Some Info on Parkinson’s Disease Dementia
If your loved one has been recently diagnosed with either Parkinson’s disease or Parkinson’s disease dementia, you might have some questions about what these terms means as well as what kinds of symptoms to expect. Here is a somewhat condensed explanation of both Parkinson’s disease and the dementia that often develops through Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disease, meaning that it affects the nervous system. Because of this, Parkinson’s disease affects movements of the body, causing tremors, mainly in the hands and fingers or stiffness while walking. This disease is caused by damage to the part of the brain that produces dopamine, which sends messages to the part of the brain that affects the body’s movements. Parkinson’s continues to get worse over time. It usually affects seniors, but it can also develop at a somewhat earlier age in rare cases.
Signs and symptoms for Parkinson’s disease include tremors, usually beginning in the hands or fingers, changes in speech and writing, and loss of automatic movements, such as blinking or smiling. Although there is no cure to the disease, there are treatments to help reduce or slow down the symptoms.
Dementia often ends up affecting those with Parkinson’s disease and is known as Parkinson’s disease dementia in this case. Dementia is a disorder of the mental processes that affects the memory, personality, and reasoning of the person with the disorder.
Parkinson’s disease dementia develops in people who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at least a year before. Since Parkinson’s disease is caused by changes to the brain, these changes eventually begin to affect not only movement but also memory and the ability to pay attention.
Some of the most common symptoms for Parkinson’s disease dementia include irritability, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances. It is thought that Parkinson’s disease dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies are both linked to the same underlying changes in the brain. However, for now they are being diagnosed as two separate forms of dementia.
Dementia does not occur in every case of Parkinson’s disease, and there is no way to know if it will end up affecting a certain individual. If your loved one has Parkinson’s disease, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she will also eventually have dementia. However, make sure to care for your loved one and to watch for any changes in symptoms. Most importantly, make sure that your loved one gets medical attention and speaks to the doctor about any questions or concerns.