FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Symptoms of Parkinson vary from person to person. The symptoms may appear slowly and in no certain order. Early symptoms may be subtle. They may slowly get worse over many years before reaching a point where they disrupt normal daily activities.
Will supplements and vitamins cure or slow down Parkinson's Disease?
The ingestion of cocoanut oil, cinnamon, Omega-3 fish oil, pure oxygen, Vitamin C and E, Glutathione, CoQ-10, nicotinamide, riboflavin, acetlyl carnitine, lipoic acid, St. John’s Wort, Ginko Biloba, creatine, and Alkaline water, have not yet been shown in scientific, peer-reviewed studies to be beneficial to Parkinson’s patients.
Can Parkinson's Disease cause depression and anxiety?
Depression is very much a part of the disease process of Parkinson’s and is not to be taken lightly by either the caregiver or the patient. Sometimes it is a precursor to other symptoms but it can appear at any time. In fact, more than half of people with Parkinson’s are thought to experience depression at some point. Depression is characterized by a change in the way you interact with friends and relatives, a disinterest in things you once enjoyed, a feeling of hopelessness, fatigue, losing or gaining weight, sleep changes, anger, self loathing and reckless behavior. You may have only one or two of these symptoms and if you do, I can assure you there is no shame.It’s not your fault and it isn’t indicative of some personal failing. Talk to your doctor immediately because he or she can prescribe a number of medications and treatments that will provide relief. A neuropsychiatric specialist can also be consulted.
Anxiety is characterized by feelings of panic, fear or uneasiness, problems sleeping, cold or sweaty or numb/tingling hands or feet, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, an inability to be still or calm, or dry mouth. Again, your doctor can help you manage your anxiety.
Will my children get Parkinson's? Should I get them tested?
It has been said that accurate genetic diagnosis and treatment will occur along with increased knowledge of the genetic code. Many of you want to know the probability of passing PD along to your children and grandchildren. The vast majority of people with Parkinson’s do not have mutated genes and therefore do not pass them along.
What is Parkinson's Disease?
Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder that affects the nervous system and the parts of the body controlled by the nerves. Symptoms start slowly. The first symptom may be a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. Tremors are common, but the disorder may also cause stiffness or slowing of movement.
In the early stages of Parkinson's disease, your face may show little or no expression. Your arms may not swing when you walk. Your speech may become soft or slurred. Parkinson's disease symptoms worsen as your condition progresses over time.
Although Parkinson's disease can't be cured, medications might significantly improve your symptoms. Occasionally, your health care provider may suggest surgery to regulate certain regions of your brain and improve your symptoms.
Where can I find a Parkinson’s Support System in the Albany, NY area?
Find a local support group here - https://www.helpforpd.org/support-groups
"Many people find that support groups help them cope with the day-to-day realities of having Parkinson's disease. The opportunity to swap stories and share resources can be truly therapeutic."
Who is likely to get Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease affects both men and women. Currently, about 50% more men are affected than women.
Why is this? There are theories that estrogen may cause women to develop the disease less frequently, and when they do, they seem to get a milder case. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimates about 50,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease each year in the U.S. However, this number may be higher due to the fact that many people in the early stages of PD
assume their symptoms are due to aging and do not seek medical attention. Complicating the diagnosis is that symptoms of Parkinson's resemble other diseases and there is no one definitive test to diagnose it.
Can I get Parkinson’s Disease if I’m under 60?
Parkinson’s Disease isn't just seen in people of advanced age. While it does tend to affect people over age 60 more often, in about 5% to 10% of cases, "early onset" PD can begin in people as young as age 40. The progression of PD is different for everyone, however, those who develop it at earlier ages seem to have a more severe progression. Life expectancy for people with Parkinson's disease is about the same as the average population, but complications from the disease in the later stages can lead to fatal outcomes from choking,
How is Parkinson’s Disease diagnosed?
Currently there are no laboratory tests that can diagnose Parkinson's disease. This can make it difficult to accurately diagnose because PD resembles other movement disorders. In order to diagnose PD, a physician will take a complete medical history and perform a neurological exam. Additional testing may be done simply to rule out other neurological conditions that may resemble Parkinson's disease.
Are there other conditions that can resemble Parkinson’s disease?
There are a number of conditions that present some of the signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s, but that do not respond in the same way to typical treatments. These diseases are referred to as Atypical Parkinsonisms, and are most likely to affect people in their 50s and 60s, although this can vary.
Many other conditions involving movement -based issues mimic Parkinson’s Disease. A patient therefore may show no signs of developing PD but will experience very similar symptoms. These conditions can be particularly challenging for non-specialists and can sometimes lead to misdiagnosis.
If I have Parkinson’s disease, what kind of speech and voice problems may I
Everyone's Parkinson's experience is different, so it's hard to predict how your symptoms may progress. Parkinson's symptoms tend to appear gradually. The order they appear and the way they progress varies from person to person.
Some of the voice and speech difficulties that you may experience are:
Reduced volume to your voice.
Speaking in a monotone pitch
Having a hoarse or strained quality to your voice.
Breathiness in the quality of your voice that is easily heard by your listeners.
It takes more effort and energy to speak.
You feel like it is taking all of your energy to speak.
Trouble clearly and easily pronouncing letters and words.
Tremor in your voice.
Slurring of your speech.
LSVT LOUD is an effective speech treatment for people with Parkinson's disease (PD) and other neurological conditions. Named for Mrs. Lee Silverman (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment), a woman living with PD, it was developed by Dr. Lorraine Ramig and has been scientifically studied for over 25 years with support from the National Institute for Deafness and other Communication Disorders within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other funding organizations.
Find local LSVT Clinicians using this form
What are some tips to increase communication with others?
Some tips to improve communication include:
Choose a quiet, low-noise space. Turn off televisions, radios and other devices that create distracting background noise.
Use short phrases. Say one or two words or syllables per breath.
Plan periods of vocal rest before planned conversations or phone calls. Know that fatigue significantly affects your ability to speak. Techniques that work in
the morning might not work later in the day.
Keep your throat hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Don’t drink beverages containing caffeine or alcohol. Use a humidifier if the air in your home is dry.
Try to sit in an upright posture, with a straight chin, slightly lifted neck to improve airflow from lungs to your vocal cords.
If you are naturally soft spoken and your voice has become low or harder to hear for others, consider using an amplifier.
Where can I find Yoga and Exercise classes for Parkinson's near me?
Exercise is a vital component to maintaining balance, mobility and activities of daily living to those living with Parkinson’s Disease. Check out the local classes here. https://www.helpforpd.org/exercise-classes
What are the stages of Parkinson’s Disease?
- Stage one: Symptoms such as tremors or shaking on one side of the body
- Stage two: Tremors or shaking one or both sides of the body; possible imbalance;
- Stage three: Noticeable balance impairment and slowing of motion
- Stage four: Severe symptoms, disability; patient likely needs assistance
- Stage five: Patient may be bedridden or wheelchair bound; needs constant care.