Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder with symptoms including shaking, difficulties with walking, movement, swallowing, speaking and coordination. It is one of the most common nervous system disorders of the elderly, generally affecting people over the age of 50, however younger adults with the disease in their family can also be affected.
Parkinson’s is caused by a deficiency of dopamine in the brain. It’s the chemical that nerve cells use to control muscle movement. The disease destroys the cells that make dopamine, which makes it impossible for the brain to send the proper signals to the muscles.
It can affect one or both sides of the body and the rate of decline varies between patients. The early symptoms can include a foot feeling a little bit stiff or a minor tremor. More severe symptoms can include problems with automatic movements such as blinking, drooling, difficulty swallowing, balance and walking problems, muscle aches, pain and stiffness, shaking and tremors, slowed and more quiet speech or a monotonous voice.
The main treatment involves minimizing the symptoms of Parkinson’s because there is no cure at the moment. Medications can help increase dopamine levels, while a healthier lifestyle involving nutrition and exercise can help to control the symptoms. Some patients use special eating utensils and have railings installed in the house to help with activities of daily life. Physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy can all help people with Parkinson’s enjoy a higher quality of life.
Parkinson’s affects each patient differently so each individual needs customized care. HealthNow Healthcare can develop treatment programs that include the necessary therapies as well as helping with medication administration and homemaking tasks. These services include:
HealthNow Healthcare can also provide trained professionals if extra nursing or therapy is needed in-home. These include: