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To live as I have learned with Parkinson's disease

Anita Sauter is living with an undesirable tenant, she says. In front of about twelve years, he had ensconced itself in your body. Initially unnoticed. In retrospect, the 58-Year-old remembers the first signs of its presence: "I began to write less legibly." You came under a lot of Stress, shaking their hands. As you mentioned this to your doctor, by the way, this was noisy and referred to a neurologist. Already after the first appointment, Anita Sauter left the practice with the name of your tenant: Parkinson's disease. "The diagnosis hit me like a fist in the eye."

The disease is not yet curable, however, there are therapies that make Parkinson's more bearable. In Switzerland, around 15'000 people suffering with the nerves, and the trend is rising. The number of cases has doubled in the last 25 years worldwide, and the cases will probably continue to increase. One reason for this is that the people are getting older – Parkinson's disease strikes in older age. But the Suffering hits, sometimes even Younger. Around a quarter of patients, like Anita Sauter – fifty if you get the diagnosis.

The disease is diagnosed mainly on the basis of the complaints, this can differ from person to person. In 1817 the English physician James Parkinson in his essay called "the shaking palsy", first two main symptoms: the infamous Shaking of the hands, as well as a slowed-down movement. Not heard that the arms resonate when walking, the gait shuffling, the Facial expression of the face rigid, the voice nuschelig, and the font is illegible. Two other main symptoms were only described later, the muscle stiffness, as well as an unsafe.

"The doctor said to me: "you will not die of Parkinson's, but Parkinson's disease.""Anita Sauter

for a Long time, the experts thought, the Parkinson show is the only motor complaints. "We now know that other symptoms can include the Tremors or muscle rigidity, often years ahead and the quality of life, are often particularly affected," says neurologist Stefan Hägele from the cantonal hospital of St. Gallen. The person is unmotivated or depressed, suffers from sleep disorders, constipation, one-sided tension, or blood pressure regulatory disorders. As an early warning of the loss of the sense of smell.

For Anita Sauter took the sub-tenant is becoming more noticeable. On bad days, she staggered when walking. "It seemed to me that the passers-by called out that I shouldn't drink early in the morning," she says. Sometimes they came on the road hardly move forward because her right leg was suddenly quiet, "as if it were frozen to the ground".

reasons for the removal are unclear

to blame for these complaints is a lack of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is, among other things, for the control of movements. "If the patients the motor symptoms, are already gone about half of the dopamine-producing cells," explains Stefan Hägele. Why it comes to this degradation is still not clear.

some people play genetic factors play a role. "Possibly, environmental factors such as pesticides, promote the development of the disease," says the neurologist. So have shown that people who live in rural areas and frequent contact with plant protection products, fall ill more frequently in Parkinson's disease. In France Parkinson's disease is therefore on the list of occupational diseases.

studies in the laboratory support the assumption that Some plant protection products, result in mice that the intestinal tract of certain proteins to be distributed. "There are many indications that these proteins are Hiking through the nerve paths to the brain, where they are involved in the damage of nerve cells."

stop the cell removal so far. The Anita Sauter learned a few minutes after the shock diagnosis. "The doctor said to me: "you will not die of Parkinson's, but Parkinson's disease.""

ways to alleviate symptoms

at first it was Anita Sauter difficult to accept the disease. "I tried to ignore my sub-tenant." It was only when a well-Known, suffering himself to Parkinson's disease, advised her to talk openly about the disease, she changed her attitude. She joined a self-help group for younger patients named "Jupp Säntis". For the past eight years, she is in the lead of the group. "It's good to share," says Anita Sauter. "This is not to say, however, that we talk to our Meet just about Parkinson's."

she also gets from her family and her two sons. "For us, it was not to experience the always easy as the disease of our mother beaten," says her 27-year-old son Simon. "To me, it really helped me with the disease to deal, at the time, in teaching, I even wrote a thesis on Parkinson's disease," he says. "So I could understand my mother better." Even if the disease is incurable, there are now means and ways to alleviate the symptoms.

"terrified that my mother will be in surgery on the brain."Simon, Anita Sauter's son

"drugs, the how to fix the lack of Dopamine, especially in the first few years," says Stefan Hägele from the cantonal hospital of St. Gallen. So also in the case of Anita Sauter. You began, every day, several medications and was doing so in everyday life. In addition to your commitment to Parkinson's-Affected the former Spitex care assistant cleaned offices. But with the years her condition worsened, despite higher medication doses. "In the course of the disease, it comes to effect variations," explains Stefan Hägele. "The patients suffer from phase to Excess movements and immobility." In the case of Anita Sauter, it was especially in the morning bad. "Until I was in the bathroom, it often took a half an hour."

more and more often, you are no longer obeyed, the right leg, and her Arm limp hanging down. On other days, in turn, your body is floundering. "I couldn't hold a pen, let alone a whisk to use." Your doctor will be informed about further treatment, which is only a part of the patient in question: deep brain stimulation. "This decision must be carefully considered, because the Operation of the brain has its risks," says Stefan Hägele.

Anita Sauter hesitated for a long time, and your family was initially not very enthusiastic. "Me terrified that my mother will be in surgery on the brain," says son Simon. But as Anita Sauter, one Morning could not get out of the tub, she opted for the surgery. In the case of deep brain stimulation of the neuro-surgical electrodes implanted in those areas of the brain that are due to the lack of Dopamine overactive. The electrode is connected by cable to a pacemaker that is implanted under the skin. "By the electrical Stimulation of the overactive regions in the brain are inhibited, thereby symptoms such as Tremors, stiffness or slowing of reform", says the neurologist.

"The Operation has paid off. Today I must see that I take with me."Anita Sauter

The intervention, in 2014, lasted around ten hours. Anita Sauter was most of the time awake, as they had to give the Doctors feedback, the correct position of the electrodes. "It was an ordeal." However, the Operation had been worthwhile, she says today. You groped before shuffling in small steps and leaning forward through life, your gear is much better today. She needs less medication and has to again urge more action. "I don't need to see that I am me."

Also their son, Simon, his mother was like a different person. "Before the Operation, she was often sluggish." Now you radiate more joy in life. "I couldn't get my banish the tenant from the apartment. But after all, he lives in a rooftop room," says Anita Sauter. Contribute to the well - being of regular occupational and physiotherapy as well as a lot of movement in everyday life.

Also a neurologist Stefan Hägele stresses the importance of movement in Parkinson's disease. "A movement disorder one must meet with as much movement as possible." Especially helpful is the mindful movement forms such as Yoga or Tai-Chi, but also other sports such as Cycling or Dancing are recommended. Movement and mindful body awareness are also suitable to deal with the psychological burdens of the disease better cope. "Stress, negative feelings and thoughts show up first in the body, so it makes sense there to be recognised," says the Neuro-psychologist Erika Forster from the cantonal hospital of St. Gallen. to treat

the mental and spiritual symptoms of Parkinson's disease, are also "psychological interventions" is useful. While therapies based on mindfulness (in the Here-and-Now life) come into question, as well as cognitive-behavioral therapy, when it comes to Learning new ways of Thinking and patterns of behavior.

Neither Anita Sauter nor their Physicians know whether the complaints will eventually come back stronger. Because, in the Background nerve cells die. "Every now and then I ponder about how my future will look like. Then fear comes in, to lose control of my body," says Anita Sauter. "But mostly I manage quite well, to live the Here and Now."

* This article first appeared on 17. March 2018 in the Swiss family.

(the Swiss family)

Created: 29.12.2018, 15:30 PM

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