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Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis: Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find commonly asked questions about Parkinson’s disease that will help you find answers to your problems or queries. Discover information on the symptoms of Parkinson’s, how these may affect you and how to treat Parkinson’s disease. 

What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a condition where parts of the brain become progressively damaged over the years. The progressive nervous system disorder affects physical movement and causes tremors and shaking for sufferers – amongst various other potential symptoms. 

Parkinson’s disease symptoms are usually mild at first and begin to develop gradually over time. The order and severity in which these occur all differ depending on the individual suffering from the disease. It’s common that different sufferers face different symptoms depending on the stage and severity of the disease. 

How is Parkinson’s disease diagnosed? 

There are no specific tests to diagnose Parkinson’s disease that currently exist. If you are conscious that you are potentially suffering from the disease, you should see a specially trained Nervous System Conditions Doctor (Neurologist). The Neurologist can then diagnose Parkinson’s Disease based on your signs, symptoms, physical examination and medical history. 

What causes Parkinson’s disease? 

Parkinson’s disease is caused by damaged nerve cells in the Substantia Nigra region of the brain. This area of the brain is responsible for producing Dopamine – a chemical that acts as a messenger between the brain and nervous system. 

Damaged nerve cells leads to a decrease in the amount of production of Dopamine. This equals less control of movement for sufferers of Parkinson’s as this area of the brain cannot function as normal. This causes movements to become slow, abnormal and less controllable. 

The loss of nerve cells can be a slow process, and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease usually develop when around 80% of the nerve cells in the Substantia Nigra have been lost. Genetics, medication and various environmental factors are believed to be the greatest causes. 

Is there a cure for Parkinson’s disease? 

Currently, there’s no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but treatments are available to help relieve and reduce the severity of Parkinson’s symptoms; helping to maintain quality of life. Such treatments include: 

  • Supportive therapies 
  • Medication
  • Surgery (in some cases) 

During the initial stages of Parkinson’s, the symptoms are usually mild and treatment is not necessary. However, it’s important to be in regular contact with your specialist so your condition can be monitored closely. A specific care plan should be agreed with your healthcare team and your family or carers. Click here for more Parkinson’s treatments. 

How is Parkinson’s disease treated? 

There are several therapies and treatments that can make living with Parkinson’s disease easier to deal with. In order to control the symptoms on a day to day basis, you should consider the following:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy 
  • Speech and language therapy 
  • Diet and nutritional advice 
  • Medication (refer to a specialist to find the most appropriate for your condition) 
  • Deep brain stimulation 

How long does it take for Parkinson’s disease to progress?

Parkinson’s disease affects all sufferers differently. Not everyone with Parkinson’s experiences identical combinations of symptoms – as they often vary from individual to individual. It’s common for symptoms to change from day to day, and in certain circumstances hour to hour. For this reason, it’s difficult to put timescales on Parkinson’s progression. 

However, for many people, the condition can take years to progress to the point where Parkinson’s has a serious impact on day to day life. Following diagnosis, mild symptoms can often take years to progress. 

What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease? 

Read our previous article here for a comprehensive breakdown of all signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. You can find information on the first symptoms you should expect, the main symptoms and other potential problems that you may face down the line. 

What is the life expectancy for a person with Parkinson’s disease?

Individuals with Parkinson’s disease are usually diagnosed around the age of 60. Although those suffering from the disease often face a somewhat shorter lifespan compared to healthy individuals of the same age group – many people live up to 20 years after diagnosis. 

At Trinity Homecare we are passionate believers that it is entirely possible to live an enriched and happy lifestyle with Parkinson’s disease. A compassionate TrinityCarer can enter your life to provide a heartfelt helping hand and guide you on your life’s journey.

Parkinson’s Care at Home

If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and are considering your next steps to finding the care you need – Contact us today to discuss how we can help you live happily and healthily at home. 

Our loving companions will be there for you every step of the way with a personalised care plan that is bespoke to your needs. Whether that’s multiple visits per day, weekly check-ups or a trip to your favourite place. We will be there.

 

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