April Is Parkinson's Awareness Month; Do You Know The Symptoms?

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April Is Parkinson's Awareness Month; Do You Know The Symptoms?

April is Parkinson's Awareness Month and we at Arbor Therapy are wondering if you would recognize the symptoms of this disease in yourself or loved ones. We have included some of the most common symptoms below:

The primary symptoms of Parkinson's disease are all related to voluntary and involuntary motor function and usually start on one side of the body. Symptoms are mild at first and will progress over time. Some individuals are more affected than others are. Studies have shown that by the time that primary symptoms appear, individuals with Parkinson's disease will have lost 60% to 80% or more of the dopamine-producing cells in the brain. Characteristic motor symptoms include the following:

* Tremors: Trembling in fingers, hands, arms, feet, legs, jaw, or head. Tremors most often occur while the individual is resting, but not while involved in a task. Tremors may worsen when an individual is excited, tired, or stressed.

* Rigidity: Stiffness of the limbs and trunk, which may increase during movement. Rigidity may produce muscle aches and pain. Loss of fine hand movements can lead to cramped handwriting (micrographia) and may make eating difficult.

* Bradykinesia: Slowness of voluntary movement. Over time, it may become difficult to initiate movement and to complete movement.

* Bradykinesia together with stiffness can also affect the facial muscles and result in an expressionless, "mask-like" appearance.

* Postural instability: Impaired or lost reflexes can make it difficult to adjust posture to maintain balance. Postural instability may lead to falls.

* Parkinsonian gait: Individuals with more progressive Parkinson's disease develop a distinctive shuffling walk with a stooped position and a diminished or absent arm swing. It may become difficult to start walking and to make turns. Individuals may freeze in mid-stride and appear to fall forward while walking.

* Dysarthria (difficulty speaking): Have "slurred" or "mumbled" speech that can be hard to understand. Some common characteristics, speaking softly, either slowly or very fast, reduced movement of the tongue, lips, and jaw. You may notice a robotic or choppy voice quality and can be hoarse or breathy.

* Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing): this can happen at any stage of Parkinson disease. Signs and symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include: difficulty swallowing certain foods or liquids, coughing or throat clearing during or after eating/drinking and feeling as if food is getting stuck. As the disease progresses, swallowing can become severely compromised and food/liquid can get into the lungs, causing aspiration pneumonia. Aspiration pneumonia is the leading cause of death in PD.

The domain-general mechanism of timing is a “jack of all trades” mechanism that manifests itself in fine motor control, sleep cycles, speech patterns, ability to attend over time and overall efficacy of brain communication. This timing in the brain, or temporal processing, has been shown to be deficient in several common conditions, including Parkinson’s. Interactive Metronome (IM) is the only training program that improves timing in the brain in an organized, systematic, flexible and engaging format. Arbor Therapy is proud to be a Certified Interactive Metronome Provider

Once there is a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, Arbor Therapy’s team of experienced therapists can provide a variety of skilled services to address all the client’s needs. Occupational therapy is used to help people with Parkinson's Disease to continue with their daily tasks as the disease progresses. Occupational therapists can help evaluate and plan these activities that are crucial to the well-being and independence of people with Parkinson's Disease. Physical Therapy can also improve strength and flexibility and decrease pain and stiffness for those who have Parkinson's Disease. Speech Therapy will assist people improve their speech and language skills, voice quality and swallowing ability. The SLP (Speech Language Pathologist) will also help determine the least restrictive diet consistency with the least risk of aspiration with both solids and liquids.

Contact us at (480) 935-0614 to schedule your appointment today!