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What Happens To Untreated Progressive Supranuclear Palsy & When To Go To Doctor For It?

Progressive supranuclear palsy is a type of degenerative disease and it involves the gradual deterioration followed by the death of the brain in its specific volume.

The condition results in loss of balance, dementia, difficulty in eye movement, and slowing of body movement.(1)

In some cases, patients of PSP experience almost similar types of symptoms, as they experience in the case of Parkinson’s disease. However, PSP patients often stand up straight or tilt their heads occasionally backward. On the other side, Parkinson’s disease patients bent towards the forward direction.(2)

PSP or Progressive supranuclear palsy develops due to the deterioration of various brain cells in small but important areas of the brain base. Substantia nigra is an important brain area, which usually gets affected by the disease and thereby, makes various PSP symptoms visible.(3)

What Happens To Untreated Progressive Supranuclear Palsy?

If you leave your condition of progressive supranuclear palsy untreated, your quality of life will affect adversely and your risk related to suffering from severe complications will increase. To avoid such situations, you should consult your doctor as early as possible. Especially, PSP causes difficulty in swallowing food, which further leads to choking of liquid or food items in your airways. This results in the life-threatening disease of pneumonia. (4)

Other than this, if you leave your condition untreated, you will experience a few of the additional complications related to progressive supranuclear palsy disease because of slow yet difficult muscular movements. These include the following-

  • Falling incidents, which cause fractures, head injuries, and other related injuries
  • Difficulty in focusing the eyes resulting in severe injuries
  • Difficulty in looking any bright light and sleeping
  • Impulsive behaviors, like for instance standing up without any assistance may result in sudden falls.(5)

When To Go To Doctor For Progressive Supranuclear Palsy?

In The Case Of Mild Symptoms: If you experience a few of the mild symptoms related to the progressive supranuclear palsy condition, you should consult your doctor to rule out other similar diseases. The initial symptoms are as follows-

Sudden balance loss at the time of walking, which leads to repeated falls usually in the backward direction

  • Stiffness in neck and other surrounding muscles
  • Excessive level of tiredness
  • Chances in your personality, like apathy, irritability and mood swings
  • Sudden behavioral changes, like poor judgment and recklessness
  • Photophobia i.e. dislike towards bright lights
  • Difficulty to control the eye muscles
  • Double vision or blurred vision

In The Case Of Mid-Range Symptoms: With time, initial progressive supranuclear palsy symptoms become severe. In this situation, you experience a few of the additional symptoms, for which your consultation with the neurologist becomes essential. The new symptoms of the problem are-

  • Slurred, quiet or slow speech
  • Dysphagia or issues in swallowing of liquid or food items
  • Reduction in the blinking reflex, which causes drying out and irritation of the eyes
  • Blepharospasm i.e. involuntary closing of one’s eyes, which lasts up to many hours
  • Disruption in sleeping patterns
  • Memory problems and slowness in the thoughts
  • Headaches, joint pain, back pain, and neck pain

Worsening of balance and related mobility issues during the mid-stage indicates impossibility in walking and thereby, a patient requires a wheelchair for movement. Other than this, controlling eye muscles become highly difficult and thereby, increases the risk related to slip and fall incidents. Moreover, progressive supranuclear palsy makes daily tasks, like having foods and reading books problematic for patients.(6)


To conclude we should say that if you leave the problem of progressive supranuclear palsy conditions untreated, you will end up with various complications.

Therefore, to avoid complications, you should consult your doctor if you experience initial symptoms. Later on, you should schedule your appointment with a neurologist when your PSP and its symptoms reach the mid-stage.


Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 27, 2020

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