What Exactly is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that stops the brain from producing dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that sends chemical signals to nerve cells. This is a very important function that majorly controls and effects your central nervous system, your immune system and circulatory system. With that being said, without dopamine, you gradually lose the ability to control movement and your emotions. The health risk from this disease is very serious which can cause infection, complications and even death. According to the Center for Disease Control, the complications from Parkinson’s is the 14th highest cause of death.
How to Tell if You Have Parkinson’s
Parkinson’s is very hard to diagnose, but there are symptoms that can signal the early stages of the disease. First, is shaking known as tremors. Usually, the shaking starts in the hands or feet. The tremors start as a twitch and progresses to an uncontrollable shake. Issues writing? Notice it’s harder to write or your handwriting drastically changes? Your sense of smell can decrease, and you start tossing and turning more in your sleep. One of the more major signals is body stiffness. If you’re feeling very stiff in the joints, even when walking or stretching then you may have Parkinson’s. Are you being told to talk louder? Sounds like you need to clear your throat? These are also early signs. Blank stare, masked expression, dizziness and a slouched/hunched posture are also signs. As the disease progresses, you will see stronger symptoms like worsened ability to write, muffled or mumbled speech, inability to swing arms when walking and also dragging of the feet. More extreme symptoms are loss of facial expressions and emotion, difficulty moving muscles in the face and difficulty swallowing and blinking. Parkinson’s also can affect your mentality. You can become anxious, angry and depressed. Difficulty paying attention, remembering events or words and even worse, difficulty thinking general thoughts.
Think You Have Parkinson’s? Here’s how it’s Diagnosed.
The main symptoms to diagnose Parkinson’s Disease are uncontrollable tremors, stiffness, slow movement of the body and issues balancing. If you’re feeling these, then call your doctor. With those symptoms, the doctor will give you a thorough neurological exam which tests your arms, legs, muscles and nerves.
Here’s how it’s Treated.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Parkinson’s. But there are medications that can stabilize and give off dopamine to the brain. Yes, it is only temporary, but the medications do help reduce and suppress symptoms. It is important to stay physically active, mainly staying flexible. Stretching, aerobics, resistance, anything to get your joints and muscles active. There are also many vitamins and supplements that may help suppress Parkinson’s.
How to Handle being Diagnosed
Being diagnosed with an incurable disease can be difficult to process. The heavy thought and burden of knowing your future is heavily affected. But there is hope and support. You don’t have to keep this a secret, your family and friends will support you, your work will understand. You don’t need to be alone and you won’t want to be alone. Sometimes your symptoms will be very hard to ignore or hide, don’t be ashamed or want to hide. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may find normal physical activities to be trying.
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