Parkinson’s Disease – Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
What is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is some sort of movement disorder i.e. it affects the way you move. This disease happens when certain cells in brain reduces or stops to produce important neurotransmitter Dopamine. Dopamine plays important role in moving muscles by giving commands to the motor part of the brain. Also this chemical is crucial for regulating body and emotions.In Parkinson's, these dopamine producing nerve cells break down causing the trouble in voluntary… Click To Tweet
It is a neurodegenerative brain disorder and progresses slowly in most people. For many people it takes years to develop symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. But because of progressive nature it worsens over the time making. Although PD is not fatal in nature, it makes difficult for the patient to do simple day to day activities like lifting coffee cup, walking etc.
Most of the scientists believe that some genes and the exposure to certain chemicals from the environment are responsible for this disease. But sure causes of PD are yet to be known.
How I should know that I am suffering by Parkinson’s disease?
It is very difficult to diagnose PD by doing any sort of pathological test or CT or MRI scan as well due to slow progressive nature of disease.
Doctors rely their diagnosis on some observable symptoms in patients. Patients usually start to have such symptoms between the ages of 50 and 60. But in some cases these becomes apparent earlier.
These symptoms can be listed as follows-
Early Non Motor Symptoms-These symptoms may precede actual movement disturbance by several years
Loss of sense of smell lesser sensitivity to odours (hyposmia)
Sleep disorders (lack of or excessive sleep)
Constipation and Early satiety (a feeling of fullness after eating small amounts)
There are typical patterns of progression in Parkinson’s disease that are defined in five stages. These stages and their respective symptoms are as follows.
Stage 1: Tremor is the peculiar symptom of PD. It often starts in just one arm or leg or on only one side of the body. Tremor at this stage generally does not interfere with day to day activities. Very slight changes set in posture, walking and facial expressions which are noticed by friends and family members.
Note that not everyone with a tremor has Parkinson’s disease.
Stage 2: In this stage both sides of body starts showing the sign of tremor along with rigidity affecting the movements. Difficulty in walking and poor posture may become apparent. Though symptoms in this stage are mild completing simple day-to-day tasks becomes more difficult and may take longer.
Stage 3: In this mid-stage patient starts feeling loss of balance accompanied by slowness of movements. This stage is marked by frequent falls and significant impair in day to day activities like eating and dressing.
Stage 4: At this stage muscle control weakens in such manner that though patient can stand without assistance movement may require walker. This stage PD makes patient dependent on the others to do his daily activities.
Stage 5: This is most severe stage as it becomes impossible for the patient to stand or walk due to stiffness in legs. Patient may get confined to wheel chair or become bed ridden and continuous nursing assistance is required to conduct daily tasks. It may lead to problems like trouble swallowing or constipation
Apart from the reduced movement other non motor symptoms become apparent in Parkinson’s patient like hallucinations and delusions, blank expression, trouble in speaking, loss in mental skills (dementia), mood disorders (depression, anxiety and irritability), light headedness, fatigue, vision problems, excessive sweating, weight loss or weight gain etc
How Parkinson’s disease is treated?
Till date there is no standard treatment available for the Parkinson’s disease. Doctors prescribe medication and surgical procedure based on the severity of the symptoms.
As it is mentioned earlier PD is characterized by lack of or reduced dopamine. So in the initial phase doctors may recommend medicines which increase level of dopamine inside brain. These medicines suppress the symptoms of PD especially tremor up to some extent.
But in advanced stage PD patient stops responding to medications and symptoms of disease become severe. For such drug resistant PD patients a special surgical procedure called as Vim Thalamotomy is performed.
In this procedure selected portion of the thalamus which is a part of brain is surgically destroyed (ablated). (More about this surgery— whether we do invasive or non invasive etc to be added here)
Other supplementary treatments for PD include lifestyle modifications like getting more rest and more exercise.
WIINS has treated successfully over 2000 patients for Parkinson’s Disease Click To Tweet