This is a disease or progressive disorder of the nervous system that is known to affect movement. The disease may develop gradually therefore one will start to have noticeable tremors in one hand and this is one sign of the disease.
The disease can also be defined as a neurodegenerative disorder that leads to the progressive deterioration of motor function which is brought about by the loss of dopamine producing brain cells. The disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and one of the most common movement disorder known by experts.
Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter and when one has the disease, it reduces in quantity therefore making it difficult for an individual to regulate their movements, body and emotions. The disease itself has been found not to be fatal but the complications from the disease are known to be serious.
According to CDC, the complications from the disease are among the top 14 causes of death in the US.
The signs and symptoms of the disease may vary from one person to another and the early signs may be mild and even go unnoticed. Some signs and symptoms include:
Shaking usually starts on the hand (maybe one hand at first) and the fingers. As time goes by, you might notice a back and forth rubbing of the thumb and forefinger which is known as pill rolling tremor. The shaking or tremor may occur on one hand especially when it is relaxed.
The disease is know to affect one’s movement therefore when it comes to completing simple tasks it proves to be difficult. One will end up taking more time than needed in order to complete tasks they would normally complete quickly.
When walking, you may discover that your steps are becoming shorter and you may even find it difficult to get out of a chair. There are times where patients will start to drag their feet therefore making it difficult to walk.
The muscles may become rigid in any part of the body and will limit the range of motion therefore resulting in pain.
One of the signs of the disease is having a stooped posture and you may also experience balance problems too.
Changes in speeches
The disease will result in changes in speech therefore making one to speak softly, quickly, with a slur and even leading one to hesitate before starting to speak. When one speaks, their speech is usually more of a monotone.
Since one will have tremors in one or both hands, it will affect how they write and their writing will appear very small.
The cause of the disease cannot be pointed to a single factor but there are several factors which are known to play a role. The causes include:
Experts have been able to identify that specific genetic mutations can result in the disease but these may be uncommon except in rare cases especially when family members have been affected by the disease.
There are certain gene variations which appear to increase risks of getting the disease but there are less risks as a result of the genetic markers.
When people are exposed to certain toxins in the environment, it will increase the likelihood of getting the disease but the risk has been found to be small.
There are specific substances which are known to be microscopic markers of the disease and they are known as Lewy bodies. The lewy bodies according to researchers hold a vital clue to the cause of the disease.
The alpha-synuclein are found in Lewy bodies and experts believe that they are natural and widespread. They can be found clumped together especially among cells that cannot break down.
Today, there is currently no single test or a combination of tests that can be conducted by experts in order to determine if an individual has Parkinson’s disease. Majority of people believe that the disease and dementia are two different diseases that have the same problems especially when it comes to the processing of apha-synnuclein protein.
Below is a simple guideline that experts may use in order to diagnose the disease.
When a person is diagnosed with the disease, movement symptoms and dementia symptoms may not appear for a year or so. When diagnosis is done according to Lewy bodies, the symptoms will appear within a year especially problems with movement.
When it comes to treatment, there is none that will solve the problem especially slowing or stopping brain cell damage. Currently, experts usually focus on treating the various symptoms that occur. Treatment includes medications therefore it is important to work closely with your doctor therefore being prescribed drugs that are good for you.
These drugs help to treat thinking changes among patients and they may also help to treat dementia symptoms.
This is one of the most effective medication and it’s a natural chemical which passes into one’s brain and is converted into dopamine. The levodopa combines with carbidopa therefore helping to protect it from premature conversion into dopamine especially outside the brain. This helps to lessen the side effects such as nausea.
Using the treatment for sometime especially after a year, the levodopa may become less stable therefore wearing off. There are times where the patient may experience involuntary movements especially after taking higher doses.
This form of medication has been used for years and is know to help control the tremors that patients experience especially for those with the disease. Although the drug may help to combat tremors, it has some side effects such as impaired memory, confusion, hallucinations, constipation and dry mouth.
This is a surgical procedure where experts implant electrodes and they are connected to a generator that is implanted on the chest around the collarbone. This will send electrical pulses into the brain therefore helping to reduce the symptoms of the disease.