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How Dopamine Factors into Parkinson’s Disease

By Beth Brown, 9:00 am on

If your elderly loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you are likely wondering what may have led to its development. Though Parkinson’s has more than one possible cause, there is a chemical in the brain called dopamine that factors heavily into a senior’s risk of developing the condition. To help you and your loved one better understand dopamine’s role in this process, the Palm Beach senior care experts at Home Care Assistance would like to share some information about the connections.

Parkinson’s disease is a slowly progressive brain disorder caused by neurodegeneration. Although the disease itself is not fatal, the complications associated with it can be severe. The main contributing factor to Parkinson’s is the reduced production of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for relaying messages to the parts of the brain that control movement. The movement-related symptoms seen in individuals with Parkinson’s disease occur due to the damage of dopamine-producing cells.

When this imbalance occurs, a number of symptoms can appear, including:

  • Poor balance
  • Lack of motor coordination
  • Tremors and shaking
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty moving and walking
  • Dizziness and fainting

A doctor’s goal is to treat the symptoms created by the disease and heighten a senior’s quality of life. Because a decrease in dopamine production is the main cause of Parkinson’s disease, dopamine agonist drugs are a top treatment choice prescribed to seniors receiving Palm Beach Parkinson’s care. These drugs stimulate nerve cells in the same way naturally occurring dopamine would within the human body. This form of treatment is introduced gradually until the correct dosage is obtained and symptoms are under control. Additionally, research has suggested utilizing dopamine agonists can be beneficial in the treatment of other symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease. 

There are many reasons dopamine production in the human brain may be impaired. Some evidence points to environmental factors such as viruses, bacteria, and toxic chemicals. Other speculation focuses on herbicides and pesticides as a contributing factor. However, scientists have confirmed it is rare for individuals to pass Parkinson’s disease onto their children. This condition is almost always linked to genetic abnormalities.

To learn more about Parkinson’s and providing care for a senior with this condition, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are available 24/7 to assist your loved one with mobility and exercise, medication reminders, and many daily tasks around the house that can be difficult for a senior with Parkinson’s. In addition to Parkinson’s care, we also offer specialized stroke, dementia, and Alzheimer’s care Palm Beach seniors and their families can rely on. For more information on our senior care services and to schedule a free consultation, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at 561.429.8292 today.