With the pandemic still very much with us it is understandable that all our efforts and focus have been directed at successfully emerging from the pandemic. Whilst we battle the pandemic it is also important that we also focus on other aspects of our own health.
Due to the pandemic, many people may be worried about seeking medical help and guidance and may be unsure of what to do. Especially those who suspect they may have symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease or other conditions. This is why we at the Great Care Company have set out this guide to help you identify the symptoms, what it is and the support availible.
What is Parkinson's disease?
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition that causes damage to the brain. Over time the damage to the brain causes significant neurological problems.
It is thought around 145 000 people live with Parkinson’s in the United Kingdom. That can be roughly boiled down to about 1 in every 500 people.
What are the symptoms of Parkinson's disease?
Most people with Parkinson’s start to develop symptoms when they’re over 50. It is also estimated that around 1 in 20 people develop symptoms of Parkinson’s in their 40s.
Over a period of time a person may develop the following symptoms:
Poor balance and coordination
Slowness of movement
Depression and anxiety
Loss of sense of smell
How do you get a diagnosis for Parkinson's disease?
Receiving a diagnosis for Parkinson’s requires an examination where a doctor will carry out a neurological examination on a person’s change in facial expressions, handwriting, and their movement from walking to standing up.
For further information about Parkinson’s diagnosis follow this link.
What causes Parkinson's disease?
Parkinson’s disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra. This leads to a reduction in dopamine levels in the brain.
Dopamine plays a vital role in regulating the movement of the body. A reduction in dopamine is the cause of many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s. The exact cause of the loss in nerve cells is still unclear.
Living with Parkinson's disease
Parkinson’s disease can have a huge impact on an individual’s life therefore, making sure that someone is supported along the way can help their self-esteem as this is a progressive disease a person needs to find ways to adapt their lifestyle to this. Also, make sure that:
They are taking their medication correctly
Monitoring their symptoms if there are any changes over time
Exploring therapies that specialise in physiotherapy, speech and language therapy
What support is available?
Whether you need support with Parkinson’s or know someone who needs guidance, there is support available. For example, helpline are local advisers who can help you and support with questions you may have.
Local Parkinson groups are a great way to meet those who live with the disease themselves where they can talk to someone who knows what they are going through. Online forums a great way to stay in touch with people where you can write messages share ideas and tips on how to manage Parkinson’s. Especially, now during COVID-19, many people may feel isolated if they have been diagnosed or feel they may have symptoms and are not sure who to turn to in these difficult times.
It is important that there is available support out there regardless. Whether this takes place on the phone or online chat where advice is out there.
There is also, a great way for people to support Parkinson’s disease by joining local groups which are run by volunteers who usually have experience in this condition and who are also, supported by Parkinson’s UK staff who welcome family members, carers and some involved health and social care professionals where many of the groups hold informal group sessions that hold social events and activities to make things relaxed for everyone.