-- Thinking difficulties. You may experience cognitive problems (dementia) and thinking difficulties, which usually occur in the later stages of Parkinson's disease. Such cognitive problems aren't very responsive to medications.
-- Depression and emotional changes. People with Parkinson's disease may experience depression. Receiving treatment for depression can make it easier to handle the other challenges of Parkinson's disease. You may also experience other emotional changes, such as fear, anxiety or loss of motivation. Doctors may give you medications to treat these symptoms.
-- Swallowing problems. You may develop difficulties with swallowing as your condition progresses. Saliva may accumulate in your mouth due to slowed swallowing, leading to drooling.
-- Sleep problems and sleep disorders. People with Parkinson's disease often have sleep problems including waking up frequently throughout the night, waking up early or falling asleep during the day. People may also experience rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, which involves acting out your dreams. Medications may help your sleep problems.
-- Bladder problems. Parkinson's disease may cause bladder problems, including being unable to control urine or having difficulty urinating.
-- Constipation. Many people with Parkinson's disease develop constipation, mainly due to a slower digestive tract.
You may also experience:
-- Blood pressure changes. You may feel dizzy or lightheaded when you stand due to a sudden drop in blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension).
-- Smell dysfunction. You may experience problems with your sense of smell. You may have difficulty identifying certain odors or the difference between odors.
-- Fatigue. Many people with Parkinson's disease lose energy and experience fatigue, and the cause isn't always known.
-- Pain. Many people with Parkinson's disease experience pain, either in specific areas of their bodies or throughout their bodies.
-- Sexual dysfunction. Some people with Parkinson's disease notice a decrease in sexual desire or performance.
Because the cause of Parkinson's is unknown, proven ways to prevent the disease also remain a mystery. However, some research has shown that caffeine -- which is found in coffee, tea and cola -- may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Green tea also may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson's disease.
Some research has shown that regular aerobic exercise may reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease.
(Mayo Clinic News Network is your source for health news, advances in research and wellness tips.)
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