An overview of Parkinson’s Disease

 

Parkinson’s disease is an illness that affects the part of your brain that controls how you move your body. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. Symptoms start gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. Tremors are common, but the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement. In the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, your face may show little or no expression. Your arms may not swing when you walk. Your speech may become soft or slurred. Parkinson’s disease symptoms worsen as your condition progresses over time.

Causes

Doctors aren’t sure why all those brain cells start dying. They think it’s a mix of your genes and something in the environment, but the reason is not straightforward. Someone could have a change in a gene tied to Parkinson’s but never get the disease. That happens a lot. And a bunch of people could work side by side in a place with chemicals linked to Parkinson’s, but only a few of them end up with it. It’s a complex puzzle, and scientists are still trying to put all the pieces together.

Symptoms

Parkinson’s disease signs and symptoms can be different for everyone. Early signs may be mild and go unnoticed. Symptoms often begin on one side of your body and usually remain worse on that side, even after symptoms begin to affect both sides. Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that progresses slowly. Some people will first notice a sense of weakness, difficulty walking, and stiff muscles. Others may notice a tremor of the head or hands. Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder and the symptoms gradually worsen.

The general symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:

The slowness of voluntary movements, especially in the initiation of such movements as walking or rolling over in bed.
Decreased facial expression, monotonous speech, and decreased eye blinking.
A shuffling gait with poor arm swing and stooped posture
Unsteady balance; difficulty rising from a sitting position
Continuous “pill-rolling” motion of the thumb and forefinger
Swallowing problems in later stages
Light-headedness or fainting when standing

Diagnosis

No specific test exists to diagnose Parkinson’s disease. The doctor may suggest a specific single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) scan called a dopamine transporter scan (DaTscan). Although this can help support the suspicion that you have Parkinson’s disease, it is your symptoms and neurologic examination that ultimately determine the correct diagnosis. Blood tests are also prescribed to rule out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms. Sometimes it takes time to diagnose Parkinson’s disease. Regular follow-up appointments with neurologists trained in movement disorders to evaluate your condition and symptoms over time and diagnose Parkinson’s disease.

How Is Parkinson’s Treated?

It’s all about managing symptoms. Drugs for Parkinson’s can often help with tremors, stiff muscles, and slow movements. Your doctor may also suggest physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, based on how it affects you. And in some cases, you may need surgery.

Medications may help you manage problems with walking, movement and tremor. These medications increase or substitute for dopamine. People with Parkinson’s disease have low brain dopamine concentrations. However, dopamine can’t be given directly, as it can’t enter your brain.

Symptoms usually start on one side of your body and eventually move to the other side. Signs of Parkinson’s disease can look a lot like those of other conditions that affect your nervous system. So it can sometimes take a while to know for sure what’s going on, especially if your symptoms are mild. To diagnose and for the better treatment-related to this contact Medisys Hospital, a growing super speciality hospital in Hyderabad. They aid in improving patients’ health. Prevention is better than cure. Get diagnosed and treated early for better results.

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