Understanding Parkinson’s Disease

Table of Content

What is Parkinson’s disease?

  • Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder in which movement of the body is affected.
  • A person with Parkinson’s disease experiences slow body movements, stiff hands and legs, problems with balance and coordination, walking, etc.
  • As the disease progresses, the person is unable to move and carry out daily living activities.

          

What causes Parkinson’s disease?

  • Imbalance in brain chemicals - A brain chemical called dopamine responsible for normal motor function is reduced in Parkinson’s disease.

  • Genetic factors

  • Environmental factors

Who can get Parkinson’s disease?

Usually develops after age of 50. However, there have also been cases of people getting PD at the age of 40-45.

What are the clinical features of Parkinson’s disease?

  • Tremors or shaking of the hand, arm or leg when awake and sitting or standing but disappears when that body part is moved

  • Rigidity or stiffness in arms or legs which can be painful

   

  • Slow or limited movement e.g. hard to get out of a chair or turn over in bed

  • Poor balance and coordination e.g. sudden freezing of legs and falling

What are the other important signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?

  • Decreased facial expression

  • Problems with swallowing which can cause drooling and choking

  • Problems with speech

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Emotional changes

  • Urinary problems and constipation

  • Depression

Progression of Parkinson’s Disease with Time

  • One side of the body is affected with mild symptoms.

  • Both sides are affected.  Symptoms become worse.

  • Loss of balance and falls are common.

  • Unable to stand without assistance, movement requires walking-aid.

  •  Bed-ridden or wheel chair bound.

Treatment and Management of Parkinson’s Disease

Medications

  • There are many medications available to control the symptoms, effectively and to improve everyday functioning.

Exercise

Exercise improves

  • Muscle tone
  •  Strength
  •  Flexibility
  • Movement

A Healthy Lifestyle

  • Follow a well-balanced, healthy and nutritious diet
  • Increase water and/or fluid intake
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, etc.
  • Develop sleep routine for good quality sleep

Manage Stress through Relaxation Techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing

Stay Connected to your Loved Ones

References

  1. Understanding Parkinson’s disease, 2012. American Academy of Neurology.

http://patients.aan.com/globals/axon/assets/10024.pdf (accessed on March 15, 2016)

  1. Understanding Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s Foundation.

http://www.parkinson.org/Understanding-Parkinsons (accessed on March 15, 2016)

  1. Parkinson’s disease guide. https://www.webmd.com/parkinsons-disease/guide/ (accessed on March 15, 2016)
  2. PD library. Parkinson’s Foundation. http://parkinson.org/pd-library (accessed on March 15, 2016)
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The article consists of basic information on Parkinson’s disease, its common features, management and tips to cope with the disease.  
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