We were all sad to hear that music legend Neil Diamond has cancelled the remainder of his tour after he was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. But what is Parkinson’s disease and what are the symptoms?
Symptoms and signs of Parkinson’s do vary from person to person. Early signs may be mild and may go unnoticed; others may notice significant differences straight away. Symptoms often begin on one side of your body and usually continue to remain worse on that side, even after symptoms start affecting both sides of the body.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease affects certain nerve cells in the brain, specifically those that monitor a chemical called dopamine, which controls movement. When the cells break down and patients are no longer receiving an adequate level of dopamine, they can find it difficult to move as they would wish to.
According to Parkinson’s UK, it’s thought that one in every 500 people in the UK has Parkinson’s. This equates to approximately 127,000 individuals, many of them over the age of 50, who require specialist care and support because of various mobility problems caused by the onset of the disease. Some research has concluded that Parkinson’s is inherited to a degree, but it can also develop in those who have no family history of the condition.
The four key symptoms of Parkinson’s
Involuntary shaking, often experienced in the hands, is the most common identifier. Resting tremors are very typical of Parkinson’s – these occur when the body is relaxed.
As well as making it difficult to move fluidly, rigidity and inflexibility in the muscles can also lead to pain and cramps in Parkinson’s patients.
Those with Parkinson’s will often experience Bradykinesia. They may only be able to walk by taking short, shuffling steps and may find that it takes them longer to do things than before.
Those living with Parkinson’s are often unsteady on their feet. This can sometimes lead to accidents or injury through falling.
Some patients will also display other physical symptoms, including:
- Loss of smell
- Problems with the eyes and bladder
- Problems with communication and speech
- Difficulty swallowing and chewing
- Restless legs syndrome
- Excessive sweating
- Dizziness (making them more prone to falls)
If you or a loved one do have any of the above symptoms please see a doctor to diagnose your conditions and to rule our other causes.
Live In Care For Those Living With Parkinson’s
Many people living with Parkinson’s may choose to enter into a residential care facility. While this is certainly a viable option, many patients would prefer to remain in their own home and receive support in a familiar environment that is safe, warm and comforting – which is why so many choose a live-in carer.
A professional Parkinson’s Live in Carer will provide 1-2-1 support, 24 hours per day within the comfort of their own home. This helps them maintain a good quality of life with the reassurance that a trained and experienced carer is close by in times of need. It also ensures minimal disruption to the individual’s routine.