What is Parkinson’s disease (PD)?
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the mental disorder, in which the neurons of the brain degenerate slowly. 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.
Is it a serious condition?
As such PD is not serious but the symptoms it causes are serious. In the United States, Parkinson’s disease is rated as the 14th top cause of death.
Is there any permanent cure for Parkinson’s disease (PD)?
No, you cannot expect a complete cure for Parkinson’s disease. Your doctor would focus on the treatment of the complications to improve the symptoms and enhance the quality of life as much as possible.
Who are at risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD)?
- Old age is one of the common risk factors for developing PD. Older people above 60 years are at more risk of developing PD.
- Gender also may affect the risk for PD. Men are 1.5 to 2 times more affected than women.
- Family history may also at times cause the risk of PD
- Exposure to certain environmental toxins such as pesticides, herbicides and head trauma can also be the risk factor for developing PD.
What are the most common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD)?
There may be many symptoms but are showcased after a very long time, here are some of the main symptoms that a person with PD would experience:
- Restless sleep
- Poor balance
- Impaired voice
- Soft speech
- Dribbling of urine
- Neck tightness
- Small handwriting
- Muscle rigidity
How is Parkinson’s disease (PD) diagnosed?
You must approach a famed neurologist to confirm the disease as there may also be other Parkinson’s like diseases with similar symptoms which may miss guide us. Therefore it’s better to re-evaluate the confirmed case of Parkinson’s disease by the second opinion of doctors.
Go to a neurologist who is specialized in movement disorders for proper diagnosis. An initial assessment is made using the medical history of the patient, by the neurological examination and assessing the existing symptoms. The neurological examination would include the evaluation of walking, coordination, and fine motor tasks such as picking objects, holding a spoon, etc.
Stages of Parkinson’s disease (PD):
There are five stages in Parkinson’s disease; each stage has different symptoms with different intensities.
If you are a person in stage I of PD your symptoms would be mild and would not interfere with your basic daily activities. Tremors and other movement disturbances are confined only to one side of the body. The people around you may notice changes in your posture, facial expressions, and walking style.
If you are a person in the second stage of PD you will experience the symptoms at their worst. Tremors and rigidity in the movements of body affect both left and right side of the body. Improper gait and unstable walking are more prominent than in stage one. Also, performing day-to-day tasks may become a bit hectic and take longer than the usual time.
If you are the person in the third stage of PD, then it’s obvious that you would face the hallmarks of this phase. Loss of balance and slowness of movements are more prominent. You will need someone to help you while walking as falls are more common in this phase. Daily activities such as dressing and eating are significantly impaired.
In this phase, you can experience severe conditions of PD at this stage and movement is very limited. You may require a walker for the movements. You would need others help for helping you with your daily life activities.
The final phase is more advanced and is a debilitating stage of PD. There may be stiffness in the legs, and it would be very difficult to stand or walk. You may require a wheel chair for assistance. 24*7 nursing care is a must for providing continuous care to the patient. You are likely to also experience hallucinations and delusions.
What is the treatment for Parkinson’s disease (PD)?
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. 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. It is believed that early therapy in the non-motor phase can slow down the onset of motor symptoms, thereby making the person lead an extended quality of life.