Parkinson’s is the most common movement disorder and is popular as the second most neurodegenerative disorder. The people who have this disease possess characteristics like continuous loss of control of muscles. This leads to involuntarily shaking of head and limbs while at rest, clumsiness, sluggish, weaken balance. As the symptoms get worse, it becomes increasingly difficult for the person even to talk, walk or do simple day to day chores.
In Parkinson’s disease, the degree of impairment & its progression varies from one individual to another. Many of the people with this disease are living long productive lives whereas some get disabled more quickly. However, from the studies, it is concluded that the life expectancy of the person with Parkinson’s disease is the same as the population in general.
Parkinson’s disease generally occurs at the age of 60 years or above. The patients with Parkinson disease are rising as overall life expectancy is increasing. Patients with Parkinson’s disease are most commonly diagnosed during the onset of adulthood, but it may also occur during the onset of the juvenile as well as middle age.
What causes Parkinson’s disease:-
Dopamine is a substance which acts as a messenger between the areas of the brain. Most of the problems related to the symptoms of the movement occur due to the lack of dopamine. When the amounts of dopamine get low, it makes communication ineffective and makes movement weaken & impaired. This also leads to degeneration of other cells along with symptoms related to non-movement of Parkinson’s disease.
Early signs and symptoms of Parkinson disease:-
Primary symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are all related to motor functions. Whether it is voluntary or involuntary functions, usually affecting one side of the body. There are mild symptoms one experiences at first then get progressive after some time. Studies have shown that person when experiences this disease at first individual has lost about 60%-80% or more cells producing dopamine in the brain.
Sleeping disorder: – sometimes individuals are not able to sleep properly which leads to insomnia.
Tremors in hand and limbs: – it usually occurs while resting and not while working.
Loss of sense of smell: – it is one of early sign an individual face during this disease.
Changing facial expressions: – change in the nerves that control facial muscles leads to changing facial expressions.
Instability of posture/gait: – the body posture changes, which may lead to shuffling gait.
Impaired balance: – due to tremors in the limbs and joint a person also faces weakened balance.
Rigidity: – muscles get stiff and rigid; therefore it is required to do exercise and physiotherapy regularly.
Reduces coordination:- When the dopamine substance in the brain gets low, Communication becomes ineffective leads to reduced coordination.
The problem in urination: – when problem-related to urination arise it can be one of the serious problems related to Parkinson’s disease.
Difficulty in swallowing and chewing: – when a person finds difficulty in swallowing and speech this may arise due to Parkinson’s disease.
Mood swings: – this generally relates to the depression a person experiences along with several mood swings.
Constipation: – it is a problem which generally can occur, but if it continuously persists it may cause a problem like Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson disease high-risk factors:-
When nerve cells damage or die in the brain, this may lead to Parkinson’s disease. Scientists are not sure about what causes Parkinson disease.
Low Dopamine amount level: – dopamine is the neurotransmitter. This problem happens when the cells which produce dopamine die in the brain.
Low nor-epinephrine levels: – nor-epinephrine is also a neurotransmitter. Helpful for automatic body functions like the circulation of blood in the body, etc.
Genetic factors: – due to Parkinson’s disease running in the families but it does not always occur due to in hereditary.
Based on the medical history of the individual, the neurologist diagnoses it. The doctor may suggest certain tests like DAT (dopamine transporter) scan, etc. With the help of neurological conditions and symptoms, the doctor may be able to diagnose the problem correctly. The doctor may also order some lab test, blood tests & imaging tests like MRI, CT, brain Ultrasound & PET test. These tests can also help to configure other disorders related to this disease.
In addition to the diagnosis, doctors prefer to prescribe certain medications like carbidopa-levodopa, helpful for Parkinson’s disease. Sometimes it takes time for the diagnosis of Parkinson disease; doctors recommend several appointments with the neurologist trained with the movement disorders to evaluate and control its symptoms.
Treatment & measures for Parkinson disease:-
Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but treatments are available to be able to maintain the quality of life & relieve the symptoms associated with this disease. In some cases, surgery is advised later.
At times the doctors recommend a change in the lifestyle and advice the patients to do aerobic exercises. In some of the cases, although focus should be on physical therapy, yet usually focus is put on stretching and balancing. Speech problems gradually improve with the help of speech-language pathologist.
The following facilitate the treatment of Parkinson’s disease:-
- Medications: –
Ii) Carbidopa-levodopa infusion
Iii) Dopamine agonists
iv) MAO B inhibitors
V) Catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors
- Surgical procedures: – in some rare cases patients are suggested to go through surgeries when the symptoms start to get worse.
- Deep brain stimulations:-
This treatment is best for patients who are going through advanced Parkinson disease; in this, the electrodes are implanted in a part of the brain.
Home remedies & lifestyle:-
If someone is diagnosed with the Parkinson disease, that person has to work closely with the doctor to get relief from the symptoms and finding its treatment.
Eating healthy/diet advice: – eating healthy is crucial to be able to cope up with the symptoms of the disease by consuming organic food. This helps in maintaining a strong as well as healthy body.
Exercise/yoga: – exercises reduce stiffness and pain in the joints and limbs. Therefore, it is essentially required.
Physiotherapy: – to be able to reduce stiffness and joint pain it is also necessary to have an appointment with a physiotherapist.
Speech and language therapy: – many people experience difficulty in swallowing and problems with their speech. So it will require having a speech therapist to overcome these difficulties.
Parkinson’s disease brings neurological changes in the body and is a lifelong condition. It becomes harder for the person to function when these changes occur in the individual. However, several types of therapy and medicine tracker are available to keep these symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in check. Currently, treatments help relieve symptoms, but scientists think that stem cell therapy and gene therapy will be able to treat the patients better in the years to come.