinical in the regard of this disease, which would likely promote and provoke rigidity, shiver, and shock. These symptoms of depression are found in about 40 percent of the Parkinson’s patient.
Clinical depression is highly dangerous for the patient, and it can have long-term effects on the patient. The symptoms of anxiety and depression also include social anxiety problems, which can further lead to the mismanagement of exercising for potential motor symptoms and a lethargic manner of dealing with medication and care. Therefore, these symptoms of depression can be treated with the use of proper medication, or counseling, etc. The patient requires encouragement, motivation and constant support in order to recover efficiently.
Another troublesome form of psychiatric illness closely linked to the Parkinson’s disease, which is the cognitive impairment. This illness mostly tends to affect the people with the Parkinson’s disease, which spontaneously lead to the motor symptoms, which can result in the slow processing of memory and also effects the patient’s thinking skills. Other than that, stress, and depression can also contribute to these subtle changes, and thus, it is important to identify what is the actual cause of these symptoms.
It should be acknowledged that cognitive impairment can be completely opposite from dementia, which is a much more severe loss to the intellectual abilities of the patient. However, cognition is quite difficult and vast to define, mostly for the reason that it covers various mental capabilities and activities. Overall it refers to the working process of the brain, specifically the sense of perception of the world around us, the ability to store and retrieve memories, problem solving, triumphing insights, concept formation, and other activities linked to the working of the brain.
Coming to the conclusion, the medication associated with the depression, linked to the Parkinson disease, depends upon the overall condition of the patient, and his specific needs. This is essential because there are certain medicines which can worsen the disease symptoms of the probable patient.
As known worldwide, almost every disease comes with an initial warning sign, informing the patient and his loved ones about the presence of the illness. Parkinson’s disease is basically a degenerative disorder with no profound cure so far.
However, the doctors and the patients have to work in accordance to fight the disease at an initial stage so as to stop its progress. It is important for everyone to know about the basic symptoms of this disease in order to recognize the disease so as to prevent it from increasing.
1. Change in Hand-writing:
This is one of the most prominent symptoms of the Parkinson’s disease. The patient’s handwriting slightly changes at first; you would notice the words written on the page are smaller compared to the previous writing style of the patient. The words would be crowded in one place altogether. However, a subtle change in the handwriting is a warning signal of the presence of Parkinson’s disease.
2. Chronic Constipation:
The patient would have issues with his bowel movement and would pass the stools with a lot of strain and effort, which is the result of chronic constipation. The straining problem related to the constipation is one of the initial signs of the Parkinson’s disease. Plus, the probable patient would experience about only 3 bowel movements every week, which worsens the effects of the disease.
3. Loss of Sleep:
In today’s time, most people suffer from insomnia, which is curable to some extent. However, you should be aware of the people around you who are suffering from the loss of sleep. The patient would experience uncontrollable and uncomfortable movements throughout the night, or even in their sleep, which results in fatigue. The frequent occurrence of such nights is something you should worry about.
This is a defined symptom which is visible and noticeable by most of the people surrounding the patient. The body would feel stiff as the patient would move and the stiffness would not go away even after a long while. Your arms and legs might not move efficiently as you walk or run. The initial signs also include pain in the shoulders or the hips, or it might be due to the stiffness. The patient experiences trouble with swinging the arms while walking and it becomes hard for the patient to lift his feet off of the ground, as the Parkinson’s disease tends to affect the muscle control.
5. Masked Face:
Most of the people would be reporting about the patient’s serious expressions lately. Face masking is another chronic symptom closely linked with this disease. The muscle of the face becomes stiff and frozen, which limits the expressions of the face, resulting in a masked face. The Parkinson’s disease is responsible for the slow movement of muscles.
These are one of the very few basic symptoms of the Parkinson’s disease. Ignoring any or all of these symptoms could lead to serious issues.
Parkinson’s disease is a disease which affects your body, your routine movements and rendering basic tasks are difficult. Parkinson’s disease affects the muscles for movement and also the muscles needed for communication. People diagnosed with Parkinson’s face issues with their speaking skills, facial expressions and handwriting as well.
Some not all face problems in communication in Parkinson. The symptoms vary from person to person and the stage of emergence of these problems can be different for everyone.
Common symptoms are:
• An unsteady or raspy voice
• Speech becomes slurred
• Volume gets really low while speaking
• Speech volume gets reduced
• Writing becomes very small called micrographia
• Tone becomes monotonous
• Facial expressions lessen or go altogether
• Difficulty is faced while forming words
• Hand gestures and body language is affected
Useful Tips to Overcome The Speech Problems:
Following are some useful speech tips:
1. Take pauses while speaking and take a deep breath before you start talking.
2. Face your listener and maintain eye contact while speaking to them.
3. Exert pressure and exaggerate your pronunciation so that the listener can read your lips.
4. Keep your sentences short and precise.
5. Try to speak often do not let the disease make you get into the habit of allowing others to speak for you.
6. Ask your friends and family to not feel shy and ask you to repeat if they do not understand you.
7. Relax yourself when you talk so more efforts can be put into your speech.
8. Stress the key words and make each word as clear as possible.
9. Another practice which will improve your voice is singing regularly. It will use your voice and breathing muscles.
10. You could imagine that you are in a huge room and talk louder but without shouting.
11. Do not feel embarrassed and try to socialize and talk as much as possible.
A Speech Pathologist:
A speech pathologist can help you with all problems which you might be facing regarding communication as he is a health professional. Speech pathologist can work with communication as well as speech, facial expressions and body language.
It is wise to seek one at early stage soon after diagnosis. He can help you in the early stages and assess the problems that you might be facing and suggest suitable particular strategies.
Even thought, you do not have much issues regarding speech, a pathologist can detect changes which you have not paid attention to. He can advise you on prevention from developing further speech problems.
Useful Tips to Improve Handwriting:
1. Write in capital letters on lined paper.
2. If you have a problem of tremor, wear a weighted cuff around your wrist to create weight.
3. Use thick pencils and pens so that they provide a thicker grip and make holding easy.
4. Go slow. Write for a while, rest and then start again.
5. Use a non-stick mat under your notepad so that it does not slide while you are writing.