FAQ - parkinson disease
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Is there a connection between Parkinson's disease, heat intolerance, and vision problems?


I have young-onset Parkinson's disease and have developed significant vision problems as a result. I also have noticed some heat intolerance with a possible connection to making my vision (double-vision) a bit worse at times. Anyone know of any significant connection?
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Eye problems are not unusual in people with Parkinson's disease. There's a great article here explaining why:
http://www.healthandage.com/Home/gid2=1972

Also virtually all patients with Parkinson's disease have evidence for a loss of a particular type of "automatic" nerves, called sympathetic nerves. Sympathetic nerves are responsible for the increases in the force and rate of the heartbeat during exercise, sweating and skin temperature changes during exposure to heat, tightening of blood vessels and regulation of blood pressure when a person stands up, and many other functions. So yes, heat intolerance can also be a factor.
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/funding/research/parkinsonsweb/bios.htm  (+ info)

Are there people willing to help me out financially in dealing with Parkinson's Disease?


I have the Parkinson's Disease for almost three years now. It's a shackling illness but there are medications that sort of make bearable the daily living. The challenge is how to sustain the medications while a cure hasn't come yet.
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Unfortunately there are millions out there in the same boat. If you are soliciting online for funds it won't get you anywhere. No one knows you and what you're asking is perceived as a scam, not a plea for assistance.

Concentrate on more productive ways to cope with your illness and seek treatments. Finding medical assistance / government support greatly depends on where you live and what programs are offered.

You may qualify for assistance from the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the drugs you require (if they offer such assistance) or you might look into clinical trials being conducted in your area.  (+ info)

What is the best medicine for parkinson disease?


I am affected by parkinson disease and so far i could ot find reliable treatment.
symtoms are slow movement, tremor and memory loss
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I am going to give you a very long answer because
1) there is no short answer
2) despite what so many people say - it is not your doctor who will make the final decision about your treatment program but you and your doctors.

The first thing you need to be proactive in your treatment - which is what you are doing - and bravo for you - is to learn what your options are.

I will say that there are medications which can help slow the progression of the disease when used as a first line when you are diagnosed. My husband is taking both Azilect, an MAO-B inhibitor and, after bed side effects from Mirapex and Selegiline, added Dynacirc CR (a calcium channel blocker which is off label but since he is also a cardiac patient was acceptable to his doctor.)
He also takes several nutritional supplements. CoQ10 is his primary antioxidant but there a few others he takes. A note about CoQ10 - even the Mayo Clinic is now suggesting 1200 mgs a day and a new clinical trial is comparing 1200 mgs to 2400 mgs daily - it must be divided into smaller amounts throughout the day to be effective. Recently he has added creatine to the CoQ10 dosing times. Alpha lipoic acid and Acetyl L-Carnitine hcl are taken as well.

About the medication categories:
There is the most popular category: Dopaminergics which were approved in the 1970s to slow or stop progression. They do at first until they don't - at which point the dosages may be increased or other meds are added to the treatment. The levodopa combinations are absorbed in the intestines and carrier by the blood to the brain where they can cross the blood brain barrier where it can be converted to dopamine (dopamine can't cross the bbb) Drugs in this category include Sinemet CR, Atamat, Carbidopa, Madopar CT, and the orally dissolvable Paricopa for patients who have swallowing problems.

There is a category which I call Other PD Meds which includes such things as Isradipine, a calcium channel blocker which helps restore the cells to a more youthful saline state. It appears to help slow the progression and research is underway to see if it can assist the dopaminergics
Also in the Other category is Amantadine, an anti-viral which appears to increase the release of dopamine in the brain.
There is the Excelon patch which is a cholinesterase inhibitor and a couple more which are similar to that patch.

There are dopamine agonists which mimic dopamine - stimulate a response. They bind to different dopamine receptors. One function is to raise prolactin levels. Like the dopaminergics, they have a wearing off time which increases the longer one is on the medication. Often they are coupled with a dopamine antagonist. These meds include Parlodel, Requip XL (non-ergot derived), Mirapex (can cause hallucinations and compulsive behavior but excellent for PD symptoms if you can tolerate the side effects), the Neupro transdermal patch which is awaiting re-approval by the FDA in the US market. It has been restored to the European market following a glitch which did not impact its effectiveness. There are more but not as commonly used or not available in the US market.

Dopamine antagonists are a type chemical which block the dopamine receptors in the brain - they bind but don't stimulate the receptors - they inhibit the response to copy the effects of dopamine. They are primarily used as anti-psychotics.

COMT inhibitors (Catechol O-menthyltansferase inhibitors) slow the elimination of dopamine by inhibiting the COMT breakdown of dopamine in the brain. This process may reduce the levadopa off times. Meds include Comtan, Tasmar, Stalevo which is actually a combination COMT and dopaminergic.

