Parkinson’s unresponsive episodes.

Posted by bethv @bethv, Sep 16, 2018

My father, 93 years old, is suffering these unresponsive episodes, not to be confused with “freezing” of gait. The episode can last two hours and we think might be related to dehydration. Why can’t I find any mention of this in any web sites that describe Parkinson’s? Only in caregiver sites have I found any information. Is no one studying this phenomenon? There may be some connection here that needs investigation.

Hello @bethv

Welcome to Mayo Connect. I appreciate your post regarding your dad. I can understand your concern if he is unresponsive for as long as two hours. Perhaps some of our other members will respond to your question.

How long has your dad been having these episodes? If this is a new symptom? If so, has it been addressed with your dad's doctor?

I would also like to direct you to our Caregiver's discussion group, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/caregivers/. We have several members who are caregivers for aging parents and maybe someone can help answer your question. I will tag, @IndianaScott as well as @debbraw to join you in this conversation.

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Thank you for the response. Yes, he has been in the ER twice for this…gets IV fluid, seems better. Once he was admitted. Once discharged from ER to home.

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@bethv

Thank you for the response. Yes, he has been in the ER twice for this…gets IV fluid, seems better. Once he was admitted. Once discharged from ER to home.

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@bethv

So do the doctors feel that it is related to dehydration?

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@hopeful33250

Hello @bethv

Welcome to Mayo Connect. I appreciate your post regarding your dad. I can understand your concern if he is unresponsive for as long as two hours. Perhaps some of our other members will respond to your question.

How long has your dad been having these episodes? If this is a new symptom? If so, has it been addressed with your dad's doctor?

I would also like to direct you to our Caregiver's discussion group, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/caregivers/. We have several members who are caregivers for aging parents and maybe someone can help answer your question. I will tag, @IndianaScott as well as @debbraw to join you in this conversation.

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Hi @bethv – This sounds terribly scary and I can totally understand how frustrating it must be to not be able to find information referencing this issue. I really wish I could help give you some insight but I'm not familiar with Parkinson's disease. I agree with @hopeful33250 that taking the issue to the Caregivers discussion group would be your best bet. There's such a diversity of experience and wealth of knowledge there that I bet you'll find someone who has dealt with this. Best of luck!

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Hi, @bethv – wondering how things are going with your father and the unresponsive episodes? I'm guessing from what you said he has a diagnosis of Parkinson's?

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Hello @bethv

I have been thinking about you and your father's symptoms as well. How is your dad feeling these days?

In a recent post a moderator was addressing the diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia and I noticed that the "staring-off" episodes as well as Parkinson's-like symptoms are closely related to Lewy Body Dementia. Here is a link to an article about this disorder. It might be helpful to read this article and then talk to you dad's neurologist about any symptoms that your dad has that might be similar.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lewy-body-dementia/symptoms-causes/syc-20352025

I look forward to hearing from you again and knowing how your dad is doing.

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@bethv,

I am helping care for a friend who has Parkinson's, he is 81 years old. His wife is 92 and having a difficult time. A couple of days ago he was asleep at about 1130 and at 1:00 p.m. his therapist arrived and we could not get him to respond to any of us. We tried sternal rubs and many other things to get him to respond and he would not. We called 911 and he was taken to the hospital. a few minutes after arriving at the hospital he became alert as if nothing had happened. No one could tell us what happened. Have you found anything else out about your father and his episode which could possibly help us out? Any new information? Thanks in advance for your help and response.

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@chuckcallahan

@bethv,

I am helping care for a friend who has Parkinson's, he is 81 years old. His wife is 92 and having a difficult time. A couple of days ago he was asleep at about 1130 and at 1:00 p.m. his therapist arrived and we could not get him to respond to any of us. We tried sternal rubs and many other things to get him to respond and he would not. We called 911 and he was taken to the hospital. a few minutes after arriving at the hospital he became alert as if nothing had happened. No one could tell us what happened. Have you found anything else out about your father and his episode which could possibly help us out? Any new information? Thanks in advance for your help and response.

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Hello @chuckcallahan and welcome to Mayo Connect,

How good of you to be inquiring on behalf of your friends. It sounds like he is having some serious problems with his Parkinson's (PD). I hope that @bethv will respond to your question and give you some insight from her father's experience..

How long has your friend been diagnosed with PD?

