Anonymous asked in HealthDiseases & ConditionsOther - Diseases · 1 decade ago

parkinson's disease consequences?

suppose you know someone who has had it for 6 years

suppose that person is still driving and able to live on their own

is this an encouraging sign?

does this disease cause an end of life as a guarenteed fact within a given time frame?

it hurts to ask but i want to know

5 Answers

  • Mags
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Your question should actually be encouraging to other People with Parkinson's and their families. It demonstrates that there is life after the diagnosis

    Parkinson's disease is a chronic progressive neurodegenerative brain disorder affecting both motor and non-motor functions. That said, with the proper medications, supplements, therapies to slow progression and the luck of a slower progression as well, a PwP can function fairly normally for many years.

    While other people have more rapid progression or suffer from PD depression and/or do not aggressively pursue exercise programs or diet and nutritional supplements to augment medications. Those people consequently find their muscle strength waning and symptoms gaining as their reaction times slow. Some find their vision doubles or blurs.

    If a person is able to live on their own and drive safely, I would find that an encouraging sign.

    While I appreciate the lengthy cut and paste of the problems that can be encountered if a PD patient drives, each case is individual. As long as my husband did not wear the wrong glasses to drive, he was able to drive for about 5 or 6 years. Although he could have driven after that time, I felt that since he did not want a handicapped sticker but tired easily from longer parking lot walks, he would be better served if I drove him. Although he requires prism lenses for reading and computer work, his road vision and reaction times were good - no different than the average older driver. He keeps me informed of everything that is coming up. He's very quick on traffic light changes.

    Every PD patient is on a different schedule - PD has no timetable. What it does have are some general progression scales. What you will be able so see from the charts at the site below is that progression is not measured in years but in two ways: symptom progression and activities of daily living. These scales do not specifically mention cognition but that does appear on the linked UPDRS scales.

    There are no guarantees with PD and there can be sudden changes brought on by other conditions but exacerbated by the PD condition. As time goes by there can also be other developments in the disease itself.

    There is more hope for slowing progression of PD if treatment is started as soon as possible than there was even 10 years ago. With the addition of Azilect to the medication mix in 2006, with the addition of other delivery systems for medication such as the Neupro patch for middle and later stages, with the possibility of a new GDNY/BDNF treatment on the horizon within the next 2 1/2 years, with some symptom improvement for DBS candidates and more research for improvement in the pipeline, with the revelation of the significance of Forced Exercise, with improvements in stem cell research practice, the prognosis is more optimistic.

    Will the disease ultimately cause the death of the patient? It is possible unless something else happens before "what is written" (in terms of your question) At this point in time, a person with PD will progress through the disease pretty much as the scales show unless he/she and the medical team are aggressive, open-minded and creative in treatments and therapies. Eventually a good support system of family and friends may be necessary.

    If you go to PatientsLikeMe you will see that many people who have had PD for a much longer than the subject of your question are living and functioning fairly well.

    Sure there are issues but there are also solutions. Some work for some people. There is a smile, a sense of humor, caring & sharing and an appreciation for being alive that pervades the site.

    A last note: We live in an area of the inner ring and middle ring suburbs where there are many older people (higher population density so lots of younger people too) I don't think that my husband was driving any worse than the good older drivers. If he had been driving as badly as some of the healthy young and older people, I would have curtailed his driving immediately.

    While his reaction time might have been slightly slowed, that affects defensive driving but it did not reflect less than average driving skills.

    I mention this because it is horrible thing to remove that lifeline, that person identity unless it is actually necessary. There are plenty of problems on the road but having PD is not an ipso facto for not letting an early stage PD patient drive.

    When I am on the road, I watch for the careless cell-phone driver, the people who drive stupidly with no regard for others. I know that a PD driver or an older driver might be driving a bit slower but I don't worry that they will cut across my bumper without looking. They aren;t going to cause an accident because they are careless of stupid...unless they already were that kind of driver. And that is really the point.

    Statistics or not, not everyone, healthy or not is going to be as good defensive a driver. My husband was and would also report the near misses to me when he had to do just what I do every day when I drive around here.

    But it is a responsibility of the patient, friends, family and medical teams to be alert for changes in the PwP which indicate that they should no longer be on the road. At that point it will not be enough to simply take away the keys. It will be time to help them with alternatives.

    The projected life span for a PwP is said to be just about as long as it would have been without Parkinson's. That's what is written. It is not always true...and that hurts.

    Source(s): co-administrator
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  • Amber
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    The Parkinson's Reversing Breakthrough?

