Posted by : Ed Lott, Ph.D., M.B.A.
What’s It Like to Live With Parkinson’s Disease?
If you represent people chronically injured due to paraquat exposure, there’s a good chance they will have Parkinson’s disease, a neurological disorder. Studies have found that paraquat, an herbicide, damages nerve cells. One 2011 study estimates those exposed to paraquat have 2.5 times the risk of having Parkinson’s compared to the general population.
What are Your Clients with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) Going Through?
PD symptoms can develop slowly over many years and can vary from person to person, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation. Those with PD may experience:
- Physical tremor, usually at rest
- Bradykinesia (slow movement)
- Rigid limbs
- Gait and balance problems
- Sleep disorders
- Lost sense of smell
- Cognitive impairment
PD has no cure. Treatments include medication and surgery. Though PD isn’t fatal, complications can be. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked PD complications as the 14th highest cause of death in the US. People usually feel symptoms only after the disease is advanced.
Someone with PD could have a high quality of life, if treatments are successful. They can include dopaminergic medications (drugs that influence the neurotransmitter dopamine’s function) and surgery. Those with PD use these medications because they have low levels or are missing dopamine in the brain. Treatments won’t slow disease progression though they can improve PD’s symptoms.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (it sends messages between nerve cells). Dopamine allows brain cells (neurons) to communicate and control movement. In those with PD, a type of neuron degenerates, so it has no signal to send. With less signals, the body makes less dopamine, causing a chemical imbalance resulting in physical symptoms.
PD Can Impact Every Part of Your Life
Living with PD can be difficult, given that it’s not curable and can severely impact your life. Those with the disease may be in denial. They can feel helpless and angry. Many withdraw from those they know, according to Parkinsons.org.
Denial can show itself by avoiding doctor’s appointments or refusing to take medications. The person may hope the diagnosis was a mistake, so there’s no need to see physicians or take drugs. Getting past the denial, taking advantage of treatments, and changing one’s lifestyle can make a big difference for those with PD.
It’s not easy to go from being strong, independent, and healthy to dealing with a progressive, chronic, incurable condition. The only thing one can do to make the best of one’s life is to learn to live with the disease. That’s easier for some than others.
PD patients often try to hide their symptoms or don’t understand what they might mean. Because of fear that family and friends will treat them differently, those with PD may not tell others of their diagnosis. They may be concerned about discrimination at work, children seeing them as weak and frail, and spouses fearing for the future.
The key, which can take some time, is to understand PD isn’t a sign of weakness. Neither is getting medical, emotional, or psychological help. Many patients suffer high levels of anxiety, anger, and depression. It can be an emotional response to the disease or a physical manifestation of chemical imbalances in the brain. Seeing a mental health professional or attending support groups may be needed to get by.
Living with PD is stressful. All PD symptoms get worse when the person is stressed, so it can become a feedback loop. Overdosing on medications to get through stressful days is common. The person needs to find better ways to eliminate or better cope with stress.
Many of those with PD work. Depending on the symptoms, accommodations may be necessary. Some stressful functions may be performed by someone else, hours might be reduced, working at home might be better than working in an office. Work stress may be unavoidable because the person may need the income and medical benefits that pay for treatment.
PD impacts relationships. Chronic conditions can increase stress between spouses to the point of divorce. Sex can be impacted by the fatigue caused by the disease and caring for a spouse with it. Symptoms can make sex physically difficult, including neurological issues that can cause erectile dysfunction. Those with PD may feel shame about their bodies and how they look, so they may lose interest in sex.
As you can see, PD is a terrible disease that can rob what should be a healthy person of much physical and emotional well-being and enjoyment of life. For those whose PD is caused by paraquat, all the compensation they can get will be well-deserved.
ZeroRisk Cases Can Help Your Law Firm Grow
If your firm currently works on or is seeking paraquat exposure cases, we can provide you the clients you need. Why put up with the problems and expense of marketing and advertising to reach these prospects? ZeroRisk Cases will reach out to potential clients ready, willing, and able to retain your legal services.
Contact us for a quote. Call 833-937-6747 or use our Request A Quote form.
ZeroRisk Cases, LLC
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