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@mshoggie

My mother is 86 and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease about 17 years ago. She has limited mobility, but gets around fairly well with a rollator and can walk limited distances. She eats and drinks well on her own, but requires help in all other areas of daily living. About 4 years ago, she started having episodes of being non responsive. During these episodes she would not respond to us touching her hands or feet, and her eyes remained closed until they were over. Her blood pressure was normal and she has never had issues with high or low glucose. They last anywhere from a few minutes, with the longest one being 2 hours. Her neurologist recommended a brain scan to determine if she was having seizures or mini strokes, but the results were negative. Blood work is always good, and they diagnosed these episodes as being "behavioral". We cannot figure out what causes them, and can't understand why the doctor attributed them to behavior or "acting out." Generally, her routine remains the same and we cannot put our figure on anything that upsets her prior to the episodes taking place. Recently, these non responsive episodes occur almost weekly or at least a few times a month. It usually happens in the morning but on occasion they have occurred in the afternoon as well. Has anyone experienced this with a loved one or someone they know who has Parkinson's? Is this attributed to the progression of Parkinson's disease and should I seek a second opinion from another doctor.

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Hello @mshoggie and welcome to Mayo Connect.

I am sorry to hear of your mother's problems with unresponsive episodes. Others on Connect have mentioned this as well. Please take a look at the following discussion about this very matter. Just click on this link and you will find others discussing this,
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/parkinsons-unresponsive-episodes/.

When your doctor said it was "behavioral" he probably did not mean that she was acting out in the way that we think of acting out. You might inquire as to exactly what he meant. Parkinson's is a brain disorder and can produce personality changes as it progresses. Has she had any other change in symptoms? I'm also wondering if your mom sleeps well? If not, perhaps this could add to these "unresponsive episodes."

After you read some of the posts in the discussion above, will you post an update?

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@mshoggie

My mother is 86 and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease about 17 years ago. She has limited mobility, but gets around fairly well with a rollator and can walk limited distances. She eats and drinks well on her own, but requires help in all other areas of daily living. About 4 years ago, she started having episodes of being non responsive. During these episodes she would not respond to us touching her hands or feet, and her eyes remained closed until they were over. Her blood pressure was normal and she has never had issues with high or low glucose. They last anywhere from a few minutes, with the longest one being 2 hours. Her neurologist recommended a brain scan to determine if she was having seizures or mini strokes, but the results were negative. Blood work is always good, and they diagnosed these episodes as being "behavioral". We cannot figure out what causes them, and can't understand why the doctor attributed them to behavior or "acting out." Generally, her routine remains the same and we cannot put our figure on anything that upsets her prior to the episodes taking place. Recently, these non responsive episodes occur almost weekly or at least a few times a month. It usually happens in the morning but on occasion they have occurred in the afternoon as well. Has anyone experienced this with a loved one or someone they know who has Parkinson's? Is this attributed to the progression of Parkinson's disease and should I seek a second opinion from another doctor.

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Thanks for the feedback . She does not sleep well and was given an anti anxiety medication to help her relax at nite. I will review the other responses and will provide updates .

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@mshoggie

My mother is 86 and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease about 17 years ago. She has limited mobility, but gets around fairly well with a rollator and can walk limited distances. She eats and drinks well on her own, but requires help in all other areas of daily living. About 4 years ago, she started having episodes of being non responsive. During these episodes she would not respond to us touching her hands or feet, and her eyes remained closed until they were over. Her blood pressure was normal and she has never had issues with high or low glucose. They last anywhere from a few minutes, with the longest one being 2 hours. Her neurologist recommended a brain scan to determine if she was having seizures or mini strokes, but the results were negative. Blood work is always good, and they diagnosed these episodes as being "behavioral". We cannot figure out what causes them, and can't understand why the doctor attributed them to behavior or "acting out." Generally, her routine remains the same and we cannot put our figure on anything that upsets her prior to the episodes taking place. Recently, these non responsive episodes occur almost weekly or at least a few times a month. It usually happens in the morning but on occasion they have occurred in the afternoon as well. Has anyone experienced this with a loved one or someone they know who has Parkinson's? Is this attributed to the progression of Parkinson's disease and should I seek a second opinion from another doctor.

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@mshoggie

If sleep is a problem, you might check out a video that I posted some time ago about sleep problems and PD. Here is the link, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/sleep-disorders-parkinsons-video/

Also, just a thought if the anti-anxiety medication was begun (or increased) prior to the unresponsive episodes that might be a factor as well. Just something to consider.

