Parkinsons Disease - Health Center
By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST
Battling and Living With Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is well known to be a progressive disorder which directly impairs the functioning of the Nervous system of the affected person. It is known to develop gradually over a period of many years. In the beginning, the symptoms of the person may include something very normal such as a random tremor in one hand. However, this tremor has emerged to be one of the most noticeable as well as very common symptoms for the disease. Usually, in suffering people, the disease leads to the stiffness or the slowing down of the simple bodily movements.
In the very early stages of the disease, an affected person is known to show little or almost no expression in the arms. Often, the speech becomes blurred and non decipherable. The symptoms increase and worsen along with the progression of the disease. Though, no cure of Parkinson’s is known till now, it has been shown that medications can improve the symptoms of the affected the person.
Major Signs and Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease
The signs and symptoms of the disease tend to vary from one person to the other. In most cases, the early symptoms tend to go on unnoticed. Usually, it has been shown that the symptoms begin on one side of the body and then remain on that side on, gradually becoming worse than before. However, with the passage of the time, the symptoms start to affect both the sides of the person. Some of the major symptoms are as follows:
- Tremors: Tremors or the consistent shaking of the hands, legs or arms of the affected person is usually the first visible symptom for a person suffering from Parkinson’s. Usually, the person notices the rubbing of the thumbs. Often there are also the tremors in the affected person’s hands during the state of relaxation.
- Slowing of the Movements: This is also known as Bradykinesia. In this, the person’s ability to move as well as to slow the movement gets decreased and therefore, it makes it very tough for a person to even carry out the most simple of the actions. Not only that, the person finds it difficult to get out of their position i.e. while sitting or finds himself dragging his feet, which hampers his physical movement around the house.
- Rigidness of the Muscles: Stiffness as well as rigidity of the muscles is another of the major symptoms of Parkinson’s. The range of motion of a person is restricted and therefore, can cause tremendous pain.
- Impairment of Posture as well as Balance: In most of the cases, the posture of the affected person becomes stooped and therefore, there is a great difficulty in maintaining the balance of the body.
- Loss in the automation of movements: Due to the lack of the muscular function, a person finds it very hard to perform some of the basic movements, which are often involuntary in action. These may include blinking of the eye, to and fro movements of the arms as well as gesturing while having a conversation.
- Slurring of the Speech: Slurring of the speech is one of the biggest impediments of Parkinson’s disease. In this, a person goes out to speak either very slowly or with blurriness of the speech. There is also an increased hesitation while talking. Not only that, there is an increased monotony of the speech. This can be however, improved with the consultation from the speech pathologist with the help of a regular therapy session.
Medications are known to greatly relieve the patient of these symptoms. In most of the cases, medicines which are rich in Dopamine are the ones that are prescribed as people suffering from Parkinson’s have a low level of Dopamine.
Causes for the Occurrence of Parkinson's
One of the major reasons for the occurrence of Parkinson’s disease is that the neurons present in the body of the person tend to break down and die. These neurons are known to produce a neurotransmitter by the name of Dopamine. With the breaking down of the neurons and the decreased amount of Dopamine in the body, the affected person encounters abnormality in the brain activity and this leads to the condition known as Parkinson’s disease.
Some of the major factors that are known to cause Parkinson’s are as follows:
- Genetic Invariability: The studies have concluded that some genes and their mutation plays a major role in the creation of Parkinson’s. These genes are normally found in the people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease and runs in those families.
- Environmental Factors: The toxins which are found in the environment are known to increase the risk of people to suffer from Parkinson’s.
- Presence of Lewy Bodies: Lewy Bodies are the clumps that are known to be the chemical markers for the onset of Parkinson’s.
Tests and Diagnosis For Parkinson's Disease
As of now, there is no known test or diagnosis for the disease. Basically doctors make the use of a person’s medical history in order to review the major signs and symptoms followed by a neurological as well as a physical examination. In most of the cases, doctors use the carbidopalovodopa – a medication extensively used for Parkinson’s disease. If a person develops a significant improvement in his symptoms, then this goes out to confirm that the person is suffering from the disease. The medication for the disease is given on an empty stomach to the patient and a significant dose is given in order to confirm the diagnosis of the disease.
In most of the cases, it takes a lot of time for the diagnosis of the disease. Doctors often tend to follow up on the patient with regular appointments and then evaluate the situation of the patient. Often neurologists work along with doctors trained in the movement disorders in order to evaluate the condition of the patients and then go in for the final diagnosis of the disease.
Treatment of Parkinson's Disease
There is no known cure for Parkinson’s disease. However, medication can be used in order to control the symptoms of the disease. In some of the rare and advanced cases, surgery can be used as well.
Patients are often told to introduce some major lifestyle changes and this primarily includes the use of exercises and physical exercise which helps them to maintain the overall balance. Medications are known to boost the overall functioning of the person and help him to cope with the walking, overall movements as well as the decrease the occurrence of tremors, by increasing the intake of Dopamine.
When the regular intake of medicines begins, a person soon begins to develop a greater improvement in their symptoms.
Some of the major symptoms which are used for the treatment of Parkinson’s are as follows:
- Carbidopa Levodopa: This is known to be the most effective medication for the disease. Through this the natural chemical is passed along to the brain and then it can be easily convered to Dopamine. Levodopa is often combined along with Carbidopa in order to make sure that the immature conversion to Dopamine can be avoided. Not only that, it reduces the chances of nausea – one of the major side effects of the medication. In most of the cases, people tend to develop dyskinesia as a side effect to the medication. Therefore, doctors are known to better control the dosage of the medication from time to time.
- Dopamine Agonists: These are the medications which do not change to Dopamine directly. Instead, they are known to mimic the functions of Dopamine in the brain. Not as effective, they are known to last longer and therefore can smooth the symptoms of the disease. Some of the majorly used Dopamine Agonists are Pramipexole, Ropinirole and Rotigotine. Some of the major side effects of these medications can be OCD, hallucinations as well as swelling and sleepiness in most of the cases.
- MAO-B Inhibitors: These medications basically include Selegiline and Rasagiline. These are known to avoid the breakdown of Dopamine within the body by the inhibition of the release of an enzyme known as Monoamine Oxidase B. The side effects of this drug may include nausea and frequent headaches. These are known to be used in combination with some antidepressants and are known to cause rare reactions.
- Amantadine: This is prescribed in order to do away with the short term relief of the symptoms of the disease. Side effects of this may include purple straining of the skin, swelling in the ankles and frequent hallucinations.