People suffering from Parkinson’s Disease go through a lot of confusion about their life. While Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disease whose cause is yet unknown, after years of research and studies many questions have become somewhat answerable. Here are the answers of the most commonly asked questions related to Parkinson’s Disease symptoms and causes.
Disclaimer – The below provided content is for informational purpose only and should not be treated as a medical advice. It is recommended to consult your medical professional before taking any steps related to your disease.
Ques 1. What are the stages of Parkinson’s Disease?
Ans1. Parkinson’s Disease is usually divided into 5 stages:
- Stage one – Mild symptoms which affect only one side of the body.
- Stage two – Mild symptoms which affect both sides of the body with respect to posture and gait changes.
- Stage three – Body movements are slow and balance is impaired.
- Stage four – Symptoms are severe and disabling, muscles become rigid, the patient can’t live alone and walking is limited.
- Stage five – Wheelchair-bound or bedridden in which the patient needs constant care.
Ques2. What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?
Ans2. Parkinson’s Disease symptoms are:
Tremor: A tremor or shaking usually begins in a limb, often with your hands or fingers. You may notice a back-and-forth rubbing of your thumb and forefinger known as a pill-rolling tremor. One characteristic of Parkinson’s Disease is a tremor of your hand when it is relaxed (at rest).
Slowed movement (Bradykinesia): Over time, Parkinson’s Disease may reduce your ability to move and slow your movement making simple tasks difficult and time consuming.
Rigid muscles: Muscle stiffness may occur in any part of your body. The stiff muscles can limit your range of motion and cause pain.
Impaired posture and balance: Your posture may become stooped and you may have balance problems.
Loss of automatic movements: In Parkinson’s Disease, you may have a decreased ability to perform unconscious movements including blinking, smiling or swinging your arms when you walk.
Speech changes: You may experience speech problems as a result of Parkinson’s Disease. You may speak softly, quickly, slur or hesitate before talking. Your speech may be more of a monotone rather than with the usual inflections.
Writing changes: It may become hard to write, and your writing may appear small.
Ques 3. Why do the tremors of people with Parkinson’s Disease stop during sleep?
Ans3. Non-REM sleep transforms the waking alternating Parkinsonian tremor into subclinical repetitive muscle contractions whose amplitude and duration decrease as non-REM sleep progresses from stage I to IV. During REM sleep Parkinsonian tremor disappears while the isolated muscle events increase significantly.
Ques 4. Does Parkinson’s Disease affect only one side of the body or both sides?
Ans 4. Parkinson’s Disease affects the way your brain controls your body movements in which the first recognized symptoms are motor symptoms. Motor symptoms usually first appear only on one side of the body. Over time, the other side of the body tends to develop motor symptoms as well. As the disease progresses other symptoms may appear. It is important to note that not every person diagnosed with the disease will show the same symptoms.
Ques 5. Can stiffness in Parkinson’s Disease be recovered after treatment?
Ans 5. Improvement in stiffness varies with the type of treatment and also from patient to patient. But as compared with other symptoms, stiffness responds more commonly to treatment, both medical and surgical.
Ques 6. Is there any way to prevent/reduce the chances of having Parkinson’s Disease when you have it in your family?
Ans 6. Having a close relative with PD does increase the risk of developing the disease. While you can’t change the genes you were born with, epigenetics research is proving that the life you live can turn those genes on and off.
Ques 7. What are the later stages of Parkinson’s Disease?
Ans 7. Parkinson is divides into 5 stages. The first two stages are early ones. The later stages are:
Stage three – Body movements are slow and balance is impaired.
Stage four – Symptoms are severe and disabling, muscles become rigid, the patient can’t live alone and walking is limited.
Stage five – Wheelchair-bound or bedridden in which the patient needs constant care.
Ques 8. What does Parkinson’s Disease do to the Nervous System?
Ans 8. Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a progressive disorder that affects nerve cells in the brain responsible for body movement. When dopamine-producing neurons die, symptoms such as tremor, slowness, stiffness and balance problems occur. Treatments focus on reducing symptoms to enable a more active lifestyle and include medication, diet, exercise, and deep brain stimulation surgery.
Ques 9. What are the early symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?
Ans 9.The early symptoms are mild in nature and occur in the first two stages of progression. They may affect only one side of the body or both sides including posture issues, slow body movements and balance impairment. Trembling of hands and body shaking are also the early signs.
Ques 10. How is it like to live with a Parkinson’s Disease patient?
Ans 10. Being the caregiver of a Parkinson’s Disease patient is like a battle which challenges you every now and then with many obstacles in the way. Parkinson’s Disease causes progressive changes to motor functions along with other non-motor symptoms including depression, sleep problems and pain. The disease greatly impacts the quality of life of the patient. Living with Parkinson’s Disease is definitely an adjustment with life but it’s not like the end of the world. You can still live a full, happy and healthy life. Like they say, pain is inevitable but suffering is a choice. Although there is much about PD that is uncontrollable, taking an active role in treatment including adhering to a medication schedule and making healthy lifestyle choices can provide a sense of control and help people live their lives to the fullest.