First Signs of Parkinson’s Disease and the Importance of Treating it Early

Parkinson’s is a disease that affects many elders and can lead to other complications with insufficient treatment.  It affects the brain by slowly halting the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates bodily movement and function as well as emotional control.  Symptoms generally take years to develop, and will progress steadily if the disease is not treated.  Parkinson’s itself is not fatal, but its complications can be serious and lead to health and safety risks in the home.

Parkinson’s generally progresses in stages, and each stage comes with more symptoms that make day-to-day independent living more of a challenge.  The hallmark early sign of Parkinson’s disease is a tremor, often on one side of the body.  A tremor is an uncontrolled, constant movement of a body part, commonly a hand or arm.  This unfamiliar, uncontrollable movement can make even simple daily tasks more difficult and time-consuming to complete.  Parkinson’s may also cause changes in posture, walking ability, clarity of speech, and facial expressions. As the disease progresses, its unsteadying effect on balance and mobility tremendously increases the risk of falling. Without treatment, the difficulty in completing activities of daily living, combined with the increased hazards of moving about the home, can threaten seniors’ ability to continue aging in place.

While there is no cure for Parkinson’s, various treatments and exercises can be effective at slowing its progression and maintaining a better quality of life. Physical therapists can create custom home exercise programs with your loved one’s specific Parkinson’s needs in mind.  Various aerobic activities and exaggerated movements will help stimulate muscle memory and confidence in mobility, reducing the impact of symptoms alongside fall risk.  Speech-language pathologists can also work with the patient, again, doing exercises that help with muscle memory and can strengthen speech.

The effects of Parkinson’s can be moderated, but not reversed, which is why early detection and intervention are so important to slow its progression. Celtic Hospice and Home Health’s trained professionals know how to best treat your loved one right from the comfort of his or her own home.  Our commitment to clinical excellence ensures you receive care from compassionate nurses and therapists with the most advanced and expert skills and training. To discover a plan of care coordination that fits your personal health needs, to ask more questions, or to discuss your specific situation with a nurse, call 1.888.923.5842 or 800.642.6099 for our Illinois office.


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