Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive disease of the nervous system that affects movements. Symptoms usually take years to develop and most of the individuals live their entire life with the disease.
What causes Parkinson’s Disease? Parkinson’s disease is caused due to lack of neurotransmitter, Dopamine. With decreasing levels of dopamine, person’s ability to regulate their movements, emotions also decreases.
Parkinson’s Disease is usually referred to as a disease of old age, that is, it usually affects people over the age of 60. However, in recent times it is seen in people around 40 years of age as well.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease – Symptoms vary from person to person. Most of the times symptoms go unnoticed and an individual realizes his illness only when it really bothers his day to day activities. Classical symptoms of Parkinson’s include–
- Tremors or shaking of the hands, legs, jaws and face. It usually starts with fingers on one side and later involves the rest of the body
- Slowed movement – smaller steps while walking, difficulty to get off from the chair, drag feet while walking, etc
- Muscle stiffness
- Postural imbalance – Making even standing a difficult task
- Speech disturbances – Speech becomes slurred, unidentifiable
Diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease – There are no specific tests to diagnose the condition. Detailed history and thorough physical examination are the only tools to identify the disease. If the doctor finds a need, he might do a CT/MRI to rule out other possible diseases mimicking the same symptoms/condition.
Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease – Parkinson’s can never be cured but symptoms can be reduced with the help of treatment. Treatment involves drugs, surgeries and supportive therapy in the form of physiotherapy, lifestyle changes, etc .
Life with Parkinson’s Disease – One can lead a normal life with Parkinson’s, provided you follow your doctor’s advice right and incorporate the following simple tips –
- Eat healthy
- Exercise regularly
- Do activities within your reach
- Look straight while walking and not down
- While walking, keep your heel first followed by foot
- Try not to move too quickly
- Avoid walking backwards
Warning signs of Parkinson’s Disease – If you develop more than one of the following symptoms, it is advised to contact your doctor immediately –
- Shaking or tremors even when you are at rest or not under stress
- Loss of smell
- Sleep disturbance
- Problem with movements
- Difficulty in emoting/expressions
- Low voice
- Stooped appearance
Parkinson’s is not a fatal disease, the complications due to delay or no treatment makes it fatal. Be a tremor or loss of memory, never neglect. Meet doctor at right time to be well prepared!