Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that primarily affects the nervous system. Symptoms generally start slow, with barely noticeable tremors, and escalate to slow movement and slurred speech. However, research shows that Parkinson’s is most commonly linked to conditions including Alzheimer’s and a dementia-related disease referred to as dementia with Lewy bodies.
Today, Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Cincinnati Parkinson’s care, is going to share some information about the conditions related to Parkinson’s to help families better care for loved ones with this degenerative disease. Understanding the possible side effects and linked conditions will help families better plan for the future and how to preserve quality of life for their loved ones.
Understanding Lewy Bodies
The link between Parkinson’s and some forms of dementia comes from the presence of certain abnormal proteins in the brain discovered by Dr. Frederick H. Lewy, known as Lewy bodies. These abnormal proteins develop inside nerve cells of both Parkinson’s and dementia patients.
While problems with thinking and reasoning are often associated with dementia, these same symptoms appear in patients with Parkinson’s disease, becoming more severe in time in both dementia and Parkinson’s patients. Conversely, some patients with dementia develop problems with movement. This overlap of symptoms has led a growing number of experts to suggest that Parkinson’s and dementia with Lewy bodies may be different expressions of the same underlying protein abnormalities.
Diagnosing DLB and Parkinson’s
Dementia care experts and doctors tend to opt for a diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies when symptoms commonly associated with dementia are presented along with increased difficulty with movement. If dementia symptoms haven’t appeared within at least a year or so after an initial diagnosis, patients are usually characterized as having Parkinson’s.
Managing the Disease
Since a conclusive diagnosis can only be made during a postmortem autopsy, a determination of which condition a patient has comes down to a doctor’s best judgment based on detectable symptoms and the patient’s medical history. As with dementia, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. However, many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s can, at the very least, be controlled by certain medications if the condition is diagnosed during the early stages.
If you have an aging loved one with Parkinson’s or dementia, reach out to a Care Manager from Home Care Assistance of Cincinnati today. Our highly trained and compassionate caregivers provide senior care Cincinnati families trust, and are able to assist seniors one a one-to-one basis to help manage symptoms of both Parkinson’s and dementia. For more information, reach out to us at 513-891-2273 and find out how our specialty caregivers can promote health, happiness and independence for your aging loved one.