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Dr. David
Dr. David, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 44447
Experience:  Board Certified Physician
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My mother has just had a diagnosis of Parkinsons, which is

Customer Question

My mother has just had a diagnosis of Parkinson's, which is unconfirmed as she absolutely refuses to go through any further tests. She is 82, has COPD through 70 plus years of secondary smoking, has high BP (on three tabs, not sure what) and has kidney disease at around stage 3. The only daily contact she has is with my uncle who is 87 and has a progressing meningioma, with short and long term memory loss. She is exhibiting problems with behaviour, having a very short temper and also 'dwelling' on things which bother her, which are usually not something that most of us would worry about. So far, this hasn't seemed much like a question, I admit but I just wanted to set the scene. Essentially, no one officially 'knows' about this diagnosis - the GP mentioned it to me, in all innocence, assuming I knew. I had rung to tell him of some rather odd circumstances we noticed during a recent visit which implied a possible TIA. I have shared with my aunt (also elderly but in good health) on the basis that someone should know what's going on, but now she is worried (which was not my intention) about what will happen now. I know no one has a crystal ball, but am I right in thinking that with everything else that is going on with her health, the PD will progress quite quickly but before the end she may well succumb to an exacerbation of COPD or a bout of pneumonia. I should say that in fact I care more about my aunt, who is more of a mother to me than my real one has ever been. I need to guide her as to what she might expect. I live too far away to be able to visit more than now and again and can't drive at present due to a broken leg.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
Dr. David :

This is Dr. David

Dr. David :

I am sorry about your aunt.

Dr. David :

it does sound like she is batting a lot of health issues.

Dr. David :

her future health decline can be very hard to predict.

Dr. David :

Ia m sorry about your broken leg.

Dr. David :

I'm sure you would be seeing her more frequently if you were not laid up with a broken leg.

Dr. David :

I am sorry about your mother's health conditions I mean.

Dr. David :

it is impossible to predict how quickly PD will progress for her.

Dr. David :

pneumonia and COPD exacerbation are very common in the elderly.

Dr. David :

has she been in the hospital with these issues before?

Customer:

She has had steroids three times this year already for exacerbations of her COPD. Each time she has failed to finish the course as the tablets 'make her dizzy' (her own words). I should have said earlier that she also has varices in her lower oesophagus and acid reflux. She had a cataract op just before Christmas but the surgeon declined to do the other eye because of her other health issues.

Dr. David :

"it sucks getting old"

Dr. David :

I hear this a lot from my patients.

Dr. David :

it sounds like she has many health issues which are very common as one gets into their 80s.

Dr. David :

pneumonia can often be dangerous and even fatal in this patient population.

Customer:

So, put simply, there is no way of telling whether COPD and the rest will have an effect on the PD, or vice versa.

Dr. David :

right.

Dr. David :

these are very difficult issues to predict.

Dr. David :

her PD symptoms may not effect her.

Dr. David :

or they can cause her to be more bed bound.

Dr. David :

and when elderly patients become more bed bound or chair bound, they tend to decline, loose muscle mass, get more depressed and tend to be at increased risks for blood clots and pneumonia.

Customer:

Thanks for your opinions. I know it is impossible to predict these things. I think I just wanted to give my aunt some kind of guidance as she is the one who sees her most (excepting my uncle, of course, who doesn't really have the capacity to judge things any more). I will tell her to watch out for signs of less activity (although my mother is currently quite sedentary even for someone of her age) and also make sure she contacts the GP when necessary. This will mean going against my mother's wishes, but I think she will simply have to learn to live with that.

Dr. David, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 44447
Experience: Board Certified Physician
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