• 6/13/2012 - Risk Factors Linked to Parkinson's

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As a general guide, Parkinson's disease appears to impact around 0.2%-0.3% of the general population and tends to impact the aged more frequently, with about ninety percent of documented cases being clinically determined in those individuals over sixty years of age. Some 3% to five percent of people over 65 will develop Parkinson's disease. Less than 10% of new cases of Parkinson's are determined in adults below age forty. Some research suggest an increased danger of the disease occurring between 60 and 75 years of age but that the risk would seem to fall significantly after this age, especially after age eighty five. Truth be told, Parkinson's is practically never observed in the very old, regarding those aged over 100.

Considering that Parkinson's disease patients deviate considerably regarding signs or symptoms they encounter and their response to medication, the statistics available for the condition vary and differ subject to one's source of data. Also, it should be born in mind that the information collated on Parkinson's from some parts of the world, particularly in less technologically advanced nations, is patchy or unverifiable. This makes deriving precise and meaningful Parkinson's stats for such locations, as well as about issues such as Parkinson's disease and race, problematic.

However, possible misdiagnosis at this point in time represents a genuine fact given the lack of a conclusive biological marker for the diagnosis of Parkinson's. It has been indicated that the number of individuals over age sixty who ought to be declared as suffering from some kind of Parkinsonism, is in fact much greater than is currently acknowledged. For instance, some investigations have implied that people with mild Parkinson-like signs or symptoms (that may be suggestive of early stage Parkinson's or possible caused by other conditions) could be as much as 15% in the age bracket 60-74 and thirty percent for anyone between seventy five and eighty four years old. Regardless of the true number, with an continually increasing global population combined with an ascending trend for life expectancy, the volume of envisaged cases of Parkinson's disease in future generations is bound to increase greatly. For example, some research has suggested that the percentage will double during the next forty years.

While we have discussed Parkinson's and the factor of age, can one observe differences in the risk of developing the condition based on gender, race and hereditary?

Concerning the matter of gender, figures once more varies appreciably between sources. Some research has indicated that men appear to be at twice the risk of Parkinson's than compared with women. Support for this is dervived from stats that indicates women who have had hysterectomies have a higher rate of Parkinson's disease, and women who have had oestrogen replacement therapy have a lower rate of Parkinson's disease as compared to other women their age. The presumption is that estrogen may play a role in guarding the body from the chemical changes that occur in Parkinson's.

Various investigations have noted there's no difference between genders or that the figure represents approximately a fifty percent increased risk for men. Furthermore, it has been noted that the condition progresses faster in males and that males are more likey to experience rigidity and tremor, while women are at more threat of gait problems and shuffling. The fact is that universal agreement concerning this issue has not yet been obtained.

Once more, the outcome from scientific studies deviate, however at present, it would appear that one's hereditary play a more notable part in those individuals that will develop Parkinson's disease at a young age. People who have close relatives (parents or siblings) that developed young-onset Parkinson's under age forty, appear to have a heightened risk of developing the disease compared to the general population. This is also the case for juvenile-onset Parkinson's concerning persons who develop the condition below age 20. For those who have relatives who developed Parkinson's disease when elderly, the elevated risk to them of developing the disease would seem insignificant. Then again, viewpoints do differ on this matter. Some studies have noted that if a close relative has/had the condition, the total increased danger of developing Parkinson's disease is approximately 2% - 5% and even as much as 15% in the most severe case.

The figures available concerning the matter of race and Parkinson's disease risk are yet again variable. For instance, certain research indicate that there is no difference whereas others indicate that Caucasians have a higher risk of Parkinson's disease as compared to either Asian Americans or Afican Americans. Aditionally, a few studies have noted that people of European descent appear most prone to typical Parkinson's, whilst non-Caucasians may be at greater risk from a certain type of non-typical Parkinson's, associated with disturbance in judgment. The matter is further confused with other research suggesting where variations are noticed, there would seem to be no distinction between race groups from similar locations.

Apart from Age, Hereditary, Gender and Race factors, the question of environmental variables such as toxins and pesticides are deserving of attention. It would appear that these may play a role in the potential for people aged over fifty years old. Aditionally, there appear to be other possible factors that have an impact on increasing the chance of developing Parkinson's. For example, exposure to certain viruses or bacteria or due to suffering trauma or head injuries. The complexity of the condition is emphasized further by the intriguing statistics from certain studies that indicate that individuals who smoke or drink coffee frequently are at reduced risk of developing Parkinson's!

More info: Parkinson's disease risk factors
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• 5/21/2012 - Depression commonly experienced by Parkinson's patients

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Being diagnosed with any serious and chronic disease is a life changing affair that for most people, leaves them feeling confused and scared by the scale of the situation. Thankfully, with careful continual evaluation of their symptoms by authorized medical practitioners, a Parkinson's patient can possibly survive for decades following medical diagnosis of the condition. As their condition progress, medical care should be tweaked and personalized in order to meet the patients needs. Even though Parkinson's is one of those conditions whereby the reaction to medication and the development of the disease varies considerably between people, a tremendous amount of comfort can be found by conversing with individuals in a similar situation. Indeed there are many Parkinson's associations and outreach groups that can provide support and in some cases real-life assistance. This could benefit both the patient and their network of carers, family and friends significantly.