Then there are the MAO-B inhibitors which include Eldepryl and Segeline and the favorite in this house Azilect which is most certainly slowing the progression of my husband's PD.

Lastly are the old-timers, the anticholinergics which attempt to block the ace.tylcholine, the neurotransmitter which sends the contract message to the muscles.while the decreasing dopamine neurons can't respond well with their relax message. Antichlorinergics are used for symptomatic relief for issues like excessive salivation when one can't swallow well. They are also used for PD depression. These medications include Artane, Cogentin, Norflex and Benadryl.

Dietary supplements are also good medicines and can work well to supplement the prescribed pharmaceuticals.

Antioxidants to scavenge free radicals: CoQ1, Vitamin E complex (the complex is significant and each tocopherol must be listed by % on the label) and Vitamin C with bioflavonoids work synergistically. Beta Carotene - the vitamin A precursor is helpful but remember, the body stores vitamin A and there is no need to overdo it.

I'm not going way out there but a good Omega complex is also important. And Vitamin D, at least D3 is another must take. Watch the source, however. Some forms are better than others. A good fish oil is probably better.

Addendum:
My husband pointed out that now many patients may be prescribed both Azilect and Sinemet from the start. My husband did not begin on Azilect because it may not have been on the market back then but he was already taking CoQ10 because he suspected what the diagnosis would be.  (+ info)

Do people who have Parkinson's Disease get a lot of migraine headaches?


I have a friend who was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease about 5 years ago. She takes several different kinds of medication for it as prescribed by her doctor. She has also been seen and tested by a neuorologist and they can't seem to pinpoint why she gets these headaches all the time. She misses a lot of time from work because of these headaches. I was just wondering if other's who have Parkinson's suffer like my friend does and what she might do to help alleviate the frequent headaches.
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here's a good link  (+ info)

Are there any diagnostic tests to identify whether a person suffers from Parkinson's disease? Read details?


Can we prevent it or at least delay the onset of Parkinson's disease?
What is prognosis for it?
One of my relatives is suffering from this disease and the neuro surgeon treating him advised to consult a psychiatrist.
who treat this disease? neuro psychiatrists or neuro surgeons?
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I hate to disappoint you but the state of the art is not quite there yet.

There are a few diagnostic tests in the works but at this point none has reached the point where they are ready for the general public.

The blood test has been written about and here is a link an article published by the Michael J Fox Foundation in 2007. Here you will see the explanation of the procedures that must undergo studies and clinical trials before they are marketable:
http://www.michaeljfox.org/newsEvents_parkinsonsInTheNews_article.cfm?ID=203

In Florida at the Mayo Clinic there is work to develop an ocular test for iron content. There are also brain scan tests in the works.

The tests now are observational. The lab tests which are conducted are done so to rule out other conditions.

Delaying the onset of PD may be found for some people in caffeine based upon the lengthy Honolulu study also referred to as the Hawaiian study.
http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/parkinc.html
Although the next link is to something called CoffeeScience.org, coffee is not the only source of caffeine. You might actually have more benefit from green and black teas.
http://www.coffeescience.org/parkinsons
http://parkinsonsfocustoday.blogspot.com/2009/08/is-it-true-what-they-say-about-black.html

Neurosurgeons perform surgery so unless your relative is going to have a DBS implant surgery, he wouldn't normally be seeing a neurosurgeon. Most PD patients see neurologists who specialize in motion disorders.

PD depression is common in about 40% of PD cases so it is no surprise that a PwP (person with Parkinson's) would be referred to a specialist because the treatment for PD depression is not the same as mainstream depression. However, if there is evidence of dementia, they might need a different kind of specialist. It might be a neurobehavioralist or one of a few other specialists. Surprisingly enough, there are non-neuros who specialize in PD and are thoroughly knowledgeable in all aspects of the disease.

I'm sorry to hear about your relative. The whole family is needed to provide support to the caregiver as well as the PwP.

My husband has PD and we read about developments on a daily basis as well as attending the online webinars. You or a family member might be interested in attending the Parkinson's Action Network upcoming event on June 24th: "Emerging Therapies Webcast - from microscope to marketplace"
http://www.parkinsonsaction.org/parkinsons-disease/emerging-therapies-webcast  (+ info)

since dopamine is transferred to your body when smoking weed, does it do good to parkinson's disease sufferers?


