An Overview of Parkinson’s Disease

Posted On Nov 22, 2022

Dr. Prashanth L.K

Consultant - Parkinson’s Disease & Movement Disorder Specialist

Manipal Hospital-Millers Road

neurology hospital in Bangalore

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurological (brain) disorder that affects body movement. It ranks as the second most common neurodegenerative condition after Alzheimer's. PD affects many areas of the nervous system. It is associated with motor symptoms & non-motor symptoms like episodes of tremors, rigidity, slowness of movement (Bradykinesia), difficulty with balance, sleep disturbances, Hallucination, etc. Dopamine is a chemical that transmits messages to different parts of the brain. When dopamine starts to deplete in the substantia nigra (part of the brain), it causes Bradykinesia, tremors, or other symptoms as mentioned above.

Approximately 1% of the population over the age of 60 is affected by Parkinson's disease. The prognosis for individuals with PD is variable, but the disease is generally progressive and can lead to disability and decreased life expectancy.

Cause of Parkinson’s Disease

While the exact cause of Parkinson's disease is still unknown, a combination of genetic and environmental factors plays a role in the development of the disease.

  • Age

Parkinson's disease is most common in people over 60 years.

  • Family history

People with a family history of Parkinson's disease are more likely to develop the disease themselves.

  • Exposure to toxins

People with exposure to certain toxins (pesticides and herbicides) are at increased risk for developing PD.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

The primary symptoms of Parkinson's disease are tremors, rigidity, bradykinesia, postural instability, difficulty in walking, constipation, sleep disturbances, etc.

Motor/movement-related symptoms include:

  • Tremor

A tremor is an involuntary, rhythmic shaking of muscle. It begins slowly in the hand, arm, and leg and may spread to other parts as the disease progresses. Tremors can be worse when the affected body part is at rest and may decrease when performing tasks or vice versa.

  • Stiffness/Rigidity

Rigidity is defined as increased muscle stiffness and resistance to free bodily movement. It can cause pain and fatigue.

  • Bradykinesia

Bradykinesia refers to the slowness of movement. People with bradykinesia have difficulty initiating movement. Once they start moving, they may have a hard time stopping. 

  • Postural Instability

Postural instability is a loss of balance and coordination, leading to trouble standing up from a chair, getting out of bed, walking, or keeping their balance.

Some of the non-motor symptoms include:

  • Depression and anxiety

  • Sleep disturbance

  • Loss of smell

  • Hallucination

  • Cognitive deficits

  • Bladder & Gastrointestinal dysfunction (constipation)

  • Cardiovascular problems

Consult with our neurologist in Millers Road, Bangalore if you are experiencing above-mentioned symptoms.

Managing Patients with Parkinson’s Disease

Early diagnosis and treatment of symptoms are important for the best possible outcome. The diagnosis is made based on a combination of medical history, physical examination, and neurological testing.

There is no known cure for Parkinson's disease, but there are ways that can help to slow its progression and improve symptoms and quality of life. Treatment for Parkinson's disease typically includes a combination of medication, DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation), Apo-morphine pump, Duodopa pump, and lifestyle changes. 

Dopaminergic drugs are mostly used to treat Parkinson's disease. Dopaminergic drugs increase levels of dopamine in the brain, which helps improve symptoms like tremors and rigidity. Most people have good response to dopaminergic replacement therapy in initial years.  Over the time, the benefits start weaning off leading to reduced ON times and excess effects (dyskinesia).  During this phase, options of continuous dopaminergic therapies are available in the form of patches, Apomorphine pumps and Deep brain stimulation surgeries.  In interim phases, rescue therapies in the from of apomorphine injections / sublingual apomorohine / levodopa inhalers can also be recommended.  An Apomorphine pump is a device that is implanted under the skin to deliver a concentrated dose of medication directly to the site of the brain. Lifestyle changes include exercise, a healthy diet, and stress management.

The most common type of surgery is Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), which involves implanting electrodes in the brain to deliver electrical impulses. This can reduce tremors, rigidity, and bradykinesia, and improve movement. 

Always remembers, exerceises and good social life style has beneficial effects on Parkinson’s disease symptoms.  

Thus, working with your doctor and adhering to the suggested treatment plan is the key to successfully treating symptoms of PD. Visit our neurology hospital in Bangalore to consult with the experts.

Please book an appointment with a Consultant – Neurology to assess your symptoms and receive the best possible treatment at the earliest.

Dr. Prashanth L K

Consultant - Parkinson’s Disease & Movement Disorder Specialist

Manipal Hospitals, Millers Road, Bangalore

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