Understanding Parkinson's Disease
If you or a loved one has been recently diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, you probably have many questions. While the disease affects each person differently, this overview will help you better understand the symptoms and treatments.
Symptoms and Risk Factors
Parkinson's is a disease that stops nerves from working properly in the part of the brain that controls muscle movement. The disease causes trembling and stiffness in arms and legs and affects movement, balance, and coordination.
The symptoms can make simple tasks, such as brushing your teeth or pouring a glass of milk, difficult. People with Parkinson's also frequently report trouble sleeping.
Men are more likely to get Parkinson's, and symptoms usually appear after age 60, according to the National Institutes of Health. Symptoms may be mild at first but are likely to get worse over time. The cause is still unknown, although scientists theorize that genetics or environment may play a role.
Confronting the diagnosis head-on, getting started on treatment, and making the necessary lifestyle changes will make living with Parkinson's disease easier, say experts.
While there is no cure yet, medications can alleviate some of the symptoms. In addition, some people with Parkinson's find that other forms of treatment, such as massage, acupuncture, or vitamin supplements, make them feel better.
Although scientists have not found a cure or way to prevent the onset of this disease, multiple foundations for Parkinson's research exist. Perhaps one of the most well known is the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, named for the actor. Fox has turned his disease into a cause, testifying before Congress and traveling throughout the country.
Fox may be proof that you can accept that the disease--and its symptoms--are here to stay, while still remaining active. Of course, the adjustments will take time, so assess what is important about your lifestyle and what you can discard or modify.
Most assuredly, experts say, expect changes in your lifestyle. Because Parkinson's disease affects everyone differently, it's difficult to predict how quickly--or slowly--it will progress for you. For instance, hobbies that you used to do with relative ease may become more difficult, but you could switch to another one that doesn't tax your resources and is as enjoyable and relaxing.
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