What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a Progressive Neuro-Degenerative disease. From the term itself, its core impact is clear that there is a degeneration in this disease, i.e., loss of neurons. In the case of Parkinson’s, the neurons that are specifically affected are dopamine neurons, which are responsible for making a neurotransmitter known as Dopamine, responsible for controlling our muscle coordination during our movement. The main area in the brain where the following neurons are found the most is known as substantia nigra. The loss of these neurons results in reducing the amount of Dopamine in the brain, which leads to the key symptoms that are visible in a person having Parkinson’s disease.
What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?
There’s a famous saying on Parkinson’s disease that goes by – “If you’ve met a person with Parkinson’s Disease, you have met a person with Parkinson’s Disease.” It means that the symptoms of this disease are different for different people, but here are some common signs that we can look for during diagnosis.
1.) Tremors: This is the constant shaking of hands and fingers when it’s kept at rest. There can also be a case where one may rub their thumb or forefinger, known as a pill-rolling tremor.
2.) Stiffness In Muscles: The stiffness is felt when the person affected tries to bend their body parts like arms, legs, or wrists. The movement isn’t smooth, and it feels very rigid when the person examining is trying to feel the movement.
3.) Sluggish Movements: This condition is also known as Bradykinesia. Parkinson’s disease slows down your movement over time and makes doing even the most basic activities difficult and time-consuming. For an average person, the sensation is the same as putting your hand in a bucket and trying to move it through the water.
4.) Problem In Maintaining Balance: This is the symptom that appears in the later stage of the disease. The person affected has difficulty standing still and is very unstable while trying to walk around.
5.) Loss Of Unconscious Movements: One’s ability to perform unconscious movements like blinking, smiling, swinging their arm while walking are reduced.
Out of all of the above, the top three are the acute symptoms checked for diagnosis for Parkinson’s Disease. The three of them – Tremors, Stiffness & Sluggish Movements – collectively form a symptom complex known as Parkinsonian Syndrome or Parkinsonism.
What is the complication of Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is the disease of the brain, and hence that’s the part which is affected the most. The main problems that crop up are
1.) Psychiatric Problems like Depression.
2.) Cognitive Problems like Memory Loss and Loss of Concentration Power.
3.) Loss of olfactory function.
4.) Insomnia or sleep disorder.
5.) Loss of bladder control and Constipation.
6.) Problem in chewing and swallowing.
What causes Parkinson’s Disease?
The main trigger of the disease remains a mystery and is primarily unknown and is called Idiopathic, i.e., Unknown. There are no known causes for the vast majority, but out of the total cases, about 15% have a family history of the disease. Hence their Parkinson’s appears to be caused by a genetic mutation. The other suspected cause of Parkinson’s is exposure to certain toxins and environmental factors, but this is very rare.
Risk Factors Connected To Parkinson’s Disease?
The main factors which can increase the chance of one getting Parkinson’s disease are
1.) Age: People above 60 are the majority, who are in the riskiest position to get the disease, and the risk only increases with age.
2.) Exposure to Toxins: Pesticides found in the food we eat can also increase the chances of getting Parkinson’s.
3.) Exposure to Heavy Metals: People working in industrial areas are in constant contact with heavy metals like Copper, Lead, Manganese, etc. These can also increase the risk of getting Parkinson’s
4.) Concussion: A concussion is a brain injury that affects your brain functions. A concussion can also be a risk factor for Parkinson’s
What are the treatments of Parkinson’s Disease?
The primary treatment process typically involves medicines to improve movement problems using medications; how these medicines work is, they increase the dopamine levels in the brain. For some patients, this works great, but when continued for a prolonged time. Then, the brain develops Dopamine tolerance. Hence, the Dopamine produced artificially doesn’t meet to demands. In that case, the second method that remains is surgical inactivation of the parts of the brain, causing the movement problems like shakiness and balance problems.
With the current medical technology, we can’t stop the progression of the disease, but we can make sure that the person with the disease can enjoy peaceful life for as long as they live.
There is research that shows that people who consume caffeine through tea, coffee, and cola, have relatively lesser chances of getting Parkinson’s Disease, so be sure to relax and sip a cup of tea every once in a while😁