Parkinson’s itself is not a fatal disease or a deadly one. However, it may reduce the longevity of its patients. Moreover, the problem progresses quickly in old patients and may result in severe incapacity within only 10 years to 20 years. Old patients tend to deal with freezing of muscles and huge decline in daily functions as well as brain functions as compared to young patients. If Parkinson’s disease starts without tremor signs, the disease becomes severe when the tremors appear.
Parkinson’s disease may severely impair quality of life in people belonging to any age group. Along with the motor symptoms, such as difficulties in motion and presence of tremors, Parkinson’s may cause a large number of non-motor symptoms, which have emotional and physical impact on the patient and their family members.
If Parkinson’s disease is Not Deadly then Why Does It Reduce the Longevity of Its Patients?
Parkinson’s disease may not be a deadly disease, but the problems caused by it will surely reduce the longevity of its patients:
Swallowing problems i.e., dysphagia will definitely cause trouble. The loss of muscular control within the throat not only impairs swallowing and chewing, which may lead to malnutrition but also involves a risk related to aspiration pneumonia.
Behavioral and Emotional Problems
Depression is common among patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. The process of the disease itself will cause changes in brain chemicals affecting well-being and mood. Anxiety is common among Parkinson’s patients and may remain present along with depression. Some of the drug treatments, such as the combination of levodopa and dopamine may cause compulsive behavior, such as increase sexuality, gambling, shopping and increase in sexual activity.
Patients with pre-existing tendencies related to novelty seeking behavior and a personal or family history associated with abuse of alcohol may more likely develop compulsive form of gambling. Deep brain stimulus, abbreviated as DBS procedure for younger patients suffering from Parkinson’s’ disease may even increase the risk related to compulsive gambling among patients with a history of gambling activity.
Memory and Cognitive Problems
Defects in language, thinking and problem solving skills may take place early or later during the course of the cognitive and memory problems in Parkinson’s disease. These problems may take place from the disease or because of medicine’s side effects. Patients dealing with Parkinson’s disease are of relatively slow in the detection of associations, although once they identify them they are able in applying their knowledge to many other concepts.
Problem of Dementia
Dementia problem takes place in more than two-third of patients dealing with Parkinson’s disease, particularly in those people, who develop the problem after crossing 60 years age. Dementia indicates a significant loss in cognitive functions, which include judgment, memory, abstract thinking and attention. It likely takes place in old age people, who usually suffered from major depressive disorder. Parkinson’s disease marked with rigid muscles instead of tremor and early hallucinations even increase the risk related to dementia. Visual hallucinations may take place in the form of side effect due to dopamine medicine.
Excessive sleepiness during the daytime, insomnia and other similar types of sleep disorders are a few common problems with Parkinson’s patients. This takes place both because of the disease and drugs associated with its treatment. Bladder problems may even contribute to the problem of sleeping disturbances. Most of the patients may even suffer from the problem of leg cramps and syndrome of restless legs during the nighttime. A few medications used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease may result in vivid dreams and hallucinations.
Bladder and Bowel Complications
Constipation is a common problem associated with Parkinson’s disease. It takes place because of weakness in muscles, which may slow down the functions performed by the human digestive system. In addition, weakness in the muscles of pelvic floor may create difficulty in defecation. Patients suffering from the problem frequently deal with urinary incontinence, including increase in frequency and urge to urinate. Even in some cases, the problem may cause retention of urine or incomplete empty of urinary bladder.
Lastly, the Parkinson’s disease and its treatments may result in the loss of sexual desire among both women and men.
The above mentioned symptoms and problems associated with Parkinson’s disease will make the patients die sooner and that is why some people think that Parkinson’s itself is a deadly disease.
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