Neurology

Parkinson’s disease

Description

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease that affects the functionality of the brain, which results in inappropriate or abnormal movement. The disease develops gradually, beginning with an unnoticeable tremor with one hand and cause stiffness and slow movement in the entire body. It occurs when certain nerve cells in the brain slowly break down and die eventually

Causes and symptoms

There are many risk factors that cause Parkinson’s disease, which are as follows:

  • Viral infection

  • Exposure to certain environmental toxins

  • Adverse reaction to certain medications

  • Stroke

  • Thyroid and parathyroid disorders

  • Brain tumor

  • Repeated head trauma

  • Hydrocephalus

  • Brain inflammation

  • Genetic mutation

  • Presence of Lewy bodies

  • Alzheimer

  • Wilson’s and Huntington disease

The symptoms may vary from patient to patient and are barely noticeable at the beginning but may become worse if not treated on time. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Tremor or involuntary shaking of body parts

  • Slow movement

  • Stiff and rigid muscles

  • Impaired balance and posture

  • Speech changes

  • Writing changes

  • Loss of automatic movements

  • Decreased facial expressions

  • Depression

  • Insomnia

  • Memory issues

  • Loss of smell and sense

Diagnosis

There are no laboratory or specific tests that can diagnose Parkinson’s disease. Only a doctor trained in the nervous system (Neurologist) can identify if you are suffering from this condition by examining your symptoms, lifestyle, physical examination and medical history. Imaging tests such as CT scan, PET scan, MRI and ultrasound can be done to find out any disorders that may contribute to the condition. Furthermore, the doctor can also give a proper dose of medicine called carbidopa-levodopa that improves Parkinson’s disease symptoms to confirm its diagnosis.



Treatment

The fact about Parkinson’s disease is, it can’t be cured. However, medications can help relieve symptoms that can allow the patient to lead a normal life. The doctor may also suggest you to change your lifestyle and perform regular exercise to control the symptoms. Below are given some treatment methods of Parkinson’s disease:

  • Medications: People diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease have trouble walking, speaking and moving due to low dopamine. With proper medications, they can increase neurotransmitter signals in your brain by enhancing dopamine concentrations, which will aid in relieving from severe symptoms. Carbidopa-levodopa is considered as the most effective medicine for this condition. Other widely used medications are Carbidopa-levodopa infusion, Amantadine and Anticholinergics, dopamine agonists, MAO-B inhibitors, Catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitors.

  • Deep Brian stimulation (DBS): DBS is a surgical implant of electrodes into a particular part of the brain, which is connected to a generator implanted in the chest that sends electrical pulses to the brain. It helps reducing Parkinson’s disease symptoms and it is performed when medications are ineffective in treating tremors, rigidity and slow movement.

Complications

As with any treatment, Parkinson’s disease treatments also contain some side effects, which are:

  • Nausea

  • Lightheadedness (orthostatic hypotension)

  • Hallucination

  • Sleepiness

  • Hypersexuality

  • Compulsive behavior

  • Insomnia

  • Dyskinesias

  • Diarrhea

  • Confusion

  • Impaired memory

  • Ankle swelling

  • Infection

  • Bleeding

  • Stroke

Post operative care

Treatment of Parkinson’s disease continues for decades in order to control symptoms. It is a life changing disease and you may need to learn new ways to do everyday tasks such as walking or talking.

Join palliative care and rehabilitation therapies to improve your symptoms and get all the necessary support to recover from the disease.

Perform regular exercise to relieve your muscle stiffness, improve your mood and relieve stress.

Take part in active sports such as jogging, cycling and tennis. Perform Yoga and eat healthy and balanced diet to provide necessary nutritions to the body.

Visit your therapist on regular basis for vaccinations to prevent infections and other complications.