Non-motor Symptoms of Parkinsons
Parkinson’s disease is a disease that mainly affects the secretion of dopamine in the brain cells. The dopamine is a chemical secretion that aids in the communication of brain cells with parts of the body; this causes the sufferer to develop problems connected with voluntary muscle activity. The person is unable to perform basic functional activities like combing the hair. The motor systems usually get all the attention when it comes to the disease, but there are also other dopamine dependent activities that will be affected by the disease.
Sleep deprivation and insomnia are common among the sufferers of the disease; more than 90% of the patients experience insomnia at some point in their disease duration. The people who experience insomnia have trouble getting to sleep and sustaining it. The insomnia which is a nervous disease syndrome also causes the sufferer not to feel refreshed when they wake up; most of them wake up very tired and weak. The insomnia for these people is caused by the urge to get up and go to urinate frequently, the stiffness and soreness also makes the sufferer feel the urge not to asleep. Anxiety and the effects of medication also make sleep difficult. People with insomnia will most likely experience excessive daytime fatigue. A person may also find that they fall asleep without control. This daytime sleepiness is caused by lack of sleep and depression, as well as other drug side effects.
People with this nervous system disorder may also experience sleep apnea. Sleep apnea refers to difficulty in breathing when the person is asleep. The sleep causes insomnia and the lack of oxygen flow to the brain will most likely aggravate the problem and impair activities. This affects more than 20% of the people with the Parkinson’s. People with the disease may also have a disruption of normal REM or rapid eye movement sleep. REM is characterized by rapid eye movements where people may have very vivid dreams. Normally muscles are suppressed during REM sleep such that the person may not act out the dream. Due to Parkinson’s normal muscle suppression may be lacking. The dreamer may act out violent dream, such as trying to defend themselves from unknown assailants – and thus flailing about in the bed.
Most people with the Parkinson disease also have mood problems -- affecting almost all people with the disease during the course of its progress. Parkinson causes many problems in daily activity performance and in turn may affect the people around the patient and their family. The mood swings and anxiety attacks are normal for the sufferer. Both the patient and family must learn to cope.
People with this disorder of the nervous system may also experience speech and thinking problems. The sufferer may experience problems with speech melody, articulation of words and speech volume. For most people this may seem like manner issues but they have a great impact when it comes to social interactions. Since dopamine is usually present in most areas of the brain that may require concentration and reasoning, the sufferer has many problems with reasoning and thinking when it is at lower levels due to the disease.