Parkinson's disease is a neurological disorder that leads to shaking and difficulty with walking, movement, and coordination of the nervous system. Parkinson's disease occurs when the dopamine producing are slowly destroyed. Without dopamine, the nerve cells in the brain cannot send messages properly. This leads to the loss of muscle function. The damage may get severe with time. Exactly why these brain cells waste away is unknown.
Parkinson's disease most often develops after age 50. It is one of the most common nervous system disorders of the elderly. Sometimes Parkinson's disease occurs in younger adults and is found in both men and women. In some cases, Parkinson's disease runs in families. When a young person is affected, it is usually because of a form of the disease that runs in families.
Symptoms may be mild at first. For instance, you may have a mild tremor or a slight feeling that one leg or foot is stiff and dragging. Symptoms may affect one or both sides of the body, and can include:
Symptoms include: •Blinking •Constipation •Difficulty swallowing •Drooling •Problems with balance and walking •No expression in the face (like you are wearing a mask) •Muscle aches and pains
Parkinson's disease is diagnosed based on your symptoms and a physical examination. However, the symptoms can be difficult to assess, particularly in the elderly. The symptoms become more clear as the illness gets worse.
A doctor's examination may show: •Difficulty controling voluntary movements •Jerky, stiff movements •Muscle atrophy •Shaking (tremors) •Changes in your heart rate
The exact cause of Parkinson's disease is unknown, but several factors appear to play a role, including:
Your genes - Researchers have found specific genetic mutations that likely play a role in Parkinson's disease. In addition, scientists suspect that many more changes in genes — whether inherited or caused by an environmental exposure — may be responsible for Parkinson's disease.
Environmental factors - Exposure to toxins or certain viruses may trigger Parkinson's signs and symptoms. In addition, numerous changes are found in the brains of people with Parkinson's disease. The role of these factors in the development of the disease, if any, isn't clear, however. These changes include a lack of dopamine.
Many symptoms of Parkinson's disease result from the lack of a chemical messenger, called dopamine, in the brain. This occurs when the specific brain cells that produce dopamine die or become impaired. Why and exactly how this happens isn't known.
Without treatment the disorder will get worse until a person is totally disabled. Parkinson's may lead to a deterioration of all brain functions, and an early death. Most people respond to medications. How much the medications relieve symptoms, and for how long can be very different in each person. The side effects of medications may be severe.
There is no known cure for Parkinson's disease. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms. Medications control symptoms, mostly by increasing the levels of dopamine in the brain. Work closely with your doctors and therapists to find a treatment program that works best for you. Never change or stop taking any medications without doctor's advice.
Medications used to treat movement-related symptoms of Parkinson's disease include: •Levodopa (L-dopa), Sinemet, levodopa and carbidopa (Atamet) •Pramipexole (Mirapex), ropinirole (Requip), bromocriptine (Parlodel) •Selegiline (Eldepryl, Deprenyl), rasagiline (Azilect) •Amantadine or anticholinergic medications to reduce early or mild tremors •Entacapone
Parkinson's disease cannot be completely cured, but support from friends and families can make you feel better and more confident.
There is no proved way of preventing Parkinson's disease, but it's said that people eating high fiber diet and leser protein rich diet are less prone to Parkinson's disease.
The information on this site is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition call your local emergency services or your doctor.