Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that alters the coordination and cognitive functions of the body. There is a common saying that “Rome was not built in a day” Parkinson’s diseases don’t develop overnight; it is a progressive disease with symptoms that increases gradually.as the disorders gets severe. Tremor and muscle stiffness are the initial and common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease/ Tremor is pathognomic for Parkinson’s diseases.
The symptoms of Parkinson diseases changes as the disease progresses, initially, you might experience tremor, muscle stiffness, problems with facial expression, and speech distortion. This dangerous medical condition can’t be cured, but the symptoms can be alleviated and the state of life of the patient improved. Depression, improper fact, insomnia and emotional imbalance can also occur in Parkinson patients. The symptoms present depend on a lot of factors such as duration of the diseases, the presence of other complications, and mode of treatment used.
Causes of Parkinson’s disease
The mechanism of action for Parkinson disease is neuronal death and malfunctions. There are small structures in the brain called neuron that helps the brain to function effectively. Alteration in the structure and function of these neurons is the basis for Parkinson diseases development. There are different chemical substances produced by the brain called neurotransmitters. The most important chemical messenger in Parkinson’s diseases is dopamine. When the dopamine level is altered or insufficient, it changes the neuronal and cognitive function of the brain leading to Parkinson’s disease.
The etiology of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, but there are several factors that alter the dopamine level or reduce it leading to Parkinson, s diseases such as:
- Genetics: There are some genetic mutations in the human body that can cause Parkinson’s. This disease is more common in people with family history of Parkinson’s disease. There is the presence of some genetic markers that increase the chance of developing Parkinson’s disease in human.
- Environmental Factors: There is a little link between environmental toxins and Parkinson’s The presence of specific toxins in the environment could cause Parkinson’s disease. However, this is a very rare etiology compared to other causes of Parkinson’s disease. Prolonged exposure to chemicals such as pesticides could increase the chances of having Parkinson’s disease.
Risk Factors for Parkinson’s disease
Although, the etiology of Parkinson’s diseases is unclear, there are a lot of risk factors that increase the chances of Parkinson’s disease in humans. Some of these factors could alter the duration of Parkinson’s diseases development:
- Age: This disease is more common in geriatrics, especially people older than 60 years. Middle-aged people often experience Parkinson’s disease. Millennial are usually spared from this diseases probably due to increased immune function and enhanced brain function due to age.
- Hereditary or Family History: Having a family member with a history of Parkinson’s disease, especially, when they are first-degree relatives. The higher the numbers of a family member’s with this disease, the higher the chances of developing Parkinson’ disease.
- Gender: the diseases are gender-specific, with more incidences discovered in men compared to women. Most people with Parkinson disease are old men, especially those with relatives having Parkinson’s disease.
- Environment: Frequent or prolonged exposure to certain chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides could damage the neuronal structure if the brain, leading to Parkinson’s
Signs and Symptoms of Parkinson ’s disease
Parkinson’s signs and symptoms vary from one person to another; there is a different course of symptoms manifestation in humans. People experience Parkinson in different ways. However, the symptoms start unilaterally before affecting both sides of the body. The symptoms worsen in the first part concerned, despite spreading to both parts of the body.
The common signs and symptoms of Parkinson disease include:
- Tremor: these pathognomonic symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. It starts with un-controlled jerking movement of the hands and fingers. Pill –roll tremor is also common in Parkinson’s patient. It involves rubbing the forefingers with the thumbs. The tremor occurs irrespective of movement; it is more common during rest or absence of motion.
- Bradykinesia: Cognitive and coordination function of the brain is disrupted during Parkinson. The speed of movement could become very slow (bradykinesia). These annoying symptoms could affect day to day activities, and make simple tasks and daily chores more difficult and time-consuming. The gait of the Parkinson’s patient can be altered, leading to slow walking gaits or dragging movement.
- Muscle Stiffness: Rigidity and stiffness of the muscles are common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. This is often painful and can lead to limited movement and range of motion.
- Lousy Posture and Dysbalance: Most Parkinson’s patient often has stooped posture and muscular dysbalance.
- Poor Movement Control: There is a loss of involuntary movement in Parkinson’s patient. They lose the ability to exhibits automated or involuntary actions such as winking, blinking, arms swinging when walking, yawning, and smiling.
- Speech Distortion: Monotone and slurred speech are symptoms of Parkinson disease. You would notice an unusual difficulty in completing basic sentences and pronunciation of simple words.
- Dysgraphia: Difficult writing also called dysgraphia in medical language, is common in Parkinson’s This occurs because the ability to perform coordinated movements such as writing is disrupted.
Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson diseases are incurable. However, the symptoms can be alleviated, complication prevented, and quality of life of the patient Improved. It can be treated conservatively, surgically, or with lifestyle modifications.
The mechanism of action of managing Parkinson’s disease with medications is dopamine increase. The drugs help to increases dopamine and control symptoms related to gait, coordination. and tremor. Dopamine can’t cross the blood-brain barrier; it can’t be administered directly to function correctly. The various Parkinson treatments include:
- Medications: Different types of drugs can be delivered to alleviate tremor, poor gait, and impaired cognitive functions. Some of the medications used for managing these symptoms include:
- Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors: This group of drugs inhibits dopamine-breaking compounds in the body. They enhance the activity of levodopa in the body.
- Surgical procedures: Parkinson’ disease can be treated There are different surgical procedures for treating Parkinson’s disease such as deep brain stimulation.
- Lifestyle Changes: Adequate diet, frequent exercise, and proper gait can help in managing Parkinson disease.
Parkinson diseases is a common geriatric disease, especially in men, It is incurable, but can be managed with medications, surgery and lifestyle changes.
Homepage | Parkinsons UK. (2018). Parkinsons.org.uk. Retrieved 6 March 2018, from https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/
Parkinson’s disease – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic. (2018). Mayoclinic.org. Retrieved 6 March 2018, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20376062