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Parkinson's Disease Archive Questions

Below are Parkinson's Experts’s answers to Parkinson's Disease questions
received through the Ask the Expert feature.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended
to be a substitute for individual medical advice in diagnosing or treating a
health problem. Please consult with your physician about your specific health
care concerns.

Now displaying records 1 to 15 of 42.

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Q : 1

My dad has Parkinson's Disease. Recently he's been doing a really deep stare, his face freezes up. Is this "normal" in Parkinson's patients? This is happening more and more.

Your father may be experiencing hypomimia, which is when facial muscles become quite rigid and "freeze" up. This is quite common in individuals with Parkinson's Disease.

Q : 2

Are Parkinson's diseases patients able to walk at the last stage?

In Stage 5 of Parkinson's disease, the patient is not able to take care of himself, but may still be able to stand or walk.

Q : 3

Will the Neupro patch cause or add to mental problems?

The Neupro skin patch delivers the drug, rotigotine, a dopamine agonist. Therefore, Neupro has the same side effect profile as other dopamine agonists like pramipexole and ropinirole as well as the potential for skin reactions at the site of the patch. All dopamine agonists may cause side effects including hallucinations, delusions, fatigue, sleepiness, dizziness, impulse control disorders.

Q : 4

Is there a way to truly determine if I have Parkinson's or Essential tremor (ET)?

A medical history and complete neurological and physical examination are required to make a diagnosis. There is a very expensive (and considered experimental by the insurance companies) test called a DAT scan that can confirm the loss of cells in the subtantia nigra (but people can have loss of these cells and not have or may never have the clinical symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Discuss your concerns with your treating physician or ask for a referral to a movement disorders specialist.

Q : 5

Are there any PD medications that do not have side effects?

Unfortunately, there are no medications  for Parkinson's disease, or for anything else, that don't have the possibility of side effects. Different factors affect the risk of side effects in any given Parkinson's disease patient, such as age, disease severity, and the other medical problems that might be present. Thankfully, most side effects are reversible when the related drug is stopped. Also, one might allow for a risk of side effects in order to get more relief from PD symptoms. In general, I recommend a thorough discussion with your physician about the potential benefit of any given medication and the possible risks. By weighing those two things, you can figure out what is right for you.

Q : 6

What can help with speech and muscle tightness of the mouth?

We would recommend working with a speech therapist.

Q : 7

How quickly does Parkinson's advance?

Parkinson's disease usually advances slowly. Age of onset of symptoms is a significant factor in the speed of change. There are forms of parkinsonism that advance quickly. A complete physical/neurological evaluation is required to obtain the appropriate information to determine the exact diagnosis and therefore the expectations of change.

Q : 8

Do CT and MRI scans show any changes in Parkinson's disease?

CT and MRI scans are not diagnostic for Parkinson's disease.

Q : 9

Is there a cure for Parkinson's disease? How long can a person live after being diagnosed with PD?

At present, there is no cure for Parkinson's disease although ongoing research continues. Parkinson's disease is not a life-limiting condition and most patients can live a normal life, although their quality of life will be compromised.

Q : 10

When someone is said to have died from complications of Parkinson's, what do they usually die from?

There can be many reasons but the most common are pneumonia or sepsis due to urinary tract infection.

Q : 11

Can Parkinson's disease cause pneumonia and how can it be avoided?

No. Pneumonia is caused by bacteria or a virus. It usually occurs when a person is compromised by other medical conditions. Good nutrition, regular exercise, and avoiding sick people are the best way to avoid getting pneumonia. There is also a vaccine available.

Q : 12

Is there choking with Parkinson's disease?

Patients with PD can experience difficulty swallowing resulting in choking. This needs to be evaluated by the treating physician.

Q : 13

I was diagnosed with parkinsonism a year ago which my doctor believed was drug-induced. I lost my memory for a week. Because of having had parkinsonism, am I likely to get Parkinson's as I age?

Just because you had drug-induced parkinsonism, does not mean you will eventually get Parkinson's disease. It can take up to one year for drug-induced parkinsonism to completely resolve. If it does not resolve by then, then it is likely that one has actually Parkinson's disease, possibly exacerbated by the medication.

Q : 14

What existing and new drugs are suitable for treating Parkinson's disease?

The following website discusses existing drugs for the treatment of Parkinson's disease:

Q : 15

Are there different types of Parkinson's Disease? Are some more aggressive?

The progression of Parkinson's Disease can be dependent on the age at which a person is diagnosed. Some forms of Parkinsonism are more quickly debilitating and progress more quickly.

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