Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder that negatively affects mobility, dexterity, and cognitive health. There currently isn’t a cure for Parkinson’s, but doctors have come up with a wide variety of treatments that can minimize or delay some of the most prominent symptoms. Here’s a closer look at the average life expectancy of a person with Parkinson’s and a few steps that can be taken to increase longevity after being diagnosed with this disorder.
Parkinson’s Disease Defined
Doctors have classified Parkinson’s as a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that damages certain parts of the brain. When an individual has Parkinson’s, the area of the brain responsible for movement slowly begins to deteriorate. This condition also impacts the production of dopamine, which can result in a wide variety of physical and mental symptoms.
Average Life Expectancy
Many people are surprised to hear Parkinson’s isn’t a fatal disease. This disorder doesn’t cause death on its own, but Parkinson’s can cause health complications that reduce life expectancy. According to the American Academy of Neurology, the average life expectancy for a person with Parkinson’s is now 23.3 years after the onset of the disease. Just one or two decades ago, the life expectancy after onset was less than 10 years, but that has all changed because of innovative therapies and advanced medication.
An in-home caregiver can be a fantastic asset for a senior with Parkinson’s. When considering in-home care, families should make sure their senior loved ones have the resources they need to maintain their independence and remain healthy. Trusted in-home care professionals can assist seniors with daily tasks like cooking, bathing, and exercise, and they can also encourage them to focus on healthier lifestyle habits.
Early Warning Signs
This disease is usually diagnosed after the age of 60, but some people develop mild symptoms years before that. In the earliest stages of Parkinson’s, people usually notice problems with their hands. They might have a difficult time writing or manipulating small items. Others feel as if they’re losing their strength or can no longer move as quickly as they used to. While those symptoms can be caused by many different health conditions, they’re very common among people with Parkinson’s. As this disease progresses, people may experience symptoms that impact their quality of life, including muscle tremors, impaired posture and balance, and speech problems.
Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving home care. Ashburn, VA, Assisting Hands Home Care are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.
Initial Diagnosis & Treatment
There isn’t a single test for diagnosing Parkinson’s disease, which is why most doctors send individuals to neurologists to be screened for this disorder. To make an accurate diagnosis, a neurologist will usually schedule multiple blood tests, cognitive tests, and brain scans.
Once an individual has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, the medical team will come up with a long-term treatment plan. Most people with Parkinson’s are prescribed levodopa, a compound that’s an amino acid precursor of dopamine, and it can mitigate some of the worst symptoms of Parkinson’s. Deep brain stimulation is another treatment that has become very popular over the last few years because it can trigger the production of dopamine in some people.
Those who would like a better prognosis should also make lifestyle changes. Physical therapy and healthy nutrition won’t cure Parkinson’s, but they can boost quality of life and increase life expectancy.
A professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for a senior with Parkinson’s who needs help with transportation, exercising safely, and completing daily tasks. Families looking for top-rated Ashburn senior care providers can reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones. To create a customized in-home care plan for your loved one, call us at 703-423-0783.
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