Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a type of disease that develops slowly. The early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can start out with just a small tremor that is barely even visible in one’s hand. Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that ends up causing muscle tremors, weakness and stiffness of the muscles.

What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that causes visible signs to a person who is afflicted with it. It has no cure to date.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

• Slurred or mumbled speech patterns

The speech may become slurred with this disease. More often, different speech patterns will emerge, such as talking very fast, talking in a monotone, repeating words or talking very softly.

• Trembling

Tremors may start off in a person’s hand, and then spread into the whole arm. Or they may be localized to the neck area, which can cause the head to shake at all times. These tremors can also affect the legs, which can then affect the way a persons walks. They may walk with an unbalanced gait, or walk awkwardly.

• Rigid posture

In the later stages of the disease, a person’s posture can become stooped. This will cause imbalances in the standing and walking positions, and even changes will also be seen when the person is sitting down.

• Slower movements

A person with Parkinson’s disease might start to move very slowly and awkwardly. Voluntary movements can greatly lessen, making everyday life difficult. Walking can be hard, as stepping may be hard and the feet may scuff the floor, as well as freeze up at times.

• Facial issues

There may be involuntary movements of a person’s face when they develop Parkinson’s disease. This may include blinking, smiling, expressionless faces, and unblinking eyes. There may also be little to no swing to the arms while they are walking. Muscles can also get very stiff in the limbs and in the neck area. This may cause a great deal of pain for the affected.

These symptoms can vary from person to person. Symptoms may also not be seen for many months at the start of the disease, and can go unnoticed or undiagnosed. They may start on only one side of the person’s body, and will almost always stay worse on that side of the body. The effects become worse as the disease progresses, and becomes more pronounced. As Parkinson’s disease progresses, may patients find that they lack clarity in their thought process, and may also have memory problems. While there is yet to be a cure for this disease, there are medicines and treatments that can help ease the pain. Some of these treatments may require some type of surgical procedure.

What causes Parkinson's disease?

Nerve cells that are damaged or have degeneration can cause Parkinson’s disease to develop. A lot of the symptoms of Parkinson’s occur because there is a lack of a chemical known as dopamine in the brain. This chemical normally acts as the messenger in the brain. This can happen when a certain brain cells that are responsible for the creation of dopamine die or else deteriorate. Although there has been years of research done by scientists about this disorder, there are still no conclusive theories as to what actually causes dopamine decline. However, the most common theory is that genetic transmutations may lead to Parkinson’s disease, as can environmental pollutants.

Parkinson's Disease Treatments

Many medications are available to treat Parkinson’s disease. These include Levodopa, MAO B inhibitors, Dopamine agonists and more. These are given to the patient so that the body creates dopamine, or at least something that is similar. They an also help the preserve what dopamine is already in the body. Many of the drugs used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease will also help in the reduction of tremors, and can help the mind.

Physical therapy may also help keep a person with this disease more mobile and active. A surgery that may be performed is known as Deep Brain Stimulation, and is the most common form of surgery used to treat Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s disease is one that affects as many as I million people in the US at any time, and continues to generate research to search for a cure.

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