Everything You Need To Know About Parkinson's Disease

    Everything You Need To Know About Parkinson's Disease

    Globally, statistics show that 10 million people suffer from Parkinson’s disease (PD). This condition is more common among elderly patients. While men are 1.5 times more likely to develop the disease, it can affect people of any gender or race. But what is Parkinson’s disease? In this article, we discuss the risk factors, symptoms, complications, treatment or management of PD.

    What is Parkinson’s Disease?

    Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that results in abnormalities in one’s motor functions. Those with PD often experience resting tremors, muscle rigidity, uncontrollably slow movement, and difficulty maintaining an upright posture.

    The condition is a result of a lack of dopamine production and release in the brain. While dopamine is not the only neurochemical that is affected in PD, it may be responsible for the symptoms of the disease. A neurotransmitter and chemical messenger, dopamine is responsible for movement control, emotional responses, and the feelings of pain and pleasure.

    Risk Factors

    Although the cause of Parkinson’s disease is currently unknown, several factors can contribute to one’s risk of developing the disease. These include low caffeine consumption, smoking, and pesticide exposure. However, evidence shows that age is a primary factor in the development of the condition, with many people developing symptoms in their 60s and 70s.

    Early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

    While Parkinson’s disease affects motor functions, it has symptoms that go beyond movement. The symptoms of PD include:

    • Anosmia or the loss of smell
    • Tremors while at rest
    • Smaller than normal handwriting
    • Difficulties walking or moving around (shuffling gait)
    • Insomnia or trouble sleeping
    • Constipation
    • Masked face or blank facial expressions
    • A quiet, soft, and/or low-toned voice or hoarseness
    • Stooped posture
    • Dizziness or fainting

    If these symptoms are present in an elderly patient, it is best to consult a medical professional or a neurologist who specializes in movement disorders.

    Complications of PD

    The following are complications that patients with Parkinson’s disease can experience:

    Treatment or Management of PD

    While there is no cure yet for Parkinson’s disease, there are ways to manage the symptoms. The treatment of PD is multi-disciplinary, and may involve neurology, occupational therapy, and medical social workers.

    Depending on the severity of the disease, doctors may prescribe medication. Typically, patients who need medication receive prescriptions for levodopa, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), or anticholinergics. These can increase the levels of dopamine and decrease its breakdown rate.

    How to Prevent Parkinson’s disease

    Recent research indicates that maintaining a physically active lifestyle (such as doing aerobics) may help in preventing the disease. Talk to your doctor and a licensed fitness instructor before starting a new exercise routine or increasing the intensity of your current workout.

    Coffee and green tea are also believed to stave off PD. However, more studies are necessary to confirm their effects on the development of this disease. It is best to consult a doctor before adding these drinks to your diet or increasing your current intake.

    Key Takeaway

    Parkinson’s disease is a serious condition that is characterized by symptoms such as a shuffling gait, blank facial expressions, resting tremor, sleeping problems, loss of smell, and cognitive issues. It is a condition that affects dopamine (a neurotransmitter that controls movement and emotional response) production in the brain. Because it affects motor functions, it is a debilitating condition.

    As the condition progresses, patients may have difficulties fulfilling simple tasks such as moving around and eating. While there is currently no cure for the disease, treatment is available in the form of symptom management.

    Learn more about Parkinson’s Disease here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Sources

    Statistics https://www.parkinson.org/Understanding-Parkinsons/Statistics Accessed January 25, 2021

    Time Trends in the Incidence of Parkinson’s Disease: a 30-year Study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5004732/ Accessed January 25, 2021

    Chapter 1Parkinson’s Disease: Etiology, Neuropathology, and Pathogenesis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK536722/ Accessed January 25, 2021

    Neuroanatomy, Substantia Nigra https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK536995/ Accessed January 25, 2021

    Exploring the Link Between Dopamine and Parkinson’s Disease https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/exploring-the-link-between-dopamine-and-parkinsons-disease.html#:~:text=Scientists%20believe%20a%20lack%20of,neurotransmitter%20affected%20in%20Parkinson’s%20disease. Accessed January 25, 2021

    10 Early Signs of Parkinson’s Disease https://www.parkinson.org/understanding-parkinsons/10-early-warning-signs Accessed January 25, 2021

    Movement Symptoms https://www.parkinson.org/Understanding-Parkinsons/Movement-Symptoms Accessed January 25, 2021

    Non-Movement Symptoms https://www.parkinson.org/Understanding-Parkinsons/Non-Movement-Symptoms Accessed January 25, 2021

    Treatment https://www.parkinson.org/Understanding-Parkinsons/Treatment Accessed January 25, 2021

    Parkinson’s disease https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20376055#:~:text=Some%20research%20has%20shown%20that,who%20don’t%20drink%20it. Accessed January 25, 2021

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    Written by Den Alibudbud Updated Aug 30
    Medically reviewed by Nicole Aliling, MD