"The primary symptoms are the results of decreased stimulation of the motor cortex by the basal ganglia, normally caused by the insufficient formation and action of dopamine, which is produced in the dopaminergic neurons of the brain." -Wikipedia

my grandfather has parkinson's disease, but is really chill. would him smoking weed help his disease at all? because parkinsons is a disease that is caused by "insufficient formation and action" would smoking pot help him?
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The answer is maybe.

Dopamine does not transfer to the body because of smoking marijuana, however. The short version is that higher doses of grass can indeed cause more dopamine to be released in the brain. The problem is that higher doses at sustained levels can also be not only self-limiting but also can produce or aggravate symptoms of PD.

http://www.scienceclarified.com/Io-Ma/Marijuana.html

That said, low doses can produce a feeling of well being, assist breathing and relieve some of much of the pain of Parkinson's patients as caused by the muscle rigidity which is a prime symptom of PD.

There has been a longer history of using marijuana to treat Parkinson's disease. It is not a cure and it doesn't impact many symptoms but since one of the often unspoken symptoms is pain, I don't think it should be overlooked.

A number of states now include Parkinson's disease on the medical marijuana list.
http://parkinsonsfocustoday.blogspot.com/search?q=marijuana

One thing you will read in the articles at the above site is that far from leading your grandfather astray, it may reduce his reliance on certain far stronger medications...depending.

If your grandfather is not too uptight, get him a one-hitter and show him how to use it.

Oh yes, one last thing, while marijuana smoking in serious intensity can cause the same lung issues as smoking tobacco, this is not a concern here. There are plenty of "old" tobacco smokers. One reason that you don't see that many with PD is that tobacco smokers do indeed appear to have a lower incidence of Parkinson's.

Addendum:
Your grandfather might also benefit from hemp oil. It can be used as a salad dressing. Hemp seed butter can be used just the way it sounds or actually mixed with butter. While there is vitrually nothing little left to give you a high, there is plenty of nutritional value here in providing the right kinds of essential fatty acids. Should be used daily.
http://www.manitobaharvest.com/nutrition/index.asp?itemID=73  (+ info)

How do people with Parkinson's disease finally die?


My wife has Parkinson's disease. She is in constant pain. She is losing her ability to do even the most ordinary actions of living. We wonder how Parkinson's patients finally die.
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The most common cause of death in Parkinson's disease is aspiration pneumonia. As the disease progresses, the patient swallowing becomes extremely difficult. This difficulty swallowing often causes the patient to choke or inhale (aspirate) their food...leading to aspiration pneumonia.  (+ info)

any suggestions for books on Parkinson's Disease that give ideas for More Natural methods of dealing with it?


My husband has Parkinson's and there are too many books out there to buy them all. Are there any suggestions for a book that gives ideas for natural methods of dealing with the disease?

Or any suggestions from someone who also has the disease?
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I suggest that you use the web to read a variety of articles. You will find yourself referring to Wikipedia for definitions.

You will not find a definitive book because there are so many variables. And you really have to be aware that many suggestions are sometime contraindicated. I have been surprised at some suggestions because physics intrudes with an equal and opposite reaction.

I suggest that you begin by looking at CoQ10 1200 mg daily.
Glutathione is another powerful antioxidant. But it is not effective inthe tablet or capsule form. There is a patch available and there is also sublingual gluathione. It should contain NAC and be accompanied by Milk Thistle.

Not knowing your husband's symptoms, I am going to suggest general PD exercises including vocal exercises to assist swallowing, voice quality and oxygen intake.

Check this website for a number of these topics in brief and feel free to comment and ask questions in the comment sections.

http://parkinsonsfocustoday.blogspot.com/

You will also find interesting articles about the Butykeo method of breathing which are aimed at Asthma patients but are suitable for PD as well. This is a method dealing with the breathing pattern, the respiration and inspiration rate aand rhythm. It is designed to avoid hidden hyperventilation based on a CO2 theory.

There is also physical therapy, swim therapy, dance (yes-do the tango) therapy, massage therapy all designed to loosen those tightening muscles, assist in regaining strength, regaining balance by walking differently.

You should check with your doctor as some therapies can be covered by your medical coverage.

Some people are helped by diet adjustments. This can be quite simple or quite complicated depending upon the present diet.

http://www.nutritionucanlivewith.com/park.htm

You can also join Patient's Like Me which is a good forum for asking these questions and getting lots of answers; for tracking the disease, for reading about real side effects which real people are experiencing. You can both join: your husband as a patient and you as a caregiver. It will give you access. The site has become a bit more difficult to use but it now is around 3,000 members.

http://www.patientslikeme.com/

There several good web sites with suggestions for alternative therapies.
You will want to read about accupuncture as well.

Please feel free to email me if you have more questions.

