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The low down on Parkinson’s and how to recognise the early symptoms

The low down on Parkinson’s and how to recognise the early symptoms

New Age Care News

What is Parkinson’s?

Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition. This means that it causes problems in the brain and the symptoms or effects worsen over time. In the UK there are 145,000 people living with Parkinson’s and this is growing rapidly and has been identified as the fastest growing neurological condition in the world.

Three things that we know about Parkinson’s.

  1. Parkinson's develops when brain cells are not working as they should be and or are lost altogether, these cells create Dopamine.
  2. Symptoms start within the body when there is not enough Dopamine to control movement.
  3. There are 3 main symptoms - tremor (shaking), slowness of movement and rigidity (muscle stiffness) - but there are many other symptoms too.

Parkinsonism is a term used that covers several conditions including other conditions with similar symptoms.

Types of parkinsonism

Idiopathic Parkinson’s
Parkinson’s is the most common form of parkinsonism. Idiopathic means the cause is unknown. The most common symptoms of idiopathic Parkinson’s are tremor, rigidity and slowness of movement.

Vascular parkinsonism
Vascular parkinsonism (also known as arteriosclerotic parkinsonism) impacts people with limited blood supply to the brain. Occasionally people who have had a stroke may develop this. Common symptoms include problems with memory, sleep, mood and movement.

Drug-induced parkinsonism
Neuroleptic drugs (used to treat schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders), block dopamine and the action it takes in the brain, and is thought to be the biggest cause of drug-induced parkinsonism. This form of parkinsonism has the same symptoms as others however, they don’t always progress.

Other forms (including Multiple system atrophy, Progressive supranuclear palsy, Normal pressure hydrocephalus, Various tremors, including essential tremor, Rarer causes of parkinsonism)

Multiple system atrophy
The symptoms of this can be stiffness and slowness. However, in some cases symptoms that are unusual in early Parkinson’s are identified such as, unsteadiness, bladder problems and dizziness.

Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)
This form of parkinsonism affects eye movement, balance, speech and mobility. It is sometimes called Steele-Richardson-Olszewski syndrome.

Normal pressure hydrocephalus
This only affects the lower half of the body and can have symptoms such as walking difficulties, incontinence and memory problems.
Various tremors, including essential tremor
Not all tremors are Parkinson’s. However, you may be diagnosed with one of these if tremor is the only symptom.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s has over 40 symptoms and these can range from a tremor or stiffness to problems with sleep or mental health. Not everyone will experience all symptoms.

The more common symptoms of Parkinson’s include:

  • Tremor
  • Rigidity (stiffness)
  • Slowness of movement
  • Mild memory and thinking problems
  • Sleeping problems
  • Pain
  • Mental health problems, including anxiety and depression

How will my Parkinson’s symptoms progress?
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition and therefore the symptoms experienced may get progressively worse. It is important to remember not everyone will experience all symptoms and therefore progression varies from person to person.

Parkinson's UK is a Parkinson's research and support charity in the United Kingdom. Its aims are to improve the quality of life for people affected by Parkinson's and find a cure for the condition. Their website contains information and support that covers symptoms and treatments. They also run a Parkinson’s helpline: 0808 800 0303.

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