Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease are both progressive neurodegenerative disorders. With early and ongoing treatment from the team at eRiver Neurology of NY, LLC, people with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s can maintain optimal functioning and the highest quality of life possible. To learn more about your treatment options, call one of the offices in Poughkeepsie, Fishkill, Hudson, or Rhinebeck, New York, or book an appointment online.
Parkinson’s disease develops when the nerves in a specific area of your brain degenerate and die. These nerves produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates your body’s movement. When the cells die and dopamine levels drop, you develop movement problems.
Though Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive disease, the rate of progression and symptom severity vary with each person.
The primary symptoms of Parkinson’s include:
Tremors typically begin in your fingers or hands. The shaking is usually worse when resting your hands, and then it improves when using your hands.
As Parkinson’s progresses, you can develop many different symptoms, such as dragging your foot, a stooped posture, changes in your handwriting, a soft or flat voice, and loss of facial expressions.
About 20-40% of Parkinson’s patients develop hallucinations or delusions. Hallucinations occur when you see, hear, or feel something that isn’t really there, while delusions are irrational or illogical thoughts that aren’t based in reality.
Medication to alleviate your symptoms is the foundation of your Parkinson’s treatment. Your provider may prescribe medications that replace, mimic, or improve the effect of dopamine. You may also need medications to alleviate tremors.
If you can’t tolerate medications or they don’t help your symptoms, your doctor may talk with you about surgery to stop the nerve signals that trigger motor symptoms.
Degenerative brain disease includes four types of dementia that get progressively worse, causing memory loss and a decline in thinking and language abilities. All four types develop due to the death of nerves in the brain:
Lewy body dementia develops as proteins called Lewy bodies accumulate in the brain. These proteins sometimes build up after a person is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, causing Parkinson’s dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of degenerative brain disease, develops as neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques progressively destroy nerve cells in the brain.
As more nerves are damaged, your symptoms advance through stages. The earliest Alzheimer’s symptoms include:
During the middle stage, daily tasks become more difficult, sleep habits may change, and you forget important information, such as your address.
In late-stage Alzheimer’s, you aren’t aware of your surroundings, personality changes appear, and you may become aggressive or hallucinate. Ultimately, you lose the ability to walk, sit, and swallow.
Though there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, medications may reduce your symptoms and slow down disease progression. Behavior management and counseling often help in the advanced stage when difficult behaviors, mood swings, and hallucinations appear.
Exceptional care for Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease is available at eRiver Neurology of NY, LLC. Call or book an appointment online today.
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