Although Parkinson's disease is usually is typically associated with several of the 4 classic signs or symptoms, which are tremor, slow movement, balance disturbances and muscle rigidity, a patient may encounter several of other signs or symptoms. Of these, depression and factors that impact the individual's psychological well-being adversely are particularly commonly occuring. It's believed that some 50% of Parkinson's patients will experience depression to some extent and twenty percent will proceed to acquire Parkinson's associated dementia in the late stages of the condition.

Depression can manifest itself in various ways and is very different to the feeling of being 'unhappy' that everyone experiences every now and then. Depression is a serious medical condition that interferes normal everyday life considerably and can demonstrate itself, if left unchecked, in ways which include social alienation, self-damage or perhaps even suicide. Common triggers can be stressful events, chronic social or environmental circumstances, and even the side-effects from medication. Apart from these factors, unnatural brain function may very well be another contributor, and this is the position with Parkinson's disease and the diagnostic trait of reduced amounts of dopamine in the brain of sufferers with the disease.

The treatment for depression may take time to be apparent and because the sufferer may already be taking a combination of drugs to treat other symptoms of the condition, the individual's medical carers will be looking for potential negative side effects of the anti-depression drugs. Treating depression may also include a non-pharmaceutical approach concentrating on the overall well being of the individual. This may include deep relaxation therapy, massage, emotional therapy, aromatherapy and things as simple as taking the person out for a outing.

Fortunately, with correct medical diagnosis and medical care, the damaging problems associated with Parkinson's related depression can be addressed successfully. Even if a patient is not forthcoming in seeking help, one would definitely expect to see warning signs of depression to be picked up on, and tackled effectively, as a result of the regular monitoring of the disease that is a prerequisite of Parkinson's management. There is usually a collaborative effort between the Parkinson's patient's physician and a qualified mental health specialist, preferably a psychiatrist, who is authorized to prescribe appropriate medication. Medication will make the patient feel happier about themselves and their predicament, and allows them to live as every day life as possible and cope with the additional signs or symptoms of the condition more productively.

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• 5/16/2012 - Learning about Parkinson's Disease and ways in which it can impact you

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A characteristic of this Parkinson's disease is the deterioration and death of nerve cells in the brain, and in particular dopamine producing cells, which produces a notable reduction in dopamine function. It must be noted however, that Parkinson's is a non contagious degenerative brain disorder. However, one should note that Parkinson's disease is but one type of Parkinsonism. It's due to this reason, as well as that Parkinson's disease symptoms may be attributable to a range of other conditions, that a concerned individual must always seek qualified medical evaluation.

Signs and symptoms experienced by a Parkinson's disease sufferer and the response to treatment vary individually. The disease in most cases affects an individual's movement and is normally followed by other symptoms for instance shaking, muscle stiffness or rigidity and also an overall retardation or reduction of physical movement. A percentage of sufferers will go on to develop Parkinson's dementia. The change in dopamine activity combined with taking various medications will often impact an individual's behaviour. For example, the affected person can experience fluctuations in mood which includes indifference, depression, panic and anxiety attacks. In addition, alterations in sensation, perception and cognitive processes can manifest themselves.

Even though Parkinson's was first documented as long ago as 1817 by the physician James Parkinson, no cure for Parkinson's disease is presently available. Nevertheless, there does exist a range of medical treatments to tackle the symptoms encountered by the affected person. These vary from pharmaceutical drugs such as L-dopa used to help restore dopamine levels in the brain, through various therapies and natural treatments such as massage, meditation, dance and voice exercises. Nutritional considerations may be considered as there is evidence to suggest a person's eating routine may have an impact on the disease and its rate of progress. In certain situations, surgery involving deep brain stimulation may be carried out. This involves inserting a pacemaker in the brain to produce electrical pulses and dispense them to specific parts of the brain.

As with any medications, the risk of complications from Parkinson's treatments are not to be underestimated, especially when a combination of therapies are employed. Because of the highly individual response of Parkinson's disease patients to treatments, it is important for them to have their condition checked by experts on an ongoing basis. This enables very targeted treatment regimes to be employed for each individual so as to produce an optimal outcome.

Considering that Parkinson's represents the 2nd most commonly occuring neurological condition, the need to discover the underlying cause for the disease and produce a cure is extremely important on many levels. As many as 5% of over 80 year olds develop the condition and the cost to the individual patient, his or her relatives and friends together with the financial outcome to the tax payer is notable. This will be especially so for future generations due to the fact that the life span for the general population is on an ongoing upward trend. Even though the condition appears to have little statistical influence on an individual's life expectancy, it will has a increasing negative impact on an individual's well being. The prognosis for the disease indicates that the greatest danger of death to a Parkinson's disease sufferer is from co-mortality due to injuries sustained from falling over, septicemia or through developing pneumonia.

The future for the disease offers a great deal of hope, given that the search for determining a specific biological marker continues apace and studies into new and novel treatments are being undertaken worldwide.
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