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My mother is 86 and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease about 17 years ago. She has limited mobility, but gets around fairly well with a rollator and can walk limited distances. She eats and drinks well on her own, but requires help in all other areas of daily living. About 4 years ago, she started having episodes of being non responsive. During these episodes she would not respond to us touching her hands or feet, and her eyes remained closed until they were over. Her blood pressure was normal and she has never had issues with high or low glucose. They last anywhere from a few minutes, with the longest one being 2 hours. Her neurologist recommended a brain scan to determine if she was having seizures or mini strokes, but the results were negative. Blood work is always good, and they diagnosed these episodes as being "behavioral". We cannot figure out what causes them, and can't understand why the doctor attributed them to behavior or "acting out." Generally, her routine remains the same and we cannot put our figure on anything that upsets her prior to the episodes taking place. Recently, these non responsive episodes occur almost weekly or at least a few times a month. It usually happens in the morning but on occasion they have occurred in the afternoon as well. Has anyone experienced this with a loved one or someone they know who has Parkinson's? Is this attributed to the progression of Parkinson's disease and should I seek a second opinion from another doctor.

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@mshoggie

My mother is 86 and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease about 17 years ago. She has limited mobility, but gets around fairly well with a rollator and can walk limited distances. She eats and drinks well on her own, but requires help in all other areas of daily living. About 4 years ago, she started having episodes of being non responsive. During these episodes she would not respond to us touching her hands or feet, and her eyes remained closed until they were over. Her blood pressure was normal and she has never had issues with high or low glucose. They last anywhere from a few minutes, with the longest one being 2 hours. Her neurologist recommended a brain scan to determine if she was having seizures or mini strokes, but the results were negative. Blood work is always good, and they diagnosed these episodes as being "behavioral". We cannot figure out what causes them, and can't understand why the doctor attributed them to behavior or "acting out." Generally, her routine remains the same and we cannot put our figure on anything that upsets her prior to the episodes taking place. Recently, these non responsive episodes occur almost weekly or at least a few times a month. It usually happens in the morning but on occasion they have occurred in the afternoon as well. Has anyone experienced this with a loved one or someone they know who has Parkinson's? Is this attributed to the progression of Parkinson's disease and should I seek a second opinion from another doctor.

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Hello @mshoggie

I was thinking about you and your question about your mother's non-responsive episodes. Have you been able to determine the cause yet? Any changes that you have noticed in these episodes or anything that seems to trigger them?

As you are comfortable doing so, will you provide an update?

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Hello everyone, My mom has these episodes too and I just came across this article. She has gone anywhere from 5 -45 minutes of unresponsiveness, and her Blood pressure is all over (high and low). After reading this article (Cognitive fluctuations in Parkinson’s disease dementia: blood pressure lability as an underlying mechanism), we are going to try this: basically, lying them flat and elevate the legs during the episode. The Physician who last saw her also suggested coban wraps (compression stockings) and had also heard of a pt who wore Nitroglycerin patch at night (removed early am) and this helped with the swings in blood pressure.

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@mshoggie

My mother is 86 and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease about 17 years ago. She has limited mobility, but gets around fairly well with a rollator and can walk limited distances. She eats and drinks well on her own, but requires help in all other areas of daily living. About 4 years ago, she started having episodes of being non responsive. During these episodes she would not respond to us touching her hands or feet, and her eyes remained closed until they were over. Her blood pressure was normal and she has never had issues with high or low glucose. They last anywhere from a few minutes, with the longest one being 2 hours. Her neurologist recommended a brain scan to determine if she was having seizures or mini strokes, but the results were negative. Blood work is always good, and they diagnosed these episodes as being "behavioral". We cannot figure out what causes them, and can't understand why the doctor attributed them to behavior or "acting out." Generally, her routine remains the same and we cannot put our figure on anything that upsets her prior to the episodes taking place. Recently, these non responsive episodes occur almost weekly or at least a few times a month. It usually happens in the morning but on occasion they have occurred in the afternoon as well. Has anyone experienced this with a loved one or someone they know who has Parkinson's? Is this attributed to the progression of Parkinson's disease and should I seek a second opinion from another doctor.

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Hi, I have also posted below, but in case you don't see it – look for this article (CASE REPORT) "Cognitive fluctuations in Parkinson’s disease dementia: blood pressure lability as an underlying mechanism". We are going to try this: basically, lying them flat and elevate the legs during the episode.

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