There are many symptoms of the disease; Parkinson’s and these symptoms can interfere with function. Tremor is the most common symptoms and is often the first to be noticed before the diagnosis is given. Tremors can affect one limb or only a part of the limb. Tremors are only present when the limb is at rest. Tremors decrease with activity and increase when the individual experiences emotional stress. Tremors disappear during sleep.
The limbs can feel heavy and clumsy due to muscle rigidity (stiffness).
Poor posture and balance problems can cause a safety issue as the person is at greater risk for falls because of the posture and balance issues. The person may lean if one side of the body is more involved than the other.
It may become difficult to read the handwriting of someone with Parkinson’s disease. The person will also develop a soft voice that can also become hoarser. Speech becomes fainter and may be unintelligible which complicates communication.
Swallowing can become difficult which poses a choking hazard.
Depression is common when individuals are diagnosed with a chronic disease. Parkinson’s also has a chemical component that influences depression.
Parkinson’s is not a fatal disease although it is progressive in nature. Individual diagnosed with Parkinson’s can expect to be independent or at least moderately so for many years after the diagnosis has been given. Medications can help to bring relief from the symptoms and therapies such as speech, occupational and physical can help the individual to maintain function. You may have good days and bad days, days when it is difficult to move and then other days that seem more tolerable. 20% of those diagnosed with Parkinson’s will develop dementia in the later stages of the disease.
Managing Parkinson’s through proper treatment:
Treatment consists of a combination of medications, therapies, exercise, diet, surgery and alternative medicines.
Medications can bring relief from symptoms but they can have side effects such as hallucinations, involuntary movements and constipation. Surgical techniques can also help with symptoms.
Treatment will vary depending on symptoms and severity of the symptoms. As the disease progresses the treatment will change. Medications can also stop working over time and need to be adjusted or changed.
The disease is more manageable if the individual seeks support from groups, family and friends. Educating yourself about the disease also help you to manage the disease because when you know more you can take action to better manage the disease.
Your medical team is a very important part of your ability to manage the disease. Usually the first information you are given about the disease comes from your medical team. You are taught how to manage the disease by this team and encouraged to participate in your treatment plan.