Parkinson’s Disease is a type of dementia that begins in with difficulties in movement including tremors, shakiness, muscle stiffness, issues with walking an posture, and lack of facial expressions. As damage to the brain (caused by Lewy Bodies and microscopic deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein) spreads, patients with Parkinson’s develop mental issues including issues with executive function, attention, memory, and judgements.
Parkinson’s Disease Dementia Resources
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Parkinson’s Disease Dementia
Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
- Early warning signs:
- Slight shaking or tremor in your hand, chin, lip or leg
- Loss of smell unrelated to a cold
- A sudden change in handwriting, typically writing much smaller than you did in the past
- Stiffness in the body, arms or legs that does not go away
- Often feeling dizzy or faint
- Thrashing or sudden movements during sleep or falling out of bed
- Source- A Place for Mom
- Tremor, mainly at rest and described as pill rolling tremor in hands.
- Other forms of tremor are possible
- Bradykinesia Limb rigidity
- Gait and balance problems
- Muscle Symptoms
- Shuffling Step
- Stooped Posture
- Difficulty Initiating Movement
- Lack of Facial Expressions
- Mental Difficulties
- Executive functioning/ decision making
- Memory loss
- Making judgements
- Plan steps for tasks.
- Trouble interpreting visual information
- Visual Hallucinations
- Sleep Disorders
- Day time Drowsiness
- REM Sleep Disorders
- Muffled speech
- Source Alz.org
Causes of Parkinson’s
Genetic predisposition and environmental exposures are thought to be causes of Parkinson’s Disease. Parkinson’s is physically caused by deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein. This disorder also exhibits Lewy Bodies. (Source- Alz.org).
Some Genes that pre-dispose people to early onset Parkinson’s include SNCA, PARK2, PINK1, LRRK2 though not all people with these genes develop Parkinson’s.
Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease
- Cholinesterase inhibitors- treat dementia symptoms including hallucinations, sleep disorders and changes in thinking and behaviors.
- Antipsychotic drugs- should be used with extreme caution with Parkinson’s because 50% experience serious side effects
Common medications such as Carbidopa/levodopa cause dyskinesis or involuntary movements. Some surgeries can also be used to levitate some symptoms