Parkinson’s Disease is best known as a disorder related to motor functions of a person. There are many symptoms that commonly occur in people suffering from PD like tremors, palsy, slowed movements and rigidity in the body. But apart from these common symptoms, Parkinson’s Disease patients suffer from other complications too including:
Major Complication of Parkinson’s Disease
Anxiety & Depression
Chronic conditions often come with a major lifestyle change which leads to anxiety and depression. Depression is almost like a byproduct of the lifestyle that comes as a result of the disease and can be stated as direct result of it. Another reason of both anxiety and depression is the chemical changes in the brain like the hormone serotonin which regulates mood.
Difficulty In Swallowing
One of the most common life-threatening complications of Parkinson’s Disease is Pneumonia. It is a result of the leakage of food or liquids into the lungs due to weakening of muscles of the body. Patients experience difficulty in swallowing food or liquid and appetite gets affected drastically.
Some patients of Parkinson’s Disease can produce excess amounts of saliva. Excessive saliva can cause drooling and unhygienic oral condition due to which the mouth and lip muscles get prone to infections as well as easy cuts due to softening of the outer layer. In rare cases people also suffer from under-production of saliva which dries the mouth and causes even more difficulty in speaking, stretching the tongue and jaws and swallowing too.
Parkinson’s Disease is mainly a movement disorder. But in some conditions it can also affect the side of brain which controls thought and memory. Between 50 to 80 percent patients of PD develop certain amounts of protein deposits in the brain known as Lewy Bodies. These deposits are found majorly in the people suffering from dementia.
Dementia due to Parkinson’s causes symptoms like memory loss, lack of concentration, poor judgment, hallucination and delusions, irritated behavior, disturbance in sleep and anxiety. These conditions usually start after many years of the onset of the disease and thus cause a condition known as Parkinson’s Dementia.
Parkinson’s Disease patients often suffer from problem especially during the night time which heavily influence the sleep cycle of the person. Apart from the anxiety and depression that cause insomnia, there are other complications that lead to sleep disorders like nightmares, acting out in dreams and confusion in judgment of reality in sleep.
Other physical issues causing Sleeping Disorder include:
Frequent Urinating Urgency
Parkinson’s Disease patients suffer from frequent urinating needs specially during the night time and the sleep cycle gets disrupted.
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
Even though, it is rarely seen in PD patients, it increases the stress level both physically and mentally often causing over-exhaustion and as a result sleeplessness.
This is one of the serious complications related to Parkinson’s Disease in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. During sleep, one can even choke. This complication also causes loud snoring and restlessness after waking up.
Bladder & Bowel Problems
The brain sends signals to your bladder and bowel system to help you effectively work on the urgencies. Most of the Parkinson’s Disease patients suffer from lack of signals from brain to the required areas thus, causing bladder and bowel movement issues. This results in problems like:
- Constant urge to urinate
- Urine leaking when you laugh, sneeze, cough or exercise
- Weal urine stream
- Stool leakage and fecal incontinence
Involuntary Movements (Dyskinesia)
This complication is not a result of the disorder itself but of the medications that you take for its treatment. It often occurs in people who take high doses of Levodopa or have been on medication for a many years. It starts affecting the patient when the dosage starts wearing off. One can treat this complication too by consulting the doctor for prolonging medications of dosage.
Fatigue & Pain
When any of the complications occur in the patient, they directly or indirectly make the person tired. Sleeplessness at night is one of the major causes for the person suffering from PD to feel tired through the day. Parkinson’s Disease causes not just normal tiredness, it causes exhaustion to such extent at time that the patient might not even have the energy to get out of bed.
About 10% of people experience pain right from the beginning of the first symptom. Almost every PD patient experiences pain at some point of time. Here are a number of factors that trigger pain in the patients including muscle contractions and abnormal processing of pain signals in the brain. The pain can be in the form of aching, burning, sting and pulsing.