A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease can be devastating to the patient as well as to the family. Let us understand what exactly happens in this disease, why does it occur, and what you can do to protect yourself against Parkinson’s.
What is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. In this condition, your brain stops producing a neurotransmitter called dopamine. When the reserves of dopamine are low the person’s ability to regulate normal body movements and expressing emotions diminishes.
Who is at risk?
- Old age is one of the common risk factors for developing Parkinson’s disease, the risk increases after you cross 60 years of age.
- Gender also may affect the risk for Parkinson’s disease.
- Men are 1.5 to 2 times more affected than women.
- Family history may also at times cause the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
- Exposure to certain environmental toxins such as pesticides, herbicides and head trauma can also be the risk factor for developing Parkinson’s disease.
What are the main symptoms?
Early signs of Parkinson’s can be subtle and take a long period of time to become obvious. They may also be mistaken as normal signs of aging.
Some early signs of Parkinson’s include:
- Restless sleep
- Poor balance
- Impaired voice
- Soft speech
- Dribbling of urine
- Neck tightness
- Small handwriting
- Muscle rigidity
Symptoms of Parkinson’s often start on one side of the body, eventually expanding to both sides, though not equally. The tremors typical of Parkinson’s make holding utensils difficult, result in handwriting changes and interfere with other movements.
In addition to movement problems, a number of non-motor signs of Parkinson’s may arise, including difficulty swallowing or chewing, sleep problems, fatigue, emotional changes, depression and dementia, among others.
How is Parkinson’s disease diagnosed?
It is best to consult a neurologist who is specialized in movement disorders for proper diagnosis. The neurological examination would include the evaluation of walking, coordination, and fine motor tasks such as picking objects, holding a spoon, etc. Furthermore, the MRI of the brain is recommended to ascertain any changes in the brain.
How is Parkinson’s disease treated?
Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. The goals of the treatment would only focus on alleviating the symptoms and improving the quality of life for extending the life expectancy. Doctors have an array of treatments for Parkinson’s disease, from medications to state-of-the-art surgical options to lifestyle modifications. The options are different for each patient, but the right treatment plan can greatly improve a Parkinson’s patient’s quality of life. The present therapies are only for increasing the levels of dopamine or for inhibiting the breakdown of dopamine or to mimicking or prolonging the effect of dopamine. A careful selection and appropriate dosing of medicines alleviate most of the Parkinson’s disease related symptoms almost completely.
Is Parkinson’s survivable?
Parkinson’s itself is not fatal and patients can live a normal lifespan, but the loss of muscle control may lead to choking and falls that could result in a life-threatening injury. The survivability of Parkinson’s disease depends on the severity of complications that may occur in the late stages of the disorder.
Do you have more questions about Parkinson’s disease, or think you or a family member might benefit from an evaluation of the same? Meet our specialists at the Parkinson’s Clinic or visit below website link for further details: