Parkinson’s is a complex disorder of the nervous system that causes a variety of symptoms in its sufferers. The most common symptoms of Parkinson’s are tremor or shaking of the limbs, rigidity and stiffness, slow movement, and a distinctive stooped posture and shuffling gait. Parkinson’s can also cause psychiatric symptoms, such as depression and sleep disturbances, as well as digestive and urinary tract problems. Parkinson’s symptoms may progress rapidly, or over a number of years – even decades. What causes Parkinson’s in the first place, and what causes it to progress quickly or slowly, is not well understood. However, there is a general pattern to the progression of symptoms.
In the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, symptoms are usually mild. Although limb tremors and movement difficulties can cause inconvenience and annoyance, they are usually not debilitating at this point. In the earliest stages of Parkinson’s, symptoms may be isolated to one side of the body. Changes in movement, facial expressions, and posture may be noticeable to people close to the person with Parkinson’s, but are not yet causing severe problems.
In the early stages of Parkinson’s, activities of daily living are rarely compromised. Although sufferers may experience anxiety about the way their bodies are changing, they can usually still go to work, perform ordinary household duties like cleaning, cooking, and yard care, and maintain an exercise regimen. At this stage, when levels of disability are minimal, it’s important for people living with Parkinson’s to make plans for later stages, when the disease will make everyday activities more difficult. Actively cultivating a support network of friends, family, and other people living with Parkinson’s is extremely helpful, as is finding information on treatment options and services available to Parkinson’s sufferers. Planning for in-home care or assisted living may seem premature at this point, but is much easier than waiting until the disease has progressed in severity. Maintaining a healthy diet and staying active with moderate exercise can also greatly improve quality of life and help to ameliorate symptoms.
Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care of Parkinson’s disease. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.