What is Parkinson’s disease or PD?

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative or progressive disorder of the central nervous system. It starts as a slow process, sometimes starting with almost unnoticeable tremor in one hand. Tremor is the most common sign of Parkinson’s disease but the disorder also causes stiffness and slowing of movement. These symptoms of tremor, stiffness etc.( which are also known as motor symptoms) result from the death of the cells those generate dopamine in the brain.

Other names for Parkinson’s disease are Idiopathic or Primary Parkinsonism, Hypokinetic rigid syndrome/HRS, or Paralysis agitans.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:

Some of the common signs and symptoms of this disease are –

  • Tremor i.e., involuntary shaking of particular parts of the body. One of the common characteristics of Parkinson’s disease is tremor of hand even if it is at rest.
  • Rigidity or muscle stiffness that can make a simple task like moving even an ordinary household object like a chair very difficult
  • Slowness of movement
  • Postural instability like stooped posture along with or without balancing problem
  • Autonomic dysfunction resuling in inability or reduced ability to perform unconscious automatic movements like blinking, smiling etc.
  • Speech and writing problems
  • Neuropsychiatric problems like change or disorder of mood, behavior, thought process etc
  •  Sleep difficulties

Consulting doctor:

Whenever one notices any of the above symptoms, he must consult his doctor for proper diagnosis.

Cause:

As stated earlier the cause of Parkinson’s disease is due to the death of dopamine-generating cells in the brain. But what causes the death of these cells is not yet known. Some of the probable causes considered are

  •  Genetic factor
  • Environmental factor – studies are not conclusive.
  • Lewy bodies

But still now no definite conclusion has been drawn behind the cause of Parkinson’s Disease.

Risk factor

Age:

It is mainly a disease of middle and old aged people. Young people rarely suffer from this disease although Mohammad Ali had the symptoms at the age of 38years.

Heredity:

If a close blood relation has Parkinson’s disease, this increases the risk factor.

Sex:

Men are more likely to suffer from the disease than women.

Other Complications Associated with Parkinson’s disease:

  • Thinking difficulties.
  • Behavioral and emotional changes.
  • Sleep problem
  • Constipation

Surgery:

For patients suffering from advanced form of this disease, life can become crippling and painful. However, now surgery is being used for people with advanced Parkinson’s disease when drug therapy is no longer effective.

Palliative care:

Palliative care is often required in the final stages of the disease when all treatments have become ineffective.

Parkinson ’s disease in New York

It’s a serious health concern in New York State. There are numerous health care providers and support groups that help patients deal with the symptoms this diseases.

Jana

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