Best wishes. PD is a difficult journey for both patients and caregivers but it can be made easier with a good plan of action and monitoring. Even your neurologist may have alternative therapy suggestions. You wouldn't have asked your question if the pills were all you wanted for quality and quantity of life.

Addendum: there is one book which is a must read for PD exercise: "Parkinson's Disease & the Art of Moving" by John Argue
http://www.amazon.com/Parkinsons-Disease-Moving-John-Argue/dp/1572241837
These exercises are meant to be done with two people - one to read, guide and assist and the patient.

They may not retrain the brain - neoplasticity - in the same way the the two gait retrainers, relatively new on the market, can do but it is an economical way of adjusting stance, walk, voice to "increase flexibility, strength, nalance and coordination, improve communication, voice power and speech clrity, delay the progression of symptoms"

Another addendum:
Check this web site - it is a quick read with many good suggestions:
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art33326.asp
Check out zinc ascorbates - may be important.  (+ info)

after being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease how long do you live?


I am 50 and have had Parkinson's disease for four years now. I was wondering if this will affect my life expectancy.
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My mother had this disease and lived 23 years after diagnoses, treatment these days is terrific and a healthy lifestyle is a must, it is not a death sentence.  (+ info)

Does Parkinson's Disease cause a person to have frequent uncontrollable mood swings?


Are uncontrollable mood swings or irritable behavior a part of the disease' symptoms or do mood swings play a part because of the other uncontrollable symptoms such as not being able to do things you used to do?
I know someone with Parkinson's Disease who is usually a pretty nice person but sometimes will have this nasty irriatable attitude twards people for no reason, and was wondering if its part of the disease. I havent found much info online about this and I dont dare ask them!
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First of all, thank you for asking this question because it is a very important one in regards to PD.

There are a few reasons for the mood swings in Parkinson's disease patients. And this can be very disconcerting to friends and families who are often the victims of some rather nasty outbursts.

One thing to remember about depression is that it is often the outgrowth of fear; fear turned inward. But as the person with the depression, that is difficult to address. Sometimes it is easier just to lash out, to try to displace that fear by projecting the anger behind it onto someone else.

Sometimes the side effects of medications can be mood swings. This would depend upon the medication and/or interactions with other meds.

Depression is a very common symptom of PD in at least 50-60% of the patients. It is part of the disease. This depression often needs to be treated differently, some people can be helped by SAD lights, exercise which raises endorphin levels, therapy, certain anti-depressants, nutritional supplements. Still it is surprising how few suicides there are among PD patients

Depression can fluctuate depending upon the little successes or failures of daily activities. Today is a bad day in this house because of concerns about a family gathering tonight. And while I was trying to type this answer I became the focus of this PD anger.

From the Parkinson's Disease Foundation: "researchers have found that people with Parkinson’s who were depressed had more trouble with daily activities, and were more likely to begin medication for motor symptoms sooner than those without depressive symptoms. Depression decreased their quality of life and made their motor symptoms worse—but treating the depression, rather than the motor symptoms, improved both quality of life and movement"

"Parkinson’s affects many parts of the brain that are important in controlling mood. One of these is the area that produces serotonin, a brain chemical implicated in depression. Another part of the brain important in regulating mood—the frontal lobe—is known to be under-active in Parkinson’s. Commonly prescribed antidepressants can help. In addition to medications, cognitive-behavioral therapy has also been shown to help some people with Parkinson’s."
http://www.pdf.org/en/depression_pd

From the NeuroPsychiatry Review:
"Mood disturbances are a common problem in PD; depression or dysthymia may affect as many as half of patients. Often, however, these disorders are less disconcerting to patients than the mood swings that, in extreme cases, may shift from feelings of euphoria to suicidal urges within the same day. "For some people, it's their predominant complaint, more so than the motor fluctuations," said study author Irene Hegeman Richard, MD, an assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "When their emotions are literally out of control, it's very disturbing to them." Approximately two thirds of patients with advanced PD and motor fluctuations also experience mood fluctuations."

The above is from a very informative article: Parkinson's Disease - Do Mood and Motor Fluctuations Match?
http://www.neuropsychiatryreviews.com/apr00/npr_apr00_pd.html

Not only can depression by a by-product symptom of PD, it is often a precursor symptom of the brain loss of homeostasis long before the appearance of the obvious symptoms which send a person for diagnosis.

The problem is getting it treated, treated for what it is - which is not mainstream depression. The discussion probably needs to begin with the neurologist. But how to get the patient to see the need to discuss it.....

I'm sorry that you have to endure this. It takes a huge reserve of patience to be on the receiving end when the abuse is coming from a disease and not an essentially nasty person. That is why there are support groups for caregivers.

I can be reached through Yahoo Answers and through Contact Us at the site below.  (+ info)

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