Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects the movement of the body. The part of the brain called the “substantianigra” produces dopamine. This dopamine helps in smooth and coordinated muscle movements of the body. In Parkinson’s, the cells of the substantianigra slowly start to die. This culminates in a reduction of dopamine. When the dopamine levels have dropped 60 to 80 percent, symptoms of Parkinson’s start to emerge.
Although there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, medications might significantly improve your symptoms. You should visit your doctor for a diagnosis and consultations.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
The symptoms of Parkinson can be caught on early before the motor problems occur. The earliest symptoms are:
Decreased ability to smell (anosmia)
Small, cramped handwriting
Major Motor Problem’s symptoms are:
Tremor (shaking that occurs at rest)
Stiffness of arms, legs, and trunk
Problems with balance and tendency to fall
Secondary symptoms include:
blank facial expression
a tendency to get stuck when walking
muffled, low-volume speech
decreased blinking and swallowing
the tendency to fall backward
reduced arm swinging when walking
Other, more severe, symptoms may include:
Seborrheic Dermatitis, which results in flaky white or yellow scales on oily parts of the skin
Increased risk of melanoma, a serious type of skin cancer
Sleep disturbances such as talking, vivid dreams, and movement during sleep
Problems with attention and memory
Difficulty with visual-spatial relationships
Usually, early signs of Parkinson’s disease go unrecognized. Recognize the warning signs and symptoms and visit the doctor at the earliest.
Causes of Parkinson’s disease
The researchers have not been able to determine the exact cause of Parkinson’s disease but there are several aspects that play a significant part.
Your genes: There are specific genetic mutations that can cause Parkinson’s disease. Certain gene variation appears to increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease but there is a small risk of Parkinson’s disease for each of these genetic markers.
Environmental triggers: If you are exposed to specific toxins or certain environmental factors, there is an increased risk of later Parkinson’s disease, but the risk is relatively small.
The presence of Lewy bodies: Researchers believe that abnormal proteins called Lewy bodies, which are present in brain cells also hold an important clue to the cause of Parkinson’s disease.
Diagnosing Parkinson’s disease
To diagnose Parkinson’s disease, there is no specific test. Diagnosis is presented based on the patient’s health history, a physical and neurological exam, as well as a review of signs and symptoms.
Also, the Doctor uses imaging tests such as CAT scan or MRI to rule out other conditions. A dopamine transporter (DAT) scan may also be used by Doctor. While these tests won’t confirm Parkinson’s, they help the doctor to rule out other conditions and support the doctor’s diagnosis.
Treatment for Parkinson’s disease
The treatment for Parkinson’s involves a combination of medications, lifestyle changes, and therapies. The doctor will recommend adequate rest, exercise, and a balanced diet.
Therapies such as Speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy can also help to improve communication and self-care.
In most cases, medication will be prescribed by the doctor to help control the various physical and mental health symptoms associated with the disease.
Surgical Treatment of Parkinson’s
Deep Brain Stimulation: Surgeons implant electrodes into a specific part of your brain. Electrical Pulses are sent to your brain using an electrode connected to a generator that is implanted in your chest near your collarbone. This surgery is usually recommended for people with advanced Parkinson's disease who have unstable medication (levodopa) responses. This surgery will reduce or halt involuntary movements (dyskinesia), medication fluctuations, reduce rigidity, reduce tremors, and improve the slowing of movement.
Recovery after Treatment
After surgery, you will have to closely work with your doctor to get the greatest relief from symptoms with the fewest side effects. Also, you will have to change your lifestyle by:
Healthy eating: Eat Foods high in Fiber and drink an adequate amount of fluids can help prevent constipation that is common in Parkinson's disease. Follow a balanced diet that provides nutrients.
Exercise: Exercise daily to increase your muscle strength, flexibility, and balance.
Many kinds of research have been conducted on Parkinson’s. However, doctors and researchers don’t understand what causes Parkinson’s. They are also baffled to their different progression on each person. Though it is unclear how you can prevent the disease, you can certainly adopt good lifestyle practices to prevent it.
If you have a family history of Parkinson’s, go for genetic testing. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you will develop this disease if you have a certain gene mutation. You should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of genetic testing.
In this battle against Parkinson’s disease, become a warrior as fierce, brave, courageous, and strong. Make a commitment to a life of compassion to promote your well-being.