What Is Parkinson’s Disease And How Can It Be Treated?

Parkinson’s is a progressive, degenerative disorder of the brain. Approximately 1% of people over the age of 60 have the condition.  There is no cure for this disease, but treatment is available to manage the symptoms, mostly with medication.

 

Symptoms

Tremors

Most patients with this disease develop a tremor which can be seen in the hands and fingers. It happens when the limbs are in a relaxed state and disappears when performing tasks such as drinking or eating. Some people with the Parkinson’s do not develop a tremor.

 

Bradykinesia

Slows down the body movement which is a disabling and frustrating symptom of Parkinson’s. it is difficult initiating movement and this movement may be slow. There may be lack of coordination when moving, in turn making normal activities difficult.

 

Stiffness

Common early sign of Parkinson’s disease is stiffness or rigidity. It can be seen in the arms, shoulder or neck and can occur in all muscle groups. It can be difficult for people to get out of a chair, to turn or roll over the bed and even walk. Doing up a button or tying a shoelace may also seem difficult.

 

Loss of Balance

This symptom develops later in the disease. A forward or backward lean can be noticed in a person with the Parkinson’s because of the impaired balance and co-ordination.

 

Other symptoms include

  • Bladder problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Difficulty with writing
  • Numbness
  • Decreased blinking
  • Emotional changes
  • Walking difficulty
  • Increased saliva production
  • Dementia
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Skin sensation and pain

 

Treatment

Parkinson’s doesn’t have a cure so treatment focus on managing these symptoms. There are several ways treatment can be done.

Medication

Medication has shown to provide dramatic results. Medication most commonly used to help control symptoms are Carbidopa-levodopa, Dopamine agonists, Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), Amantadine.

 

Physiotherapy

Co-ordination, mobility, range of motion and muscle tone can be improved with the help of physiotherapy. These therapies can help the patient feel more confident and capable.

 

Exercise

Exercise can improve mobility and general health. Dopamine which is released during exercise seems to improve the response of the body.

 

Sleep

Sleep is very essential for people suffering from Parkinson’s. Patients tend to feel better in the morning and deteriorate during the day.

 

Diet

A nutritional balanced diet is important. There are no specific diets that are shown to be of therapeutic value in Parkinson’s disease.

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