Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder which occurs due to the damage of the nerve cells in the brain for a prolonged period. As a result, the affected person will have difficulty to perform even simple tasks such as walking, talking or writing, affecting the quality of life. Though Parkinson’s disease cannot be cured, medications prescribed by the doctor may reduce the symptoms associated with the condition.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease develop gradually and often go unnoticed. Initially, only one side of the body is affected but later both the sides get affected. The symptoms of PD vary from person to person. Also, the symptoms change as the condition progresses.
Below symptoms are commonly noticed in patients with Parkinson’s disease:
Consult the doctor if the above-mentioned symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are noticed. Only a doctor can diagnose the exact condition and rule out the other causes.
Parkinson’s disease results due to the degeneration of nerve cells in a part of the brain called substantia nigra. Consequently, a chemical substance known as dopamine is not produced in sufficient quantities. This chemical is vital for the movement of various body parts and a reduction in its levels produces the symptoms of PD. The exact cause of this degeneration of nerve cells is not clear yet?
Advancing age (especially after 60 years) increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. However, PD can develop at any age. The other factors which make a person more prone to develop PD are:
The doctor diagnoses Parkinson’s disease based on the medical history, the signs and symptoms exhibited by the patient and by performing a physical and neurological examination.
No laboratory tests can detect the presence of PD and Parkinson’s disease stages. However, to rule out other conditions, the doctor will order the below tests:
Sometimes the doctor may give a specific Parkinson’s disease medicine. If there is an improvement in the symptoms, it confirms the presence of PD.
In some cases, it takes a long time to diagnose the condition. Therefore, the patient is asked to visit the doctor regularly to evaluate the condition and to check for any changes in the severity of the symptoms.
Parkinson’s disease cannot be cured. Treatment aims at improving the symptoms and preventing the progression of the disease to maintain the quality of life of the person. Treatment options include:
In severe cases, a surgical procedure known as deep brain stimulation (DBS) is recommended. In this method, electrodes are surgically implanted in the brain. These electrodes send electrical impulses to stimulate the affected parts of the brain.
A speech-language pathologist may help the patient with problems of speech. Physical therapy may be provided to improve balance and body posture.
Additionally, the doctor may suggest the patient adopt certain lifestyle changes which may include:
The below complications may develop if Parkinson’s disease is not treated properly:
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