Parkinson’s Disease is caused by nerve cells that are dying over a period of years in a certain area of the brain. As a result of this, a chemical known as dopamine is lost. This loss causes body movements to become difficult.
In the very early stages of this disease, Parkinson’s produces few symptoms. There can be stiffness or weakness of a hand and slight hand tremor which may be only noticeable when the person is tired. Treatment at this stage usually consists of counseling.
Most people with this disease will have more problems within three to four years when there will be more stiffness. Their speech can become soft, slow,, and slurred. They will have a difficult time walking. This is the time when they may start to shuffle as they walk. Body movements become difficult. They may have a difficult time turning in bed and getting up from a chair.
Treatment at this stage usually consists of prescription drugs to control the stiffness and tremor. As this condition becomes more advanced, it becomes more difficult to walk and a person with this disease can easily fall down. It is at this stage when a person with this disease may need a walker or even a wheelchair.
Usually when a person has had Parkinson’s disease after eight years, stronger drugs are needed to help mobility. Sometimes infections can cause some type of problem.
Although physical activities may be difficult, it is important to remain as active as possible. This will not only help a person inflicted with Parkinson’s to maintain some type of mobility, it will also help keep depression away.
It is very important to eat a high fiber diet. Constipation can be a problem during the later years of life and especially with this disease. If someone has Parkinson’s, it’s even more important to be able to have regular bowel movements.
Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables and any food that contains bran. Some cereals have bran and so do certain whole wheat breads. Looking at the labels will enable a person to see if these items have bran in them.
Parkinson’s is considered to be a relatively common infliction. According to “Medical and Health Guide for People Over Fifty,” some experts say that Parkinson’s is a very common disease and 1 percent of people seventy and older will have some form of it. Dr. William Tisdale, M.D. states that most individuals who have this disorder develop the early signs in their late fifties, and their difficulties progress slowly for many years. He also reported that slight stiffness of one arm or hand may be present for years before the patient or anyone else notices the tremor. The lack of spontaneous movements, such as the blinking of the eyelids, can be another early indication of this disease.
The most important thing to remember is to try to keep from being depressed. People with Parkinson’s should try getting involved in the things they like to do such as visiting friends, listening to music or going to the movies. It’s a good idea to make a list of activities that can be done rather easily. People with this problem may be surprised of what he/she might be able to accomplish.
Source: Medical and Health Guide for People Over Fifty by Eugene C. Nelson, D.Sc.,
Ellen Roberts, M.P.H., Jeannette Simmons, D.Sc. William A. Tisdale, M.D.