Many people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) experience some loss of smell. In fact, it may be one of the earliest signs of PD. The reason for the loss isn’t completely understood, but researchers are continuing to examine this PD symptom.
-Smell Loss Research
Because smell loss is an early symptom of PD, researchers are interested in studying it in hopes of finding a way to detect the disease early on. In one study involving 125 newly diagnosed PD patients that researchers followed for 10 years, researchers discovered that 42 percent of those with loss of smell went on to develop dementia. This suggests that smell loss is an indicator of the progression of the disease.
-Causes of the Loss
There are many things that can cause a loss of smell, so there are lots of reasons other than PD for smell loss. Therefore, smell loss isn’t necessarily an indicator of PD, but many people with PD experience a reduces a sense of smell. Scientists think that the reason may be an indicator of where the disease starts.
One theory suggests that the disease doesn’t start in the part of the brain that regulates dopamine, but perhaps in the olfactory bulb, which is the part of the brain that regulates the sense of smell. Scientists investigating this theory think that the protein clumps that develop in PD patients might start there and then migrate to other regions of the brain. The exciting thing about this line of research is that if the theory is true, it could be possible for doctors to break the clumps up there before they move and cause neurological damage.
It’s important to note that researchers found that self-reporting of loss of smell is not a good indicator for PD. That’s because people often misjudge their sense of smell. In fact, researchers found that people with PD often report that their sense of smell is better than it really is.
Can an elderly care provider help?
Although there isn’t much that can be done to change a loss of smell, there is a great deal that can be done to help people with PD to enjoy a better quality of life. Hiring a senior care provider can help older adults with PD to remain comfortably and safely in their own homes longer. Senior care providers can assist with many things, including household tasks, transportation, and cooking. Senior care providers can also help PD patients to move safely around the house, helping them to avoid falls, and assist with personal care, such as bathing, grooming, and toileting.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring elderly care in Dana Point, CA, please contact the caring staff at Canaan Home Care today!