Parkinson's Dementia Symptoms
Parkinson's disease and dementia are progressive medical conditions that affect the central nervous system. Learn about the symptoms, causes, and risk factors for Parkinson's dementia, and how it differs from Alzheimer's disease.
Parkinsons dementia symptoms and Alzheimer’s disease are progressive and debilitating medical conditions that affects the central nervous system. This is believed to be due to the decrease in the chemical dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is the chemical researchers believe that allows us to move smoothly as well as controlling when we want to move. As the dopamine levels decrease in the body, movement becomes difficult.
Changes occur in the brain cells, the clumping of a specific protein that does not break down within the cells. This clumping of cells is identified as Lewy Bodies. The presence of Lewy bodies in a cell is considered the microscopic identifier that researchers use as indicator for Parkinson’s disease. This is still under research and presently there is no blood test that will give a definitive diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease, at the present time, is diagnosed by a comprehensive neurological examination to rule out other medical conditions. Muscle weakness, balance, and reflexes will be assessed as well.
The progression of the disease occurs over time, affecting the muscles in the body resulting in problems with balance, coordination and movement. Many complain of fatigue, pain, apathy and depression. In the later stages of the disease, swallowing and speaking become a problem. Dementia may develop over time.
More on Parkinson's Dementia Symptoms…
Dementia is not a disease, but rather a group of symptoms that affect the thinking abilities of an individual. Parkinson’s dementia symptoms is seen in many individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Dementia most likely occurs on individuals over the age of 60 years old and the chances of developing dementia increase, as person gets older.
Parkinson’s disease is generally found in individuals over the age of 60 years old. It has been found that an individual with Parkinson’s has a 5 times greater chance of developing dementia than the normal population. The longer an individual lives with Parkinson’s disease, the greater the chances of developing dementia become. It is difficult to determine if dementia is a caused by the Parkinson’s disease or if there is an overlapping of other degenerative brain conditions, such as vascular dementia. Medications that treat Parkinson’s may also contribute to dementia like symptoms.
Dementia in most individuals with Parkinson’s is different from the dementia symptoms that most associate with Alzheimer’s disease. In Alzheimer’s disease, a person loses the ability to remember information. Short and long term memories are affected.
Parkinson’s dementia symptoms present with: problems of concentration and focusing, the inability to plan and prioritize or the inability to self-discipline. This results in a person that may have loss of impulse control and initiate inappropriate social and sexual behaviors at times. The ability to recall, retrieve and relearn information is affected and may be slowed versus totally lost.
Individuals with Parkinson’s disease often have insight into their memory issues than a person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, even though they may not be able to control them.
Parkinson’s sufferers are more likely to develop dementia if they are over the age of 70 years old, have a history of severe psychological stress, and have a history of heart disease.
What's the Difference between Lewy Body dementia and Parkinson's Dementia?
Lewy Body Dementia is a less common form of dementia that occurs in Parkinson’s disease, but it can occur alone. It is often referred to as Lewy Body Disease or LBPD. It involves the formation of abnormal deposits called Lewy bodies which accumulate in nerve cells and cause them to die off gradually, leading to cognitive decline.
The symptoms are similar to those experienced by someone with Parkinson's Dementia and may include confusion, memory problems, visual hallucinations, falls due to loss of balance, slow movement and stiffness. Additionally, Parkinson's Dementia patients may also experience depression and anxiety while Lewy body dementia patients may have more severe fluctuations in their level of alertness throughout the day.
Treatments for both Parkinson's Dementia and Lewy Body Dementia are similar, although Lewy body patients may require more medications to manage their symptoms.
Ultimately, Parkinson's Dementia and Lewy Body Disease can be a debilitating condition that causes significant cognitive decline in those living with it. It is important for individuals and caregivers of Parkinson's Dementia or Lewy Body Dementia to understand the signs and symptoms so they can get appropriate care and treatment as soon as possible.
It is also important to seek professional help when necessary to ensure the best quality of life for those affected by Parkinson's or Lewy Body Disease.
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