Carinda Stout, MS CCC/SLP
April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month:
It is the time of year when those with Parkinson's, have a friend or family member with Parkinson’s, and those who work with or on behalf of people with Parkinson's spread awareness of the condition.
Within the brain, the substantia nigra contains cells that make the chemical dopamine. Dopamine acts like a messenger that alerts another area of the brain when you want to move a part of the body. When the cells that make dopamine start to die and the dopamine level becomes too low, you cannot control movements and the symptoms of Parkinson’s surface.
Difficulty swallowing, called dysphagia, can occur at any stage of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition that affects posture, balance, physical movement, speech, swallowing and writing.
Difficulty swallowing, called dysphagia, can occur at any stage of Parkinson’s disease. Signs and symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include: difficulty swallowing certain foods or liquids, coughing or throat clearing during or after eating/drinking, and feeling as if food is getting stuck. As the disease progresses, swallowing can become severely compromised and food/liquid can get into the lungs, causing aspiration pneumonia. Aspiration pneumonia is the leading cause of death in PD; therefore, these symptoms should be shared with your physician as early intervention is essential.