Frequency Of Autonomic Dysfunction In Parkinsons Disease

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Although the focus of routine follow-up visits between PD patients and neurologists is typically on motor symptoms of the disease, autonomic problems are frequently present and can be identified if patients are specifically asked. In one study of 48 men with PD, 89% had at least one autonomic symptom compared with 43% of elderly control subjects (2). Autonomic symptoms seen in these men with PD included erectile dysfunction (60%), urinary urgency (46%), constipation (44%), dysphagia (23%), and orthostatism (22%), and each of these symptoms was more common in PD patients than controls. Siddiqui et al. (3) performed a comprehensive symptom survey of autonomic symptoms in 44 patients with PD, comparing the frequency and severity of these symptoms with 24 aged-matched controls. Using a five point scale to rate symptom severity, the authors tabulated the severity of symptoms in each of five areas: GI, urinary, sexual dysfunction, cardiovascular, and thermoregulatory. They found that PD patients exhibited autonomic symptoms more frequently than controls. Significant differences were seen in the following areas: increased salivation (52% vs. 13%), dysphagia (30% vs. 8%), constipation (20% vs. 0%), and orthostatism (66% vs. 29%).

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