Saturday, 18 May 2024

Parkinson’s Disease: Treatment and Support

Neurological diseases express a vast social and financial pressure that imperils public health due to risk factors like mental dysfunctions, stress, mental distress, microbiota, along with hereditary and dietary factors. One of the before-mentioned diseases is Parkinson’s Disease (PD) which affects movement. This chronic neurodegenerative disease worsens over time. So far there is no complete cure for PD. However, Parkinson’s disease treatment helps to reduce the signs and symptoms and improve the quality of life of the patient.

According to the statistics published by the Parkinson’s Foundation, more than 10 million people worldwide are living with PD. Those living with PD, their family members and friends are looking for answers related to Parkinson’s disease treatment along with its causes and signs. To help them, this blog compiles commonly asked questions related to the disease and we have answered every question as comprehensively as possible.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

PD is a chronic degenerative condition that involves malfunctioning and death of neurons (vital nerve cells) in the brain. These cells are responsible to create a special kind of neurotransmitter, called dopamine, which is responsible for controlling movement. Gradually as Parkinson’s disease progresses, the dying neurons produce only a small amount of dopamine leaving the patient incompetent to control movement normally.

In simple words, Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder where the neurons fail to transmit the right message from the brain to body parts about when and how to move which tends to make the person incapable of inducing and regulating movements in a normal manner. Hence, the brain fails to control coordination and movement that may degenerate the quality of life of a patient. Studies show that Parkinson’s disease treatment controls signs and symptoms as well as minimize their adverse effects.

What Causes Parkinson’s Disease?

Although there are no exact known causes of PD, experts claim that disease may be caused due to genetic, personal, and environmental factors varying from one person to another. These are:

  1. Personal Factors- Commonly, aging (people over 50 years), oxidative stress, fatal accidents or shocks, and drugs (such as neuroleptic tranquilizers) are considered as potential risk factors that may cause PD.
  1. Genetic Factors- Scientists have discovered certain gene mutations (that actively perform in dopamine cell functions) that may cause PD. Even though PD cases are not directly inherited, the risk of developing PD rises if a person has parents or siblings affected with the disease.
  2. Environmental Factors- An exposure to environmental toxins or damages (including insecticides, pesticides, deteriorated water) may act as risk factors behind developing Parkinson’s disease.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease cannot be examined through a test but it needs a careful examination to check the symptoms.  Notably, the early signs of Parkinson’s disease are subtle and take place over time. However, Parkinson’s disease treatment helps in ease of these signs.

The PD can be detected by the following cardinal signs:

  • Resting Tremor- While at rest, a body part (such as leg, foot, or hand) may start trembling which usually ceases when a person initiates an action. Generally, tremors remain on the initially affected side, but as the disease progresses, it may often expand to the other side of the body.
  • Bradykinesia or Slow movement- It is a state that describes a common reduction of natural movements that may lead to abnormal stillness and no facial expressions. Also, this condition hinders a person from doing daily activities like brushing his/her teeth, buttoning a shirt, chopping vegetables, and many more.
  • Stiffness or Rigidity- It is a condition where the person experiences tightness or stiffness in the neck, leg, or shoulder. Not only this, the affected limb may become inflexible causing discomfort and pain.
  • Postural Instability- Unstable standing, walking, and sitting postures are cardinal symptoms of PD that may cause balance problems and difficulty in making turns or act quickly.
  • Regular Freezing of Gait- In this state, a person may experience sudden, short and temporary episodes of an incapacity to move his/her feet forward instead of the desire to walk. This may make the person feel annoyed or embarrassed but sometimes it forces incredibly disabling and even may lead to injury.
  • Loss of Automatic Movements- The person may fail to blink his eye, smile, and perform other automatic movements.
  • Other Associated Non-Motor Symptoms- Other overlooked symptoms may include sleep issues, depression, anxiety, unbearable pain, hallucinations and/or delusions, difficulty in multitasking, lightheadedness, modest personality changes.

What are Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Options?

Despite the fact that there is no proven cure, there are various options available for Parkinson’s disease treatment.

  1. Medications- The early signs of PD can be controlled by medications. Commonly, doctors use L-Dopa (levodopa) that helps to increase the make of dopamine and treat movement disorders. But these medications should be taken only if prescribed by your neurologist.
  1. Therapies- Some PD specialists recommend the patient to attend special sessions like speech therapy, massage therapy, Yoga session, and tai chi movement therapy. Also, the experts recommend to change lifestyles, adopt healthy eating habits and diets, daily exercises can help treat Parkinson’s disease.
  1. Surgical Procedures – In later stages (for people not responding to medication and therapy), the doctors may perform deep brain stimulation surgery. It is an advanced Parkinson’s disease treatment that may provide sustained benefit for lessening the adverse effects of the symptoms.

There is ongoing research for a better understanding of the causes, symptoms, and cure of the chronic disease. However, you should consult a neurologist as early as possible to initiate Parkinson’s disease treatment that can stop the cardinal signs to evolve and deteriorate your quality of life.