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  • 1 decade ago

    Everyone is different & so is their treatment.

    Most people manage very well for a long time.

    You need support from your GP; a neurologist who specialises in Parkinson's & there is a Parkinson's disease society & Parkinson's Disease Nurses who will be able to inform you about all support available.

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Yeah,my grandfather had this disease. The symptoms were same are told by you.But he was physically strong,so he never used a wheelchair. Last 2-3 years of his life were very difficuly.The medication didnt helped much.I think most of all,a strong willpower is required.

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  • rosieC
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Driving when you have

    Parkinson's Disease

    For most people, driving represents freedom, control and competence. Driving enables most people to get to the places they want or need to go. For many people, driving is important economically – some drive as part of their job or to get to and from work.

    Driving is a complex skill. Our ability to drive safely can be affected by changes in our physical, emotional and mental condition. The goal of this brochure is to help you and your health care professional talk about how Parkinson’s may affect your ability to drive safely.

    How can Parkinson’s disease affect my driving?

    Parkinson’s disease can cause your arms, hands, or legs to shake – even when you are relaxed. It also can make it harder for you to keep your balance, or start to move when you have been still. If you have Parkinson’s and you try to drive, you may not be able to:

    *react quickly to a road hazard;

    *turn the steering wheel; or

    *use the gas pedal or push down the brake.

    Can I still drive with Parkinson’s?

    Most likely, “Yes,” in the early stages of the disease, and if you take medicines that control your symptoms.

    Answers to the following questions can all be found in the mentioned site below:

    What can I do when Parkinson’s disease affects my driving?

    What if I have to cut back or

    give up driving?

    Who can I call for help with transportation?

    Where do I find out more about Parkinson’s?

    There are changes that can affect driving skills as we age.

    Changes to our Bodies

    Over time your joints may get stiff and your muscles weaken. It can be harder to move your head to look back, quickly turn the steering wheel, or safely hit the brakes

    .Your eyesight and hearing may change, too. As you get older, you need more light to see things. Also, glare from the sun, oncoming headlights, or other street lights may trouble you more than before.

    The vision problems from eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, or glaucoma can also affect your driving ability.

    You may also find that your reflexes are getting slower. Or, your attention span may shorten. Maybe it’s harder for you to do two things at once. These are all normal changes, but they can affect your driving skills.

    While health problems can affect driving at any age, some occur more often as we get older. For example, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes may make it harder to drive.

    How the Disease Affects Driving Skills

    Many Parkinson’s patients experience a slow decline in cognitive skills as well as motor coordination. These two deteriorating areas are not conducive to safe driving. Problems with spatial relationships are common in the disease and it is determining the spatial relationship on the road (i.e. how far ahead a car is in front of you, traffic lights and gauging exit ramps) is very important

    Mental clarity is important as well as it helps you make split second decisions behind the wheel that could help you avoid accidents. When there is mental confusion, accidents are inevitable and other people’s behaviors on the road (i.e. honking horns and hand gestures) could only serve to aggravate the situation. The tremors and rigidity in the limbs can also affect driving and slow down reaction times. To avoid accidents behind the wheel, sometimes you have to move fast and Parkinson’s disease can slow down those reaction times

    Assessing your Driving Skills

    If you are like anyone else with Parkinson’s disease, you want to retain your independence as long as possible, so what is the ultimate in independence? Being able to drive! However, you have to take it upon yourself to be responsible enough to know if you cannot handle driving. And if you are not sure, you may have to contact the American Medical Association, one of the many Parkinson’s disease foundations, AARP or any other entity that would have literature about driving under the influence of a disease. A lot of this literature has check lists to follow and gives you things to watch out for that you may not be aware of.

    Should Parkinson's Patients Drive?

    Latest Study Adds to Research That Disease Impairs Ability

    By Sid Kirchheimer

    WebMD Health NewsDec. 9, 2002 -- A growing body of scientific research is confirming what common sense implies -- Parkinson's patients can be dangerous behind the wheel. Yet aside from a doctor's suggestion, there is nothing to prevent most licensed patients with this degenerative disease to drive.

    Parkinson's is caused by a gradual but steady deterioration of nerves in the part of the brain that controls movement, causing muscle rigidity, tremors, poor balance and slowness in movement and reaction. In later stages, it can cause memory loss. It affects about 1 1/2 million Americans, usually after age 50.

    AD/PD 2009: Safe Driving Program Aimed at Patients With Parkinson’s

    March 16, 2009 (Prague, Czech Republic)

    Source(s): professional nurse
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