Understanding the Differences Between Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s Disease

By , 7:50 pm on

As Parkinson’s disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) are both progressive neurodegenerative diseases, many people confuse the terms. Below, senior care experts at Home Care Assistance of Mississauga provide information on the basic differences between Parkinson’s and ALS to help you better understand the two diseases.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

ALS, sometimes referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, involves the degeneration of motor neurons in the spinal cord. These neurons normally transmit signals and impulses from the brain to the rest of the body, but as the condition progresses the neurons harden and eventually die. The loss of these neurons makes it impossible for signals from the brain to reach the rest of the body, diminishing the individual’s voluntary muscle control. People with ALS may lose the ability to move, speak, eat, or breathe.

Parkinson’s Disease

Unlike ALS, Parkinson’s disease involves the degeneration of neurons within the brain itself. This neuronal degeneration causes the brain to stop producing dopamine, a neurotransmitter or brain chemical that is essential for movement, coordination, cognition, motivation, and enjoyment. People who have Parkinson’s disease generally experience depression and anxiety along with extensive motor problems, including tremors, slowness of movement, postural instability, and impaired balance and coordination.

The Similarities 

Both ALS and Parkinson’s disease may lead to dementia, a progressive condition that significantly impairs thinking or behavior. If your loved one develops dementia as a result of ALS or Parkinson’s disease, he or she may not be able to live independently, manage his or her medications, drive, or conduct his or her daily routine. Providing live-in home care in Mississauga may be the right option to keep your loved one safe.

Knowing the differences between PD and ALS can make discussing treatment options for your loved one easier to understand. If your loved one develops Parkinson’s disease or ALS, reach out to Home Care Assistance to learn more about Mississauga in-home Parkinson’s care. Our customized services can provide your relative with the nonmedical care he or she needs to live comfortably and safely at home. Give a knowledgeable Care Manager a call at (905) 337-1200 to schedule a free consultation.