First Signs of Parkinson’s You May Have Missed

caregiver assisting senior man with Parkinson's

These first signs of Parkinson’s can be overlooked, leading to a delay in diagnosis.

What comes to mind when you think of the first signs of Parkinson’s disease? Tremors? Rigid muscles? While these are certainly common symptoms associated with Parkinson’s there are a number of lesser-known signs and symptoms that family caregiver should be aware of. Knowing about these less-familiar symptoms is important in achieving a timely and accurate diagnosis. If your loved one displays any of the following, alert his or her physician for further investigation:

  • Cognitive decline: Loss of memory, concentration and focus, and problems with completing tasks can occur in those with Parkinson’s, ranging from mild impairment to a more serious type of dementia known as PDD (Parkinson’s disease dementia).
  • Sleep disruptions: The inability to fall or stay asleep at night can result in excessive fatigue during the day, a cycle that can be difficult to reverse.
  • Speech impairments: Speech may become slurred, and the person’s voice volume may decrease, making communication challenging. Speech therapy can help, as can, surprisingly, singing.
  • Blood pressure concerns: Known as orthostatic hypotension, individuals with Parkinson’s can experience dizziness and lightheadedness as a result of lowered blood pressure during position changes, such as when standing up or sitting down.
  • Loss of smell: Often the first noticeable change in someone developing Parkinson’s, it’s also one of the most commonly unrecognized links to the disease.
  • Anxiety and depression: While anxiety and depression can be a reaction to a Parkinson’s diagnosis, these conditions can also manifest as symptoms of the disease.
  • Dystonia: Painful, prolonged muscle contractions that cause abnormal movements and postures, such as a foot turning inward, can be a symptom of Parkinson’s

Providing care for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease can be challenging, but partnering with a professional in-home care team like Responsive Home Care ensures seamless, high quality care at all times, and allows family members to take much needed time away to care for themselves. In addition to respite care, our compassionate care team can assist with a variety of tasks to help those diagnosed with Parkinson’s maintain dignity and independence, such as:

  • Personal care needs including bathing, dressing and using the bathroom
  • Light housekeeping to keep the home tidy and free from fall risks
  • Laundry service to provide fresh linens
  • Medication reminders to ensure proper adherence
  • Accompanied transportation to physician and physical therapy appointments
  • Running errands to pick up prescriptions
  • Planning and preparing nourishing meals
  • Friendly and engaging conversation to keep spirits lifted
  • Encouragement to participate in doctor-recommended exercises
  • Engaging activities such as card and board games, reading, discussing historic and current events
  • And much more

As the most experienced and best home care company in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and the surrounding communities, families have trusted Responsive Home Care since 1994. To learn more about how we can help a senior you love navigate a Parkinson’s diagnosis, contact us at (954) 486-6440. For a full list of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.

Parkinson’s Disease: The Accidental Discovery That’s Curing Mice

Parkinson's disease on physicians tabletResearchers at the UC San Diego School of Medicine who thought they were examining connective tissue cell protein received quite a shock when they alternatively stumbled upon a therapy to eliminate signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in mice. Not just that, but the therapy might be useful in a number of conditions that call for the need to replace damaged tissue: diabetes, spinal cord injuries, possibly even cardiovascular illnesses.

The research centered on a siRNA technique, in which researchers grew fibroblasts (a type of connective tissue cell) in petri dishes while silencing the protein PTB. After several weeks, they were surprised to learn a large portion of fibroblasts had changed into neurons.

Lead author of the study, Xiang-Dong Fu, explained, “Researchers around the world have tried many ways to generate neurons in the lab, using stem cells and other means, so we can study them better, as well as to use them to replace lost neurons in neurodegenerative diseases. The fact that we could produce so many neurons in such a relatively easy way came as a big surprise.”

Utilizing this new discovery, the researchers tested their theory on Parkinson’s disease in mice and found that movement and functionality were completely restored for the remainder of the mice’s lifetime.

Obviously, the process to see if these outcomes transfer to humans takes some time and extreme care to be certain of safety, nevertheless for those struggling with the disease along with other neurodegenerative conditions, it is cause for hope.

As Fu says, “It’s my dream to see this through to clinical trials, to test this approach as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease, but also many other diseases where neurons are lost, such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases and stroke. And dreaming even bigger – what if we could target PTB to correct defects in other parts of the brain, to treat things like inherited brain defects?”

While we look forward to the next steps in this exciting breakthrough, you are able to count on Responsive Home Care for experienced, highly skilled home healthcare for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Several of the many ways we can assist include:

  • Healthy meal planning and preparation
  • Light household chores
  • Grocery shopping and other errands
  • Personal care, such as bathing/showering, getting dressed, etc.
  • Friendly companionship
  • And a whole lot more

To learn how we can help a senior you love with in-home care in Hollywood, FL and the surrounding area, reach out to us at 954-486-6440 to learn more, and to set up a free in-home consultation.

Could New Parkinson’s Diagnostic Tests Be Developed Based on Our Sense of Smell?

Parkinson’s Diagnostic Tests - home health careft lauderdale

Parkinson’s diagnostic tests may be impacted in a surprising way.

You may very well not recognize her by name, but you’ve possibly come across her story. Joy Milne has an especially specialized talent: detecting Parkinson’s disease through her nose. Her gift came to light when she sensed what she describes as an “overpowering sort of nasty yeast smell” in her husband of 10 years. Soon noticing other differences in her husband, such as personality and mood differences, he ultimately sought medical assistance, and after undergoing Parkinson’s diagnostic tests, the disease was confirmed. 

Subsequently, upon walking into a Parkinson’s support group meeting, that exact same scent permeated the room – despite the fact that reportedly only Joy was able to sense it. In fact, she was also able to recognize varied degrees of the scent – some whose scent was weak, while for others, it was more powerful. With both her own and her husband’s medical backgrounds (she a nurse and he a physician), this knowledge was definitely meaningful and called for further action.  

Her story led her to help Tilo Kunath, a Parkinson’s disease specialist at the University of Edinburgh, with the aim of creating a tool to provide earlier diagnosis – and in the long run, treatment – of Parkinson’s.  

While initially doubtful of the probability of Parkinson’s being identified through scent, he was open to further exploration after learning about the results dogs were having in identifying the odor of cancer in individuals. He then developed an approach to assess her talents, by supplying her with a random selection of t-shirts – half of which had been worn by a person clinically diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and half by individuals without the disease – and, her accuracy rate was astonishing. In fact, she missed the mark on only one of the shirts, worn by someone without Parkinson’s, but who was later diagnosed with the disease as well.  

Kunath says, “Imagine a society where you could detect such a devastating condition before it’s causing problems and then prevent the problems from even occurring.” Dr. Thomas Hummel of the Technical University of Dresden’s Smell & Taste Clinic, adds that while the idea is fascinating, there are still a number of questions to first sort out. 

Parkinson’s disease, in conjunction with a variety of other chronic health issues, can be more successfully managed through the help of the Ft. Lauderdale caregivers at Responsive Home CareGive us a call at 954-486-6440 to find out if our services are available in your area and to learn more about how we can help you.