Take part in a survey on Parkinson’s disease and drooling

Global update

Author: Saskia MairPublished: 15 October 2020

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Does drooling caused by Parkinson’s disease affect your quality of life? A new global survey by Parkinson’s Europe aims to find out more about the symptom

A new survey, created by the Parkinson’s Europe (Parkinson’s Europe) in partnership with pharmaceutical company Merz, aims to understand how drooling affects people with Parkinson’s, and how it is approached by healthcare professionals.

Drooling, also known as sialorrhea, is an often-overlooked symptom of the condition ­– but can have a huge impact on the quality of life of those who are affected by it.

In Parkinson’s disease, the swallowing mechanism can be impeded, meaning that saliva builds up in the mouth. When the muscles in the mouth are weakened, this can result in drooling. Affecting between 50% and 80% of people with the condition, it can cause social embarrassment, sore skin around the mouth, and can lead to aspiration pneumonia if too much saliva is accidentally inhaled.

By collecting data from people who experience drooling due to their Parkinson’s, as well as their family members and carers, Parkinson’s Europe hopes that the findings of the survey will help it to raise awareness about the prevalence of the symptom as well as the treatments available.

Veronica Clark, president of Parkinson’s Europe and a speech and language therapist, said: “We come across people with Parkinson’s who experience drooling very often in our speech and language clinics, and we know it can impact greatly not just their quality of life but also their everyday activities such as speaking, eating and drinking.

“As a European organisation, Parkinson’s Europe is delighted to be playing a part in raising awareness about this sometimes less-talked-about symptom, in partnership with Merz. It’s incredibly important that healthcare professionals and people with Parkinson’s themselves become more aware about the treatment options available, and this survey will help this become a reality. Parkinson’s Europe urges everyone who has experienced drooling to complete the survey and to share it with their networks.”

The survey is open as an online questionnaire in English, French, German and Spanish and people from anywhere in the world are encouraged to take part.

The questionnaire should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete and will be open until Sunday 15 November 2020.

Complete Parkinson’s Europe’s survey on drooling in English, French, German or Spanish.

Four ways to improve saliva control

  1. Swallow saliva often, and make an effort to swallow before you eat

  2. Take sips of drink more frequently to wash down saliva

  3. Keep your head raised – this will make swallowing easier

  4. If you have good control of mouth muscles, chewing gum or sucking on a sweet will remind you to swallow.

For more information about drooling in Parkinson’s disease please visit Parkinson’s Europe website.

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