Two Types of Parkinson’s Disease

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Parkinson’s symptoms develop when approximately 80 percent of the neurons that produce dopamine become damaged or die. Statistics indicate approximately one million adults in the United States live with the debilitating disorder. While many people have heard about Parkinson’s, few may realize there are two types of the disease.

Primary Parkinson’s

Approximately 80 to 85 percent of those diagnosed with Parkinson’s have the primary form. There’s typically no known cause for why this type of the disease develops. However, seniors experience some level of symptomatic relief after starting dopamine supplementation.

Many seniors in the early stages of Parkinson’s are able to live on their own, but they may need a bit of help with everyday activities, such as exercising and preparing nutritious meals. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable in-home care. Families trust Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent and manage serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.

Secondary Parkinson’s

The other type of Parkinson’s may be referred to as atypical or Parkinson’s plus. This form of the disease doesn’t respond to dopamine medications. However, the cause is generally known. There are different reasons the secondary form of Parkinson’s may develop. These underlying causes have specific names:

• Corticobasal degeneration (CBD)—Corticobasal degeneration occurs due to an accumulation of tau proteins in the brain, which leads to dopamine neuron damage. The degeneration process begins on one side of the brain and travels to the other side. CBD is the most uncommon form of secondary Parkinson’s.

• Drug-induced Parkinson’s—This disorder may develop when seniors take certain medications that include antipsychotic formulations. Older adults begin exhibiting symptoms similar to the primary form of the disease. However, the symptoms gradually subside within weeks or months of discontinuing the prescription causing the problem.

• Multiple system atrophy (MSA)—This disease process occurs secondary to excessive production of a protein known as alpha-synuclein in the brain. The protein damages multiple regions of the brain. The damage takes place faster than with other forms of Parkinson’s, yet the symptoms are similar. The accumulation of proteins may clump and form structures referred to as Lewy bodies. MSA is associated with Lewy body dementia, and it might also develop secondary to infectious processes, toxins, or traumatic brain injury or in conditions that cause a lack of oxygen to the brain.

Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Mesa seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

• Normal pressure hydrocephalus—Symptoms of this disorder are exhibited in the lower body and include walking difficulty and urinary and bowel incontinence. The condition is treated by extracting spinal fluid or diverting the fluid via lumbar puncture.

• Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)—Progressive supranuclear palsy is one of the most common reasons for the development of secondary Parkinson’s. The disorder and symptoms typically occur in older adults. The symptoms also progress rapidly. The disease process develops due to tau protein accumulation, which eventually causes dementia.

• Vascular Parkinson’s—This disorder develops when a senior experiences a series of small strokes or transient ischemic attacks. As with normal pressure hydrocephalus, the symptoms are commonly restricted to the lower region of the body. However, memory loss is also common. The disease occurs more frequently in older adults and in people living with diabetes.

Caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s can be extremely challenging, and a compassionate professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Mesa homecare services agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services. Rely on the professionals at Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate care for your loved one. Give us a call today at (480) 699-4899 to learn about our flexible in-home care plans.