Parkinson’s Disease Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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April is Parkinson awareness month and World Parkinson’s disease Day (WPDD). It was first time established on 11 April 1997 (the birth date of Dr. James Parkinson (1755-1824) who discover Parkinsonism in 1817). Dr. James wrote an essay “An Essay on The Shaking Palsy” in 1817 in which he first recognized Parkinson’s disease as a medical condition. World Parkinson’s Disease Day is celebrated every year on the 11th of April and the purpose of celebrating the day is to make awareness regarding Parkinsonism.

This year theme of Parkinson’s disease

“Start a conversation, a call to action that urges people to talk about Parkinson’s with their loved ones, friends, neighbors, care team and community”

The silver color is used for the awareness of Parkinson’s disease. Tulip is the official symbol sign for Parkinson’s disease and was developed by a Dutch horticulturist in 1980 who himself has the disease. He has developed a red and white tulip and it was presented at the 9th World Parkinson’s Day at the Luxembourg Conference. It is a chronic and progressive neurological disorder of the central nervous system.

Parkinson’s Disease Causes

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the substantia nigra of the brain. It is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years. Parkinson’s disease is caused by the loss of nerve cells in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra. It results in the reduction of a chemical substance called dopamine in the brain. Dopamine plays a key role in regulating the movements of the body. A reduction of dopamine is responsible for most of the symptoms of the disease. The disease symptoms get worsened over a period of years.

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Prevalence

It is estimated that 1 in 500 people are suffering from Parkinson’s disease. More than 10 million people are living with the disease worldwide.  Men are 1.5 times more likely to have the disease than women. The average age of the disease is 61. In 10% of persons, It is diagnosed before the age of 40.

Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

The symptoms at the initial stage of the disease are mild and they develop gradually. An individual suffering from the disease is not suffering from all symptoms. Major Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease is as follows:

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  • Tremors (involuntary shaking of particular parts of the body is called tremors) is the most common symptom of the disease, usually begins at one side of the body or sometimes only confined to one part of the body such as hand or foot. They are most evident during rest or when a limb is relaxed. Tremors increase as disease progression and also get worsened with stress.
  •  Bradykinesia or Slowness of movements. Common activities such as bathing or getting dressed or combing hairs take several hours to complete for patients suffering from Parkinsonism. They have a slow, shuffling walk with very small steps.
  • Postural instability or sometimes people have a stooped posture in which head is bowed and shoulders are slumped.
  •  Movement and Coordination problems, balance problems (it may lead to a fall)
  • Rigid facial expression or masking of the face.
  • Rigidity or stiffness of limbs.
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  • An individual suffering from Parkinson disease are suffering from a lot of physical and psychological symptoms such as
    • Speech changes
    • Writing changes
    • Urinary problems (urinary incontinence)
    • Sleep problems (insomnia)
    • Sexual dysfunction
    • Skin problems such as dandruff
    • Impaired color discrimination
    • Constipation
    • Loss of sense of smell (anosmia)
    • Memory problems
    • Depression and anxiety
    • Nerve pain
    • Restless leg syndrome
    • Apathy

Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis

Unfortunately, there is no specific test to diagnose Parkinson’s disease.  Most of the symptoms of the disease at an earlier stage are ignored as a part of some other diseases as postural changes may be considered a sign of osteoporosis or a sign of aging rather than Parkinsonism. Tremors are usually present at rest so they also not picked at an earlier stage. A neurologist can diagnose the disease based on medical history, a review of signs and symptoms, and a thorough clinical and physical examination.

Parkinson’s Disease Treatment

There is no specific treatment for Parkinson’s disease. The main aim of treatment is to reduce the main symptom of the disease and improve the quality of life. Your doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes, especially aerobic exercises.

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Treatment options are

1. Medication

Medications your doctor may prescribe include

  • Levodopa
  • Dopamine agonists
  • Monoamine Oxidase- B -inhibitors
  • Anticholinergic,  etc.

2. Supportive therapies

It includes

  1. Physiotherapy ( aim is to relive muscle stiffness and joints, to improve walking and to make movements easier)
  2. Occupational therapy
  3. Speech-language therapy

3. Surgical (in some cases)

Deep brain stimulation

Disclaimer

This article is written for general awareness and public information only. If you suffer from any illness contact to your local health care provider or doctor. All copy rights are reserved. Comments and queries are welcomed at info@livefitpk.com

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