Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disease that primarily affects the part of the brain responsible for normal movement. People with the disease have a lack of dopamine, a brain chemical that helps control the movement, according to Dr. Danny Bega, a neurologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
In Parkinson's nerve cells in the substantia nigra, an area of the brain that produces dopamine becomes weakened or dies off. This results in loss of dopamine-producing nerve cells in the brain and leads to symptoms such as tremor, slow movement and muscle stiffness.
About 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease each year, according to the Parkinson's Foundation. [1
Parkinson's disease can cause the following motor symptoms or those that generally affect a person's movement:
- Tremor (a small trembling or shaking), usually in a hand, finger, foot or leg or chin, typically while you are at rest. Tremor can also be an early sign of Parkinson's.
- Muscle stiffness and stiffness of arms, legs or body. For example, arms may not swing freely when the person walks or feet may be stuck when the person walks or turns.
- Slow motion, including being slow to start movements like getting out of a chair; slow involuntary movements, such as flashing; or slow in performing routine movements such as tying a shirt. Facial muscles can also be affected, causing missing expression known as "face masks".
- Balance, gait and body problems. A shuffling walk with short steps and a bent stance is characteristic of people with Parkinson's and can throw off balance and increase the risk of falling.
Symptoms typically develop slowly over time, making them difficult to detect in the early stages of the disease. In addition, the progression of symptoms and their intensity may vary from one person to another.
Parkinson's causes more than motor problems; There may also be non-motor symptoms that are not related to motion, Bega said. These symptoms can affect a person's quality of life and the functioning of everyday life, and they may include:
- Mood disorders. Depression and anxiety are common in people with Parkinson's.
- Cognitive changes affecting memory, thinking, judgment and the ability to think of words. These usually occur in the later stages of Parkinson's.
- Odor disorders. A reduced sensitivity to odor or odor reduction is an early symptom of Parkinson's.
- Extinguishing problem. The ability to swallow goes slower as the disease progresses. Saliva can accumulate in the mouth and cause drooling.
- Fabrics and eating problems. Parkinson's late stage can affect the muscles of a person's mouth, making it harder to chew. This can lead to suffocation and weight loss.
- Speech changes. A person can speak more softly or sound monotonously.
- Writing changes. Handwriting may look smaller and words may be crowded together.
- Sleep Disorders. Insomnia, daytime tiredness and live dreams can all be associated with Parkinson's.
- constipation. Foods move more slowly through the digestive tract, making it difficult for intestinal tubes.
- Dizziness. Lightheadedness when you get up after sitting or lying down, caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure in people with Parkinson's.
Causes and Risk Factors
The cause of Parkinson's disease is not yet known by the Mayo Clinic. However, researchers suspect that PD is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Parkinson's is an aging disease and getting older is the most common risk factor for it, Bega Live Science said. PD is more likely to develop in people around the age of 60, and the risk increases with every decade after 60, he noted.
The disorder can also be diagnosed in younger people, but it is rare. Only 5 to 10 percent of people have diseases at the beginning, which means that people are diagnosed before 50 years.
In addition to age, other risk factors for Parkinson's disease are:
- Being Man: Men are 1.2 to 1.5 times more likely than women who develop Parkinson's, for reasons not yet known, Bega said.
- Heredity: Some genetic mutations can contribute to the development of Parkinson's and may slightly increase a person's risk. But most cases of the disease are not caused by inheritance genes associated with it. Only about 10 percent of people with Parkinson's are genetically predisposed to the condition, according to the American Parkinson's Disease Association.
- Exposure to toxins: Studies have shown that environmental factors – such as exposure to pesticides, herbicides (such as Agent Orange) and drinking good water – may be associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's, but that risk is relatively small, Bega said. .
- Repeated head injuries: When these injuries trigger a loss of consciousness, they have been associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's.
There is no specific test such as a blood sample or MRI that can be used to diagnose Parkinson's. Instead, the diagnosis is based on a constellation of results from a thorough examination, Bega said.
For example. Can the diagnosis partly come from identifying symptoms during a physical exam, such as stiffness and slow motion, he said. Doctors may also conduct a thorough neurological examination which may help to exclude other conditions that may cause symptoms. For example, a stroke can trigger balance problems, or a tremor can be a side effect of taking certain drugs.
Parkinson's is a progressively progressive disease, so a doctor must also assess whether the symptoms appear to worsen over time, Bega said. Because this disease can be difficult to diagnose, it is best for patients to work with a neurologist or motion disorder specialist who sees these problems daily, Bega said.
Many drugs are available to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, but none of them can slow the progression of the disease, Bega said.
Levodopa, a dopamine promoter drug, in combination with drug carbidopa is the most commonly prescribed treatment for the management of Parkinson's motor symptoms. Carbidopa helps prevent nausea and vomiting associated with taking levodopa alone.
Although it is an effective medicine for Parkinson's, the benefits of levodopa can grow and decrease, with the drug unexpectedly stopping and starting to work, the longer a person takes it. In addition, levodopa may cause undesirable side effects such as nausea, dizziness and disorder of uncontrolled jerking movements known as dyskinesia.
Some people with Parkinson's may be worried about starting treatment with levodopa prematurely in disease progression or fearing potential side effects. But these fears may be overwhelmed, and the benefits of treatment far exceed its risks, Bega said.
Studies have suggested that it may be physically active to slow the development of Parkinson's symptoms. Bega said he encourages regular exercise – stationary cycling, swimming, strength training or tai chi – to improve the mobility, balance and mood of people with the disease.
Deep brain stimulation may also cause symptom relief. In this surgery procedure, electrodes are implanted in the brain to reduce the movement-related symptoms of Parkinson's.
One of the hottest areas of Parkinson's research involves protein-alpha-synuclein. In autopsies, many brain cells in humans who have had Parkinson's disease have been shown to contain Lewy bodies, which are unusual clumps of alpha-synuclein.
These clumps of protein in the brain are the pathological characteristics of Parkinson's and may be one of the reasons why the brain does not function properly in those with the condition, Bega said. If researchers can prevent the protein from lumping into Lewy bodies by either clearing them or stopping their proliferation in brain cells, it can lead to a method of arresting the progression of the disease, said Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's & # 39; s Research. 19659002] Additional Resources:
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical assistance.