Three "Common" Scalp Issues That Indicate Parkinsons Disease Strikes 59% Of Cases

Category: Newsletter

Most people with Parkinson’s disease struggle with dandruff, and other scalp problems, researchers have found

Luke Whelan

Spotting Parkinson’s early means being treated early. Many people who treat it early go on to live full, although often challenging, lives. Tremors, slow movement, and slurred words are the most recognizable signs of Parkinson’s disease. But most people with the disease also suffer from scalp problems – including “stubborn” dandruff.

Parkinson’s disease is when parts of the brain that are connected to movement are destroyed.

There is a loss of nerve cells in a part of the brain responsible for creating dopamine – causing low levels of the hormone.

Dopamine is a chemical that interacts with the brain to help produce movement and coordination. It’s also linked to motivation and drive.

The low levels of dopamine in the brain are connected to the onset of tremors. Parkinson’s is also directly thought to cause depression and other mood disorders.

It’s not known entirely why, but the development of Parkinson’s disease is also associated with the onset of seborrheic dermatitis (SD). One new study found that SD was more prevalent in people with severe movement symptoms.

The authors of the study wrote: “After adjusting for age, disease duration, and sex, there remained a positive correlation between the severity of motor symptoms and SD.”

SD is a “common skin condition” that usually strikes the scalp. People with Parkinson’s suffer from three scalp problems. These are scaly patches, inflamed red skin, and “stubborn dandruff”, explains the Mayo Clinic.

The health body explains: “It usually affects oily areas of the body, such as the face, sides of the nose, eyebrows, ears, eyelids and chest.”

The skin condition is thought to affect between 19 and 59 percent of patients with Parkinson’s disease, based on many laboratory studies.

Out of the people with Parkinson’s who get SD, roughly 88 percent of people experience SD on their face, while 70 percent experience scalp problems.

Some researchers have suggested that the natural microorganisms in the skin are disrupted by Parkinson’s disease.

One experiment suggested a different explanation: the high density of yeast in people with Parkinson’s.

There are other unusual symptoms that people with Parkinson’s disease may also experience.

Both excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) and not sweating enough (hypohidrosis) can be signs of the condition.

According to the Parkinson’s Society of British Columbia, excessive sweating is down to disruption in your autonomic nervous system.

Your autonomic nervous system controls many automatic functions in your body, such as heart rate, digestion, blood pressure, and sweating.

The health body explains: “The ANS controls sweating and many other processes within the body and people with Parkinson’s often experience a decreased ability to naturally regulate some of these processes, including sweating.”

“Hypohidrosis [inadequate sweating] can also be caused by changes in the ANS, but most typically occurs when the person is on an ‘off’ period, described as a time when Parkinson’s medications are wearing off or not working optimally.

“It can also occur during an “on” period if the person experiences dyskinesia (the uncontrolled wave-like movement of the upper body). For some, it can also be a side effect of anticholinergic medications, such as amantadine.

“If you are taking this kind of medication and you experience inadequate sweating, you may want to speak to your doctor. Reduced ability to sweat may put you at risk of overheating.


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Updated: August 16, 2017