An impaired sense of smell may end up being an important telltale sign of Parkinson's disease. There is a lot of evidence still being studied that point to the fact that a diminished sense of smell (called hyposmia) or total loss of smell (called anosmia) may show up in the earliest stages of the disease, several years before motor coordination is affected.
This is big news in the medical community as new tests can be created related to sense of smell that can then predict the disease. Early intervention can help greatly in controlling symptoms of the disease.
Doctors have concurred that one of the earliest symptoms of Parkinson's is indeed loss of smell or the inability to recognize particular odors. In test studies, participants were graded on their sense of smell with a variety of items with each item garnering them a point.
Several types of medications exist to treat and manage the symptoms of Parkinson's disease but they do not prevent the progression of it. A lot of research is going on to find protective treatments that delay the onset of Parkinson's or even stop it all together.
The problem is medical researchers do not quite know why the disease even starts, although they know the mechanics of how it happens.
There is a part of the brain called the substantia nigra which has nerve cells that produce a chemical called dopamine. This dopamine transmits messages to the brain, specifically the part that involves motor coordination.
When these nerve cells start to die off or become impaired, the dopamine is no being transferred, causing an interruption in motor coordination. It is the why's of the nerve cell loss that medical researchers are trying to uncover.
Parkinson's disease for years has been best treated with a variety of medications such as levodopa, and a variety of dopamine agonists that help the body produce enough dopamine to keep the symptoms like tremors and shaking to a minimum. The only alternative to medications has been surgery like deep brain stimulation.
However, for the past year or so, there has been a new alternative that passed with FDAs approval. It is a skin patch geared towards the disease in its early stages. Called Neupro, this skin patch release the medication needed to tone down symptoms. This is a great move for people with the disease that have trouble swallowing pills.
Parkinson's can be a very devastating disorder. Not just for the people who experience it, but also their relatives. It is a draining disorder that takes its course on a person, and when it is done, the person is typically reduced to a shell of himself.
This can be a difficult thing to think about, but it's something that thousands, if not millions of people must think about.
The final stages of Parkinson's are among the most difficult of the entire ordeal. Before we can talk about the last stages, we'll first talk a bit about what Parkinson's is.
What is Parkinson's?
Parkinson's isn't a cancer or something that is, as far as medical researchers know, passed on from generation to generation. It is a brain disorder in which several areas of the body are affected.
People who have Parkinson's may first have subtle symptoms of the disorder before it turns into a full blown problem.
What are the Symptoms?
Parkinsons Dementia is a severe effect of ParkinsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s which can range from mild cognitive impairment to severe dementia. We hear a lot about both ParkinsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Disease and Dementias but who gets Parkinsons Dementia?
Currently only about 3% of the population develop ParkinsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s disease. And about 90% of all diagnosed cases are in people over the age of 60 and risk of the more serious Parkinsons Dementia increases with each year after the age of 60 up until the age of 75 when it takes a sharp drop.
But here is the scary news Ã¢â‚¬â€œ they expect that number to double from 3% to 6% in the next few years. So what are the risk factors?
If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re a man you have a twice the risk of developing Parkinsons Dementia than women. Scientists think that it may be estrogen that women have in their bodies that protects them from the chemical changes that ParkinsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s causes.