Alzheimer's and Parkinson's at the Same Time: Is It Possible?

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease have severe impacts on the patients’ day-to-day lives. In this article, we will discuss the similarities, differences, and treatment options for these diseases. 

Both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease involve dementia and are categorized as neurological illnesses. Although these diseases can affect the brain differently, patients may be diagnosed with both these diseases at the same time.

While hearing loss can cause Alzheimer’s, it is an associated symptom of Parkinson’s disease.  

Alzheimer's and Parkinson's at the Same Time

Similarities Between Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is one of the most common forms of dementia. It is often irreversible and can cause brain degeneration. Patients may experience disruption in cognitive function, memory, personality, and other functions that can eventually lead to complete brain failure. 

Parkinson’s disease was first diagnosed about a hundred years prior to Alzheimer’s disease. The three major symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are:

  • Muscle rigidity
  • Slowed movement
  • Tremors

If any individual experiences at least two of these symptoms, they will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are caused due to damage in the brain cells. Cognitive impairment is a significant symptom for both of these diseases. 

Some significant behavioral symptoms seen in both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease patients are: 

  • Depression: Both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s patients may suffer from clinical depression. Patients’ apathy and depressive symptoms cannot be distinguished enough in most cases. However, these two symptoms must be treated differently.

  • Anxiety: Another important behavioral symptom is anxiety. Different prescription anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs are given to the patients to cope with these symptoms.

  • Psychotic Symptoms: Delusions and hallucinations can occur for both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s patients.  These symptoms may occur due to different medical conditions or infections. 

  • Lewy Body Dementia: LBD is a type of dementia where there is an abnormal deposit of a particular type of protein, alpha-synuclein, within the brain. These deposits are known as Lewy Bodies. They have the ability to affect particular chemicals within the brain and this can, potentially, cause problems with a person’s ability to think, move, manage their behavior and mood as well. Some Alzheimer’s patients can develop movement symptoms like Parkinson’s disease. This is one of the prominent symptoms of both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. An abnormal protein deposited in the brain can trigger this condition.

  • Sleep Disturbances: Both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease patients suffer from sleep deprivation. They may experience fragmented sleep, insufficient sleep, or several other problems with REM sleep.

Hearing loss may be another common problem for both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s patients. 

Brain scans from hearing loss patients have shown a faster decay of brain cells. Additionally, hearing loss patients may be isolated from others due to their disability. Thus, patients can develop dementia, among other mental health problems.

On the other hand, Parkinson’s disease restricts dopamine production in the body. Dopamine is an essential hormone to protect the cochlea (a crucial organ in the ear) from harm. With the lack of this hormone, Parkinson’s patients can develop hearing loss of several degrees.

For hearing loss-induced dementia, hearing aids can often help the patients manage symptoms.

Differences Between Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease

The primary difference between Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease is that they affect different areas of the brain. Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain’s memory and language center. Therefore, patients struggle with remembering incidents and taking part in conversations. 

On the other hand, Parkinson’s disease affects the cognitive area of the brain. Therefore, patients struggle with problem-solving, mood, memory, speed thinking, even moving muscles.

For the majority of patients, Alzheimer’s appears late in their life, typically after 60 years of age. On the other hand, most patients can be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, typically between 50 to 65 years of age. 

Although cognitive impairment is common in both diseases, many Parkinson’s patients may not experience dementia.

Hearing loss may be a triggering factor for both of these diseases. However, some patients may experience hearing loss due to Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s patients lack dopamine and serotonin hormones that protect the cochlea from loud noises. Without enough of these hormones, many patients may develop hearing loss as a symptom of the disease rather than being a triggering factor.

Probable Treatments for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease

There is still no definitive cure for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. However, with proper treatment and precautions, it is possible to keep the symptoms tolerable. 

Early treatments can help the patients a lot in this manner. Let’s discuss a few ways to decrease the risk of these diseases:

  • Hearing Aids: Hearing loss-induced dementia can often be reversible with hearing aids . Consult a doctor to identify the underlying cause of hearing loss. If it is caused due to hearing loss, patients should buy a good pair of hearing aids. Nano Hearing Aids has some of the best hearing aids to help Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients. 
  • Healthy Diet: A balanced diet can go a long way to keep the brain healthy. Include fresh vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts to get the necessary nutrients. It is advisable to avoid processed foods, saturated fats and reduce sugar intake as much as possible from the diet.
  • Exercising: Physical activity has shown significant benefits to help Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients. Patients should include at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise in their daily routine. Building a habit of daily exercise contributes to a patient's good health.
  • Adequate Sleep: Insomnia and sleep quality have significant effects on brain health. Without proper health, the brain can get damaged. Seven to eight hours of sleep at night is highly recommended for better brain health.
  • Keep Chronic Diseases, Stress, and Hypertension Under Control:  Diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer can seriously impact brain health. Also, hypertension and stress can create several health risks, including dementia. People need to keep these factors in check and control them accordingly. Meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises can help in reducing anxiety and stress. 
  • Mental Stimulation: It might be wise for people with these conditions to engage in mentally stimulating activities. It will ensure their brain’s health and keep them more active. 

Treatment Options

Although modern science has come a long way, there is no exact cure for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Doctors and researchers tend to treat the symptoms to make the patient comfortable and at ease. For example:

Medications

A collection of medications are prescribed for patients with Alzheimer’s disease to solve some symptoms temporarily. Some of these medications help to increase brain function, and some help manage psychological and behavioral symptoms. 

Therapies

Besides medications, therapy is equally important for patients with dementia. It helps those patients live well with their condition and even induces healing in some cases. Some of the well-known therapies are:

  • Cognitive stimulation therapy: This therapy involves taking part in group activities. The whole therapy is designed to enhance problem-solving skills and memory improvement.
  • Cognitive rehabilitation: This therapy pushes the working parts of people’s brains to help the other problematic parts. A trained professional or even a friend can help patients receive this therapy. This therapy includes many simple everyday tasks that will help people carry out their daily needs. 
  • Reminiscence and life story work: In this therapy, the person with dementia is exposed to his/her previous life work. It can be either by props like pictures, valuable possessions, music, or by one’s life story. 
  • Light therapy: Light therapy is one of the more modern methods of treating dementia. With the help of light therapy, brain functions can be restored significantly. Light induces healing and also helps to treat several symptoms of dementia such as mood swings and anxiety. One simply needs to expose oneself to the therapy lights to start this treatment and can receive benefits within a short period of time. 

Bottom Line

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease can severely affect one’s entire life as well as the lives of people around them. However, there are various means of support and help available for those patients to lead a regular life. 

Hearing aids may be a potential solution for treating both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. These devices help patients to avoid the risk of dementia and prevent hearing loss associated with Parkinson's disease.

One shouldn’t shy away from receiving treatment at the earliest possible moment to live a happy and healthy life. In order to do that and to stay a step ahead of probable complexities down the line, people need to get their hearing checked as soon as feasibly possible. Hearing aids can go a long way in making sure that these conditions do not cause any further damage to people’s hearing.

If anyone is looking for hearing aids of the absolute highest quality, then they can choose Nano Hearing Aids . This company is able to provide really high-quality hearing aid devices at only the price of other big-name brands that offer the same level of quality. 

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