Parkinson’s disease symptoms: The sleep problems that could be early warning signs

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system that causes a loss of cells in the part of the brain that controls movement. People with Parkinson’s disease experience a range of symptoms. Parkinson’s disease symptoms start gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. Tremors are common but the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement. Other lesser known symptoms lies in the way a person sleeps.

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A person with Parkinson’s disease may experience a number of sleep problems, including insomnia, daytime sleepiness and REM behaviour disorder.

Other signs that affect sleep for a person with parkinson’s disease include insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep attacks, REM sleep behaviour disorder, periodic leg movement disorder, restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea or nocturia.

SleepFoundation.org said: “A recent study by UCLA researchers found an association between Parkinson’s disease and narcolepsy, a disorder caused by the brain’s inability to regulate sleep/walk cycles normally.

The study revealed that patients with Parkinson’s disease and those with narcolepsy both display a loss of hypocretin cells in the brain and that loss is correlated with severity of parkinson’s disease.”

What the study said

In a study with Science Daily, REM sleep behaviour disorder and the risk factor for Parkinson’s disease was investigated.

The study noted: “Up to 45 percent of patients suffering REM sleep behaviour disorders develop Parkinson’s disease, new research suggests.

Patients suffering REM sleep behaviour disorders dream nightmares in which they are attacked and pursued, with the particularly that they express them by screaming, crying, punching and kicking while sleeping.”

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Parkinson’s disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain.

This leads to a reductio in a chemical called dopamine in the brain.

Dopamine plays a vital role in regulating the movement of the body.

A reduction in dopamine is responsible for many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Treatment

SleepFoundation.org said: “With parkinson’s disease, there is a gradual loss of dopaminergic cells in the brain.

“There is no treatment for slowing or reversing this process, but there are drugs used to treat the symptoms that result.

“These drug therapies can dramatically improve the quality of life for Parkinson’s patients.”

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