Updated: Apr 10
What exactly is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive disease that affects a person’s movement and coordination.
It is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine. Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter the brain produces that is critical to nervous system function. It allows the body to send messages from the brain to the muscle, helping to direct movement and coordination. As more nerve cells die, dopamine levels in the brain dwindle, making it difficult for individuals with Parkinson’s to control normal movements.
Although the cure for Parkinson’s disease has yet to be developed, treatments aimed at symptom relief are available. Living with Parkinson’s may be challenging, but there are many things patients can do to enhance their quality of life.
The Importance of Catching Parkinson’s Early
Recognizing whether your loved one has Parkinson’s Disease (PD) can be difficult, as symptoms generally develop slowly over time. However, spotting emerging signs quickly allows early intervention with regards to medication and support, which may delay the progression of the disease.
Spot the Signs
Signs of PD may present differently in our loved ones, but it’s helpful to know what to look for. Symptoms often begin on one side of the body and usually remain worse on that side. Some motor and non-motor symptoms include:
Tremor. A slight shaking or trembling in the fingers, hands, legs, lips or chin while at rest. This resting tremor may also occur in the chin, tongue, mouth, or jaw. Also observe whether your loved one holds common items — like a newspaper or bag — with a non-dominant hand; this might be a signal that one side of his or her body is more affected by PD.
Slowed movement. The slowing of movement might make everyday tasks more difficult or time-consuming. It’s typically demonstrated by a reduced or mask-like expression on the face, decreased blink rate, issues with fine motor skills (like buttoning a shirt), and small or crowded handwriting.
Rigidity. Tightness or stiffness found in the limbs or torso. In the early stages of PD, rigidity could be incorrectly attributed to arthritis or orthopedic problems. Stiff muscles can be painful and limit range of motion.
Loss of smell. Is your loved one experiencing a reduced sensitivity to odors or a loss of smell? Disturbances in the sense of smell may be evident months or years before motor symptoms emerge. Although our ability to smell can be disrupted by a cold or flu, the disruption itself is only temporary.
Sleep difficulties. Trouble sleeping is common in PD patients. The inability to fall asleep is less common than the inability to stay asleep.
Constipation. Disruptions in the gastrointestinal system may also emerge. Because PD may slow the automatic movement within the digestive system, constipation is often the result.
Vigilant and Observant
Our Home Care Aides are kind, patient and passionate individuals that strive to provide the highest standard of care to our clients.
In addition to assisting your loved one with in-home supportive services, Presidio Home Care Aides are also trained professionals who can observe and report changes in motor skills to your family member’s care team. When it comes to PD, early detection enables early intervention, which can improve your loved one’s overall quality of life.
Your loved one is in good hands with Presidio Home Care. Contact Us and we will help in any way we can.