Do all Parkinson’s Patients Develop Dementia?
It would be untrue to say that all Parkinson’s patients develop dementia. Nevertheless, according to the statistics an estimated 50 to 80 percent of patients having Parkinson’s disease eventually develop dementia as the disease progresses. The onset of dementia on an average starts in about 10 years after developing Parkinson’s disease.
Certain patients with Parkinson’s disease are at higher risk of developing dementia than others. Some of the vital risk factors for developing dementia after Parkinson’s disease may include older age, severity of symptoms and presence of mild cognitive impairment. Other additional symptoms which act as risk factor for developing into full fledged dementia include-
- Excessive sleepiness in the daytime.
- Presence of hallucination in the absence of other dementia related symptoms.
- Presence of postural instability and gait which include freezing that occurs suddenly, difficulty in initiating movement and problems with balancing and frequent falling.
Why is Proper Follow-Up Required for Patients with Parkinson’s Disease?
A person with Parkinson’s disease is supposed to go for regular checkups to his health care professional for the following reasons-
Treatment Progress: The check-ups help the health care professionals to check if the treatment procedure is working or not and also provides an insight about the necessary adjustments to be made.
Detecting New Issues- Regular follow-ups help in detection of new problems with cognition, behavior or mood which might need special treatment.
Planning the Care- The follow-ups provide a platform for caregivers to discuss the problems with respect to the patient’s care.
Presence of Dementia: It can also be known if the patient is susceptible to dementia with the help of regular checkups.
Dementia: It may happen so that the person with Parkinson’s disease developing dementia may not be able to take care of himself or take decisions about his healthcare. Thus, caregivers should be extra careful and follow the regular follow-ups with the doctor.
Can Gene Therapy Help Prevent Dementia In Patients Having Parkinson’s Disease?
The efficiency of gene therapy can still be said to be in its infancy stage. Ongoing human and animal trials of gene therapy are still going on. They involve methods to insert genes in the neuronal cells in order to reduce Parkinson’s disease symptoms by causing these cells to produce dopamine. Since researches are still going on, it is not very clear if such therapy actually prevent Parkinson disease and dementia associated with it till now.
Can Dementia Be Prevented In Any Way For Patients With Parkinson’s Disease?
Despite various scientific researches there are no known ways of preventing dementia in Parkinson’s disease till now. As a precautionary measure patients with Parkinson’s disease are urged to exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle regularly. This may delay or reduce the onset of dementia, though this is not proven scientifically.
Are Support Groups Available For Patients With Parkinson’s Disease?
Support groups and counseling facilities are available for patients who suffer from Parkinson’s disease as well as their caregivers.
Emotional Release: The support groups allow the patient to express his feelings and try reducing the mental burden in some way.
Counseling: These support groups help in counseling the patients in order to help them cope better with their problems.
Motivation for Caregivers: The support groups also aim at helping the caregivers of such patients by providing them with strength that they may need.
Different Ways of Support: The support groups and counseling team meet the patients in person or may converse on telephone or over the internet. Various organizations may provide details of such groups.
It has been seen that people with Parkinson’s disease who have symptoms of hallucination eventually have dementia. It is extremely important for patients and their caregivers to go for regular checkups to their doctors for proper diagnosis and treatment.