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There are approximately 127,000 people in the U.K and one in ever 500 of them has Parkinson’s disease.  The most age group that this seems to be targeted at is the over 50, but sadly the younger age bracket does not escape this debilitating disease and one in 20 are under the age of 40, who can also contract this.

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition where the nerve cells in the brain have died off.  Experts believe that this is a lack of the chemical called Dopamine that causes this to happen.  Without Dopamine people will start to find that their movements become slower, so it takes them onger to do things. The loss of these cells causes the symptoms of Parkinson’s to appear.

Symptoms –

  • Tremor
  • Rigity
  • Slowness of movement

As well as the movement being affected, other symptoms of Parkinson’s may be –

  • Fatigue
  • Tiredness
  • Pain
  • Depression
  • Bladder/Bowel Problems
  • Eye Problems
  • Falls
  • Dizziness
  • Freezing
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Skin, scalp & sweating problems

All of which can have an impact on the day to day lives of people concerned.

Mental Health Problems –

  • Anxiety
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations & Delusions
  • Memory Problems

The symptoms someone has and how quickly the condition develops will differ from one person to the next.  This condition does not directly cause somebody to die, but as the Parkinson’s progresses and increased amount of care and support may be required, although many people can maintain a good quality of life with limited care or treatment for several years.

Different types of Parkinson’s

  • Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease
  • Vascular Parkinsonism
  • Drug-induced Parkinsonism
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Inherited Parkinson’s
  • Juvenile Parkinson’s

Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease

Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease or Parkinson’s, is the most common type of Parkinsonism.  Unlike some other form which have specific causes it is not known why idiopathic Parkinson’s occurs.  Idiopathic means that the cause is unknown.  The mainl symptoms of idiopathic Parkinson’s are tremor, rigidity and slowness of movement.  Symptoms and the rate at which the condition progresses, will vary from person to person.  This sometimes can make diagnosis difficult.

Vascular Parkinsonism

Vascular Parkinsonism is one of the a typical form of Parkinsonism affects people with restricted blood supply to the brain, usually older people who have problems with diabetes.  People who have had a stroke may experience vascular Parkinsonism.

Symptoms of vascular Parkinson’s may include difficulty speaking, making facial expressions or swallowing.  Other signs can include problems with memory or confused thought, cognitive probelms and incontinece.  Other signs can include problems with memory or confused thought, cognitive problems and incontinence.

Like Parkinson’s, vascular Parkinsonism is a progressive condition, with symptoms developing and changing over time.

Drug-induced Parkinsonism

A small number (7%) of people diagnosed with Parkinsonism have developed their symptoms following treatment with particular medication.  Drugs known as neuroleptic drugs, used to treat schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders block dopamine.  These drugs are thought to be the biggest cause of drug induced Parkinsonism.

Dopamine is a chimical in the brain which allows messages to be sent to the parts of the brain that co-ordinate movement.  The symptoms of Parkinson’s will appear when the level of dopamine falls.  The symptoms of drug induced Parkinsonism tend to be static.  Only in rare cases do they change in the manner that the symptoms of Parkinson’s do.

Most people will recover with months and often within hour or days, of stipping the drug that caused the dopamine block.

Dementia with Lewy bodies

Dementia with Lewy bodies is similar, in some ways, to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.  Symptoms differ slightly from Parkinson’s and include problems with memory and concentration, attention, language and the ability to carry out simple actions.

People who have dementia with Lewy bodies commonly experience visual hallucination and some Parkinson’s type symptoms, such as slowness of movement, stiffness and tremor.

Dementia with Lewy bodies is also a progressive condition, which means that the symptoms can become worse over time.

Inherited Parkinson’s

There is no conclusive evidence that Parkinson’s is a hereditary condition that can be passed on with families, apart from, some exceptionally rare cases.  It is thought that although ti is not directly inherited, some people many have genes that that increase the possibility of developing Parkinson’s, when combined with other factors, such an environment toxins or viruses.