- Parkinson’s is a disorder of brain which in simple words causes stiffness in body, causes shaking of your hands and fingers and it becomes difficult to walk in coordination.
- Symptoms usually begin mildly and get severe over time as the disease progresses .
- There are behavioral changes sleep problems fatigue and in many cases depression present in patients.
Guide for anyone affected by Parkinson’s :
What Causes Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease pathophysiology-
Parkinson’s disease occurs when nerve cells, or neurons, in an area of the brain that controls movement become impaired and/or die. Normally, these neurons produce an important brain chemical known as dopamine. When the neurons die or become impaired, they produce less dopamine, which causes the movement problems of Parkinson’s. Scientists still do not know what causes cells that produce dopamine to die.
People with Parkinson’s also lose the nerve endings that produce norepinephrine, the main chemical messenger of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls many automatic functions of the body, such as heart rate and blood pressure. The loss of norepinephrine might help explain some of the non-movement features of Parkinson’s, such as fatigue, irregular blood pressure, decreased movement of food through the digestive tract, and sudden drop in blood pressure when a person stands up from a sitting or lying-down position.
Many brain cells of people with Parkinson’s contain Lewy bodies, unusual clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein. Scientists are trying to better understand the normal and abnormal functions of alpha-synuclein and its relationship to genetic mutations that impact Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.
Although some cases of Parkinson’s appear to be hereditary, and a few can be traced to specific genetic mutations, in most cases the disease occurs randomly and does not seem to run in families. Many researchers now believe that Parkinson’s disease results from a combination of genetic factors and environmental factors such as exposure to toxins.
Who does Parkinson’s affect more?
It has been seen in studies that Parkinson’s has affected nearly 50 percent more in men than women.
What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?
There are four major symptoms of Parkinson’s disease which include-
1.Tremors in hands legs jaw or head.
2.Stiffness in movement of limbs and trunk
3.Slowness of movement
4.Impaired balance and coordination sometimes leading to falls.
Other symptoms may include depression and other emotional changes; difficulty swallowing, chewing, and speaking; urinary problems or constipation; skin problems; and sleep disruptions.
People with Parkinson’s often develop a parkinsonian gait that includes a tendency to lean forward, small quick steps as if hurrying forward, and reduced swinging of the arms. They also may have trouble initiating or continuing movement.
What can mimic Parkinson’s disease?
Diseases mimicking Parkinson’s disease are
- Use of Anti psychotics: these medications work by reducing the levels of dopamine and increasing Acetyl choline and thus cause reduced dopamine levels in brain.
- Hyperparathyroidism- Increased PTH levels in brain causes calcium deposition in basal ganglia .
- Hypoparathyroidism- Decreased PTH levels causes increase in levels of phosphate which in turn causes its precipitation with calcium leading to deposition in basal ganglia .
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning causes increase in carboxyhemoglobin which causes malfunction of basal ganglia .
- Other diseases mimicking Parkinsonism are – Huntington’s Chorea, Multiple System Atrophy.
Life expectancy in Parkinson’s disease?
The life of the patient is severely debilitated in Parkinson’s disease thus life expectancy in Parkinson’s is also reduced as compare to normal old age individuals.
A study “The Queensland Parkinson’s Project: An Overview of 20 Years of Mortality from Parkinson’s Disease”
REF: Poortvliet PC, Gluch A, Silburn PA, Mellick GD. The Queensland Parkinson’s Project: An Overview of 20 Years of Mortality from Parkinson’s Disease. J Mov Disord. 2020 Dec 7. doi: 10.14802/jmd.20034. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33278869.
It states that the the mortality in patients of Parkinson’s disease is much more than normal old age individuals.
While treatment with Deep Brain Stimulation has shown promising effects and reduced mortality rates in a large number of patients.
Prevention from Parkinson’s-
There is no recognized way yet to surely prevent Parkinson’s from happening but yes there are ways to improve your brain health here are a few things you could do to improve concentration-
1. Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are a key for brain health a diet rich in omega-3 has been linked to lower the risk for dementia and stroke risks and slowing down mantle decline and enhancing memory,
At least eat 2-3 servings weekly.
2. Eating dry fruits and nuts also helps in brain function preservation as it has essential oils which help in brain function .You should enjoy approximately 20 to 30 grams of nuts . Also nuts are a good source of energy use them for a quick boost in your energy.
3.Whole grains, like popcorn and whole wheat, also contribute dietary fibre and vitamin E.
4. Research in animals has shown that blueberries are full of antioxidants and prevent brain from free radical damage and may reduce risk, of old age related Alzheimer’s or dementia .
Treatment of Parkinson’s disease?/Is there a cure for Parkinson’s disease?
Although there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, medicines, surgical treatment, and other therapies can often relieve some symptoms.
Medicines for Parkinson’s Disease
Medicines prescribed for Parkinson’s include:
- Drugs that increase the level of dopamine in the brain
- Drugs that affect other brain chemicals in the body
- Drugs that help control nonmotor symptoms
The main therapy for Parkinson’s is levodopa, also called L-dopa. Nerve cells use levodopa to make dopamine to replenish the brain’s dwindling supply. Usually, people take levodopa along with another medication called carbidopa. Carbidopa prevents or reduces some of the side effects of levodopa therapy—such as nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, and restlessness—and reduces the amount of levodopa needed to improve symptoms.
People with Parkinson’s should never stop taking levodopa without telling their doctor. Suddenly stopping the drug may have serious side effects, such as being unable to move or having difficulty breathing.
Other medicines used to treat Parkinson’s symptoms include:
- Dopamine agonists to mimic the role of dopamine in the brain
- MAO-B inhibitors to slow down an enzyme that breaks down dopamine in the brain
- COMT inhibitors to help break down dopamine
- Amantadine, an old antiviral drug, to reduce involuntary movements-
- Anticholinergic drugs to reduce tremors and muscle rigidity
Deep Brain Stimulation
For people with Parkinson’s who do not respond well to medications, deep brain stimulation, or DBS, may be appropriate. DBS is a surgical procedure that surgically implants electrodes into part of the brain and connects them to a small electrical device implanted in the chest. The device and electrodes painlessly stimulate the brain in a way that helps stop many of the movement-related symptoms of Parkinson’s, such as tremor, slowness of movement, and rigidity.
Tools For Parkinson’s Patients
Other therapies may be used to help with Parkinson’s disease symptoms. They include physical, occupational, and speech therapies, which help with gait and voice disorders, tremors and rigidity, and decline in mental functions. Other supportive therapies include a healthy diet and exercises to strengthen muscles and improve balance.
Poortvliet PC, Gluch A, Silburn PA, Mellick GD. The Queensland Parkinson’s Project: An Overview of 20 Years of Mortality from Parkinson’s Disease. J Mov Disord. 2020 Dec 7. doi: 10.14802/jmd.20034. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33278869.
Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine
For More Information About Parkinson’s Disease
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
All the information in this post has been reviewed by Dr.Udbhav and stands true to the date any update regarding the topic will be updated .
Last Updated : 14th December 2020