Parkinson’s disease affects the nervous system and causes changes in movement. It is a progressive disease, which means it starts with mild symptoms that gradually worsen. There is no cure for the disease, but there are treatments that can help to manage symptoms. When an older family member is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you may have many questions about the disease and wonder what causes it.
Knowing more about Parkinson’s can give family caregivers a better idea of what to expect in the future.
Causes of Parkinson’s Disease
What causes some people to get Parkinson’s disease hasn’t been discovered yet. The disease causes some of the nerve cells in the brain to die off. Several of the symptoms occur because nerve cells that produce dopamine die, which makes dopamine levels drop.
Although doctors don’t know the exact cause of Parkinson’s, they believe many factors could be involved:
Genetics: Scientists have found that some people with the disease have mutations in certain genes. This is uncommon, though, and tends to occur in cases of Parkinson’s that run in families.
Environmental Triggers: There seems to be a connection to exposure to certain kinds of toxins and other things in a person’s environment can increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s. Some toxins researchers have found a connection to are Agent Orange, farming chemicals like insecticides and herbicides, some metals and chemicals used in factories.
Symptoms That May Occur
Parkinson’s disease frequently begins with almost unnoticeable symptoms, like a slight tremor in the hand. As time goes on, you can expect to see more symptoms develop. However, not everyone experiences the same symptoms, so if you know someone else with Parkinson’s, their progression may look different than it does in your aging relative. Some common symptoms of the disease include:
- Tremors that usually start in one limb. A tremor can look like a “pill-rolling” movement where the older adult rubs the fingers and thumb together repeatedly.
- Bradykinesia, which is a slowing of movements. The senior might take shorter steps or have a hard time getting out of a chair.
- Rigid muscles that may be painful and cause difficulty moving through a full range of motion.
- A stooped posture and problems with balance.
- Changes in speech, like speaking very quietly or too quickly.
As the symptoms get worse, your aging relative will require assistance for performing daily activities. Senior care can come to the older adult’s home and assist them. Senior care providers can cook meals for them and keep the house clean. In addition, senior care providers can help them to walk safely from room to room without falling, get up and down from chairs, and assist with getting up in the morning and going to bed at night.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Health Care in Commack, NY, please call the caring staff at Companion Home Care of Long Island. Senior Home Care serving Suffolk, Nassau and Queens Counties. Turn your questions into answers. Call Today (631) 884-0005
Dorothy’s core expertise includes an extensive background of more than 38 years, focusing on Home Care, Senior Care and operating a successful in-home care agency.
In her spare time she enjoys her 5 grandchildren, gardening, skiing and competition 8-Ball.