Understanding the Two Forms of Parkinson’s Disease

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Two Types of Parkinson’s Disease in Huntsville, AL

Approximately 50,000 new cases of Parkinson’s are diagnosed every year. The disorder is more prevalent in men, but the risk of developing the disease increases in both genders with age. The majority of people don’t realize there’s more than one form of the disease.

Many seniors in the early stages of Parkinson’s are able to live on their own, but they may need a bit of help with everyday activities, such as exercising and preparing nutritious meals. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable home care services. Families trust Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent and manage serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.

Primary Parkinson’s

Up to 85 percent of seniors with Parkinson’s are diagnosed with the primary form of the disease. While researchers understand the disorder develops secondary to a loss of dopamine-producing neurons, they don’t know what triggers the issue. Seniors with the primary type of the disease typically control symptoms by taking dopamine replacement medications.

Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Huntsville seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Parkinson’s Plus

Parkinson’s plus, or secondary Parkinson’s, develops due to physiological changes that are more easily diagnosed. The secondary type of disorder also usually progresses faster and doesn’t respond to dopamine. There are many different reasons Parkinson’s plus might occur:

• Corticobasal degeneration (CBD) – This disorder develops similar to Alzheimer’s. The housekeeping mechanisms in the brain that remove excess tau proteins malfunctions for some unknown reason. The proteins accumulate and attach to and tangle the neurons, disrupting normal communication. The issue starts on one side of the brain, but the protein buildup soon begins in the other hemisphere, too. CBD is one of the most uncommon forms of Parkinson’s.

• Drug-induced form – Prescription medications used to treat cardiac arrhythmias, depression, epilepsy, nausea, and psychosis have the potential to trigger Parkinson’s. However, once the person stops taking the medication, the symptoms gradually diminish over the course of weeks or months.

• Multiple system atrophy (MSA) – This form of Parkinson’s occurs secondary to an excess of alpha-synuclein proteins in the brain. Alpha-synuclein deposits damage the neurons in multiple regions of the brain. The MSA form of Parkinson’s also progresses quickly. The proteins may clump and form Lewy bodies early in the disease process. Lewy bodies are associated with a type of dementia that involves a loss of judgment, memory, rational thinking, and other cognitive functions.

• Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NSA) – This issue occurs when cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain. The symptoms experienced include difficulty walking as well as bowel and bladder incontinence. Afflicted seniors may also exhibit memory loss. Symptoms generally subside after the removal of excess fluid via lumbar puncture or a surgically implanted stent.

• Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) – PSP remains one of the most common forms of Parkinson’s plus. The disorder usually occurs in older adults. However, once developed, the disease progresses rapidly. It’s similar to CBD in that it begins secondary to an accumulation of tau proteins. Seniors often exhibit dementia, but cognitive impairment becomes apparent in the later stages of the disorder.

• Vascular – This issue develops after a senior experiences a number of small strokes. The damage caused in the brain exhibits as symptoms similar to Parkinson’s. The symptoms vary according to the region of the brain experiencing trauma, but affected seniors commonly have difficulty with balance and walking.

Caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s can be extremely challenging, and a compassionate professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Huntsville homecare services agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner when your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging. Call us today at (256) 716-9940 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.


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