I need your help too. I would like to ask you to donate to this wesite with as much cause as I have put into it which as of now is my entire life. But why just donate you ask. Well, it does help the cause to better people with Parkinson's disease and I'm fine with that. I need your support to this website every day. But I'm not getting the support this website deserves. Yes, this website gets many hundred of hits a day to look and enjoy the art and photography here but very few ever make a donation or buy prints. Make no mistake about it at all, I am here to sell my work and I would love to do that. That is my first priority. Please if you like something here and want to buy it by all means do so. The monies which go into this website do go to helping fight this disease. By chance though if you don't want to purchase anything here that is fine. I do ask in return if you have enjoyed my pages here to donate to the cause by going to the donation page and doing so if you don't purchase anything. Otherwise my work at this point is in vein. I don't make a living off of this page. I never have and to me that is sad but I do wish to make a difference with this website and that can only be done if you buy something or donate to the cause. Here is why I want to make a difference.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time. Nearly one million people in the US are living with Parkinson's disease. The cause is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage its symptoms.
Parkinson’s involves the malfunction and death of vital nerve cells in the brain, called neurons. Parkinson's primarily affects neurons in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra. Some of these dying neurons produce dopamine, a chemical that sends messages to the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination. As PD progresses, the amount of dopamine produced in the brain decreases, leaving a person unable to control movement normally.
The specific group of symptoms that an individual experiences varies from person to person. Primary motor signs of Parkinson’s disease include the following.
- tremor of the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face
- bradykinesia or slowness of movement
- rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk
- postural instability or impaired balance and coordination
These areas of the brain correlate to nonmotor functions such as sense of smell and sleep regulation. The presence of Lewy bodies in these areas could explain the nonmotor symptoms experienced by some people with PD before any motor sign of the disease appears. The intestines also have dopamine cells that degenerate in Parkinson’s, and this may be important in the gastrointestinal symptoms that are part of the disease.
- Resting Tremor: In the early stages of the disease, about 70 percent of people experience a slight tremor in the hand or foot on one side of the body, or less commonly in the jaw or face.
- Bradykinesia: Bradykinesia means “slow movement.” A defining feature of Parkinson’s, bradykinesia also describes a general reduction of spontaneous movement, which can give the appearance of abnormal stillness and a decrease in facial expressivity. Bradykinesia causes difficulty with repetitive movements, such as finger tapping. Due to bradykinesia, a person with Parkinson’s may have difficulty performing everyday functions, such as buttoning a shirt, cutting food or brushing his or her teeth. People who experience bradykinesia may walk with short, shuffling steps. The reduction in movement and the limited range of movement caused by bradykinesia can affect a person’s speech, which may become quieter and less distinct as Parkinson’s progresses.
- Rigidity: Rigidity causes stiffness and inflexibility of the limbs, neck and trunk. Muscles normally stretch when they move, and then relax when they are at rest. In Parkinson’s rigidity, the muscle tone of an affected limb is always stiff and does not relax, sometimes contributing to a decreased range of motion. People with PD most commonly experience tightness of the neck, shoulder and leg. A person with rigidity and bradykinesia tends to not swing his or her arms when walking. Rigidity can be uncomfortable or even painful.
- Postural Instability: One of the most important signs of Parkinson’s is postural instability, a tendency to be unstable when standing upright. A person with postural instability has lost some of the reflexes needed for maintaining an upright posture, and may topple backwards if jostled even slightly. Some develop a dangerous tendency to sway backwards when rising from a chair, standing or turning. This problem is called retropulsion and may result in a backwards fall. The normal response is a quick backwards step to prevent a fall; but many people with Parkinson’s are unable to recover, and would tumble backwards if the neurologist were not right there to catch him or her.
In addition to the cardinal signs of Parkinson’s, there are many other motor symptoms associated with the disease.
- Freezing: Freezing of gait is an important sign of PD that is not explained by rigidity or bradykinesia. People who experience freezing will normally hesitate before stepping forward. They feel as if their feet are glued to the floor.
- Micrographia: This term is the name for a shrinkage in handwriting that progresses the more a person with Parkinson’s writes. This occurs as a result of bradykinesia, which causes difficulty with repetitive actions.
- Mask-like Expression: This expression, found in Parkinson’s, meaning a person’s face may appear less expressive than usual, can occur because of decreased unconscious facial movements. The flexed posture of PD may result from a combination of rigidity and bradykinesia.
- Unwanted Accelerations: It is worth noting that some people with Parkinson’s experience movements that are too quick, not too slow. These unwanted accelerations are especially troublesome in speech and movement. People with excessively fast speech, tachyphemia, produce a rapid stammering that is hard to understand. Those who experience festination, an uncontrollable acceleration in gait, may be at increased risk for falls.
- Stooped posture, a tendency to lean forward
- Impaired fine motor dexterity and motor coordination
- Impaired gross motor coordination
- Poverty of movement (decreased arm swing)
- Speech problems, such as softness of voice or slurred speech caused by lack of muscle control
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sexual dysfunction
- Drooling and excess saliva resulting from reduced swallowing movements
Most people with Parkinson’s experience nonmotor symptoms, those that do not involve movement, coordination, physical tasks or mobility. While a person’s family and friends may not be able to see them, these “invisible” symptoms can actually be more troublesome for some people than the motor impairments of PD.
Many researchers believe that nonmotor symptoms may precede motor symptoms — and a Parkinson’s diagnosis — by years. The most recognizable early symptoms include:
- Loss of sense of smell, constipation
- REM behavior disorder (a sleep disorder)
- Mood disorders
- Orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure when standing up).
Other Nonmotor Symptoms
Some of these important and distressing symptoms include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Bladder problems
- Sexual problems
- Excessive saliva
- Weight loss or gain
- Vision and dental problems
- Fatigue and loss of energy
- Fear and anxiety
- Skin problems
- Cognitive issues, such as memory difficulties, slowed thinking, confusion and in some cases, dementia
- Medication side effects, such as impulsive behaviors
One last thought on the subject if I may. If you come to this website to just donate to the cause I am more than grateful to you for doing so but think of this also for a moment. If you are here to donate then why don't you take advantage of the website for it's original intent. Why don't you just buy something too and get some worthwhile art to put in your home or office or give as a gift. This way you can do two very wonderful things at one time. Either way you partisipate in the project you are helping the cause. I await your decision.