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Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson`s/Mother-in-Law

07/03/2000

Question:

OAm caregiver to live-in 74 mother-in-law with Parkinson`s. Other conditions are (please forgive spelling-do not have medical background): heart attack with by-pass surgery, insulin dependent diabetic with related eye and feet problems, colitis, diverticulitis, refulx, belching and flatulence, hypothyroidism, and hiatel hernia, mild dementia.

Could you address how Parkinson`s effects the digestive functions, memory and activities of daily living. Should we be prepared for nursing assistance or nursing home? Are there certain foods we should avoid or limit to help her be more comfortable? Will swallowing become a problem? Will she become harder for us to manage because of mental problems? Is the dementia a separate conditon or part of Parkinson`s?

Thank you for your time and answers. Additional advice on how we can best care for her (and forgive me, ourselves - would be appreciated.)

Answer:

Over time PD will affect all activities of daily living. How rapidly it will progress in a given patient is difficult to answer. The dementia can be a part of PD in the more advanced stages. However, if it happens early in the course of the disease it may be realted to a Parkinson`s Plus syndrome rather than typical Parkinson`s disease. Consulting a neurologist experienced in treating PD patients will be most useful.

For more information:

Go to the Parkinson's Disease health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Arif Dalvi, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati