April 11th marks the birthday of Dr. James Parkinson, who published the first detailed description of the disease in 1817. This year the world marks 200 years since Parkinson’s disease was discovered. Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common adult neurological conditions, affecting an estimated 10 million adults globally. Despite its prevalence and increased awareness through the work of public service campaigns and the efforts of magnates such as Muhammad Ali and Michael J. Fox, the disease is often misunderstood. It is important to be aware of the facts so that you can optimize care and maximize quality of life.
Here Are Some of the Most Common Misconceptions:
MYTH: Parkinson’s only affects movement.
FACT: Parkinson’s disease affects multiple areas of the brain and thus results in many symptoms. Non-motor symptoms can include impaired sense of smell, sleep disorders, cognitive difficulties, constipation/ bladder problems, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, pain, anxiety and depression.
MYTH:: Parkinson’s only affects older people.
FACT: While the majority of patients develop the condition in their fifties or early sixties, about 10% of people are diagnosed before age 40.
MYTH: All individuals with Parkinson’s disease have tremors.
FACT: While a tremor is the most recognized symptom of Parkinson’s disease, approximately 30% of sufferers never experience any tremors.
MYTH: Parkinson’s disease can “flare up” unexpectedly.
FACT: Although symptoms may fluctuate throughout the day, the progression of the disease is very slow. If symptoms worsen over days or weeks, infections, medication side effects, stress or another medical problem may be to blame.
MYTH: Only medical intervention helps.
FACT: Lifestyle modifications, including regular exercise, muscle strengthening therapies and a healthy diet, can reduce the severity of symptoms and improve quality of life. A study published in Geriatrics and Gerontology International found that Parkinson’s patients who exercised for one-hour every week reported improvements in daily activities while their non-active counterparts did not.
MYTH: Parkinson’s is genetic.
FACT: Only 5-10 percent of cases have a true genetic link. The cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown. While genetics may play a role, many researchers also believe that environmental factors impact risk.
MYTH: Parkinson’s disease is fatal.
FACT: Parkinson’s disease itself will not cause death. Swallowing problems make sufferers more prone to respiratory infections like pneumonia, but many people never experience this and can live for decades after diagnosis.
Who Is at Risk?
Both men and women can have Parkinson’s disease. However, the disease affects about 50 percent more men than women.
While the disease is more common in developed countries, studies also have found an increased risk of Parkinson's disease in people who live in rural areas and in those who work in certain professions, suggesting that environmental factors may play a role in the disorder.
Parkinson's symptoms usually begin gradually and get worse over time. As the symptoms become more severe, people with the disorder may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks. They also experience non-motor, or movement, symptoms including mental and behavioral changes, sleep problems, depression, memory difficulties, and fatigue. Parkinson's disease is both chronic, meaning it lasts for a long time, and progressive, meaning its symptoms grow worse over time. It is not contagious.
If your loved one is living with Parkinson’s disease, tremors or other symptoms may impede his or her ability to complete daily activities independently. If your loved one is like most seniors with Parkinson’s, he or she may become frustrated when unable to do routine tasks that were previously a breeze. With help from Home Care Assistance of Prescott, AZ, you can reduce the frustration that your loved one experiences because of his or her symptoms. By providing the personalized, one-on-one assistance he or she needs, Home Care Assistance can help maintain your loved one’s dignity while also being able to stay in the comforts of home.
Compassionate and Professional Caregivers Promote Independence
Parkinson’s caregivers in Prescott are expertly trained to provide your loved one with the assistance he or she needs to retain a high level of independence, even when symptoms of Parkinson’s make daily activities challenging. At Home Care Assistance, our Parkinson’s caregivers respect your loved one’s ability to make informed choices, so they will often encourage your loved one to make decisions about his or her care services and schedule, and to participate in his or her own care. While the Parkinson’s caregivers at Home Care Assistance of Prescott will tend to routine tasks for your loved one, we find that involving seniors with their own care can promote their independence and feelings of self-esteem.
Schedule Your In-Home Consultation
We are dedicated to helping seniors with Parkinson’s maintain normal routines while they age in the comfort of familiar surroundings. If your loved one has Parkinson’s disease and could benefit from the assistance of a caregiver, give Home Care Assistance in Prescott a call at 928-771-0105. Our devoted Care Managers are on call 24/7 to answer your questions and to set up your free, in-home consultation to discuss the Parkinson’s care options available for your loved one.