Parkinson’s Disease Is The Disorder That Affects Your Brain Activity
Parkinson’s disease is actually a nervous system disorder that affects movement. The nature of it is progressive, that means the symptoms generally gets worse with time. The symptoms of this disorder are start gradually, as slight as just a tremor in the hand. Although the occurrence of tremors are common, stiffness and slowing down of movement are the typical resultants of Parkinson’s disease over time. Even the facial muscles get stiff making it difficult to show expressions. There is difficulty in swinging the arm, and a difficulty in speech too develops.
The symptoms can vary from person to person. At very early stages it may so happen that the signs are mild and even go unnoticed. Generally these symptoms start to develop on one side of the body only but with time it affects both sides, making the symptoms of the former affected side worse.
Parkinson’s symptoms and signs include:
- Slowed movement (Brady kinesia)
- Rigid muscles
- Impaired posture and balance
- Loss of automatic movements
- Speech changes
- Writing changes
Although the particular or exact cause is unknown but it can be associated with a chemical called Dopamine. This chemical is produced by the neurons present in the brain. As these neurons die there is less amount of dopamine. And with the decrease in dopamine levels there is abnormal brain activity. This ultimately leads to developing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Several factors may be responsible for Parkinson’s disease. Those are:
- Environmental triggers
- Presence of Lewy bodies
- Alpha-synuclein (found within Lewy bodies)
Risk factors for Parkinson’s disease include:
The risk is higher for older or late middle aged people than the ones who are young.
A close relative or a family member having Parkinson’s can increase the chance of developing Parkinson’s in you.
It so happens that men are more likely to get affected.
- Exposure to toxins:
Constant exposure to herbicides and pesticides
Complications of Parkinson’s disease
There are additional complications, but these may be treatable:
- Thinking difficulties
- Depression and emotional changes
- Swallowing problems
- Chewing and eating problems
- Sleep problems and sleep disorders
- Bladder problems
- Blood pressure changes
- Smell dysfunction
- Sexual dysfunction
A neurologist is the trained specialist to know and diagnose the symptoms to a valid conclusion of Parkinson’s disease or not. There are no specific tests that can diagnose this disease. There is thorough check and review of the physical symptoms, medical history, neurological tests. The doctor may advice to undergo a specific single-photon emission computerised tomography SPECT scan which is called as DAT scan (Dopamine Transporter). Also certain blood tests and other imaging tests can be advised to rule out any other cause of the symptoms.
The treatment is largely to control the symptoms, even dramatically. But there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. The various methods to get the symptoms in control are:
The problems or difficulty in walking, movement and tremor can be improved to a great extent by medications. These medications basically either substitute or increase the chemical, dopamine.
Deep brain stimulation:
This is mostly offered to the people who suffer from advanced Parkinson’s disease and have unstable medication (levodopa) responses. The DBS or deep brain stimulation may have a sustained benefit for the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, but the fact remains that this would not be able to stop the Parkinson’s disease from progressing.
Lifestyle and home remedies:
These remedies will offer relief from the symptoms to a great extent and with really few side effects. Also, there are certain changes in the lifestyle that can also help people to live with Parkinson’s disease a lot easier.
- Healthy eating with high amounts of fibre and omega-3 included in the diet.
- Exercise which will help in strengthening the muscles, increasing flexibility and improve balance
- Avoiding falls
- Daily living activities which can be difficult for people who have Parkinson’s disease, such as dressing, eating, bathing and writing, can be done with the help of a therapist or a family member.
With some supportive therapies there can be relief to certain symptoms such as depression, pain and fatigue.
- Tai chi
- Alexander technique
- Pet therapy