What is Parkison’s Disease and How to Detect It
Parkison’s Disease (PD) is a disorder that affects your general body movement.
The disease is caused by malfunction of certain brain cells known as neurons that are found in a brain part called substantia nigra.
Normally, the neurons produce a chemical substance, dopamine, which is responsible for sending signals to other parts of your body leading to movement.
When the neurons grow a problem, it means that less dopamine is produced and hence growing difficulties and losing body movement control.
Parkison’s Disease is a progressive disease meaning that, as time goes by, it gets more worse.
In most cases, PD affects older people from the age of 60, but in rare cases affects people below the age of 60 so anyone is prone to the disease.
Research is ongoing to establish the possible causes of PD like environmental poisons and in some cases aging.
Although some studies have shown that Parkison’s Disease might be hereditary, there is no proof confirm the same.
Symptoms of Parkison’s
There are four main motor symptoms of Parkison’s Disease.
- Tremors which include shaking of the hands, arms or the legs.
- Slow movement which is also referred to as bradykinesia.
- Stiffness of the limbs or the trunk.
- Postural instability which makes the patient fall recurrently.
Phases of Parkison’s Disease
As mentioned before, Parkison’s Disease is progressive so here are the stages undergone by a PD patient.
In this phase, the symptoms are not significant.
The patient at this stage can be able to complete tasks and engage in activities normally because at this time the disease has affected only one side of the body.
However, different facial expressions, walking and general body movements can be noticed.
The symptoms clearly start revealing themselves at this stage.
They include stiffness, tremor and unusually unstable sitting postures.
The Parkison’s has affected both sides of the body and hence completing tasks or engaging in daily activities is hard but the patient is able to move on their own.
The third phase is the middle phase as the disease continues to develop.
At this juncture, falls are recurrent, movements are slow and balance is minimal.
Consequently this affects how the patient carries out simple tasks for example eating on their own.
Independence in terms if living on their own gradually begins to dwindle.
The patient is restrained as a result of severe symptom manifestation.
Although standing on their own is still possible, living at this stage becomes fully dependent since one cannot walk on their own or do almost everything on their own.
This being the ultimate phase of the Parkison’s, the patient cannot do anything at all on their own.
One is bedridden and requires a wheelchair for them to move around.
All time nursing care is necessary at this stage.
Prevention and Risk Reduction of Parkison’s Disease
Despite the fact that the exact cause of the malfunction of the brain neurons is unknown yet, several researches have shown that there are a few ways that you can prevent, rather reduce the risks of being affected by the Parkison’s Disease.
Some of the research has shown that regular intake of high fiber foods, fruits, vegetables and low intake of red meat or milk reduces the risks of Parkison’s Disease.
Another research has shown that people who often take ibuprofen to fight inflammation have lower risks of Parkison’s as compared to those who don’t or take other drugs.
Caffeine in coffee can also reduce the risk of Parkison’s Disease.
The caffeine contains antioxidants that help prevent a PD condition.Research has also shown that vitamin D prevents you from Parkison’s.
People with higher vitamin D supplements have less exposure to the risk as compared to those with low vitamin D supplements.
The kind of medication given to Parkison’s patients is mainly to increase the levels of dopamine or to perform its functions.
These include reducing stiffness and the tremors and also stabilizing body balance and posture.
Apart from medication, Parkison’s patients also undergo various therapies to manage the symptoms.
These therapies include: Dietary therapies aimed at increasing fiber volumes,
Physiotherapy aimed at relaxing muscles and increasing body movement and,
Language and speech therapies.
The most common surgical procedure done is the deep brain simulation which is done on a patient in the extreme stages of Parkison’s.
The procedure is aimed at treating the impairing symptoms of Parkison’s.