So what is Parkinson’s disease (PD), anyway? Put simply, it’s an incurable chronic and progressive degenerative disorder that affects the central nervous system and—consequently—movement. But unfortunately, there’s far more to PD than that.
#1: There are generally five stages of Parkinson’s
Generally speaking, Parkinson’s progresses through five stages, ranging from the mildest symptoms to the most severe. It may begin as tremors down one side of the body, all the way to having difficulty standing or walking—and requiring a wheelchair.
#2: There are no x-rays or tests to confirm Parkinson’s
Instead, a neurologist is more likely to refer to your medical history, do a physical examination, and do a “process of elimination” to rule out other conditions that may resemble Parkinson’s—to eventually come to a conclusion.
#3: PD symptoms vary from person to person
Parkinson’s is a “progressive” disease, meaning that symptoms can change over time, and at different rates of speed. In other words, every person living with PD has a unique experience.
#4: Parkinson’s is not fatal; however, complications can cause death
Some experts theorize it may be hereditary—while others believe it may be caused by exposure to pesticides and living in rural communities. There really does not appear to be one agreed-upon theory pointing towards why some people develop PD.
#8: About half of people with Parkinson’s develop depression
Depression is a very common “non-motor” symptom related to PD. As many as 50% may experience clinical depression at some stage of the disease. Some researchers believe the depression is caused by the disease itself, because PD can change brain chemistry. On its website, Parkinson Canada says depression in PD patients may even begin before the motor symptoms arise.
#9: There is a free podcast series devoted entirely to living with Parkinson’s
Whether you are a caregiver for or a person living with Parkinson’s, you may find this podcast, When Life Gives You Parkinson’s, interesting and comforting.
#10: Support is available for caregivers and patients living with PD
Or, check out homecare services at TheLocalSenior.com to assist in providing specialized care for your loved one.
Meanwhile, there are also retirement homes available across Ottawa to provide 24/7 care. To learn more, we invite you to contact Tea & Toast to speak about how we can help you find the best fit for your (or your loved one’s) needs related to PD.